Stess – less

March 14th, 2011 § 4 comments

congo art

“It’s from stress,” the doctor said to me, referring to my recent bout with adult onset cystic acne. Until I heard it out of his mouth I hadn’t realized that the adoption process was taking a toll on my health. My body was giving me little warning signals that it was overloaded. In my excitement about the adoption I was ignoring these signs, but they were not going away — they were getting worse.

Acne, an incessant eye twitch and irregular or missed periods were some of the stress indicators I was experiencing.

Maui October 2010

Adoptive parents-to-be, like birth parents-to-be, are joyfully expectant and dream-fully excited during the preparations and process required to add their baby to their life. “Stressed” is not one of the feelings I anticipated as an adoptive mom-to-be.

Paperwork, appointments and research had consumed my life for the first 5 months after turning in our initial adoption application form. Instead of getting my usual seven or eight hour “beauty sleep” I was burning the candle at both ends reading up on adoption.

I had hoped that a week vacation sucking up the sun in Maui would clear up my skin and do away with the eye twitch — nope. However minor my stress indicators were, they were stressing me out!

So I made some changes and today my skin is better than it’s ever been, I have heaps of energy and the twitch is gone!

Here’s how I did it:

Morning Meditation

I’ve heard it said that how you start your day sets the tone for the whole day. Sitting in bed with a coffee, my Bible and my french bulldog Eddie curled up beside me is like sunshine to a Morning Glory flower. If I skip my morning prayer and meditation, I miss it the whole day.

“Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns,once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” 1Peter 5:7

Helpguide.org states how important it is to be present in the present.

“Meditation that cultivates mindfulness is particularly effective at reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions. Mindfulness is the quality of being fully engaged in the present moment, without analyzing or otherwise ‘over-thinking’ the experience. Rather than worrying about the future or dwelling on the past, mindfulness meditation switches the focus to what’s happening right now.”

"Southwestern Skillet" from Company's Coming

 

Becoming a Flexitarian

Anyone who knows me knows I’d rather go for a second helping of turkey dinner over a serving of dessert. I love meat. Maybe too much?

Michael Pollen in his book “Food Rules” says “While it’s true that vegetarians are generally healthier than carnivores, that doesn’t mean you need to eliminate meat from your diet if you like it. It turns out that near-vegetarians or ‘flexitarians’— people who eat meat a couple of times a week — are just as healthy as vegetarians. But the average westerner eats meat as part of two or even three meals a day, and there is evidence that the more meat there is in your diet — red meat in particular — the greater your risk of heart disease and cancer.”

At the beginning of January Jamie and I joined in doing a 3-week Daniel fast with our church. No meat. No treats. No sweets. At the end of the fast we felt so great, we decided to keep doing it on the weekdays.

So with moderation in moderation, I’ve recently become a “Flexitarian” or a “Semi-Vegitarian.” Surprisingly, with a healthy portion of tasty vegetables — I don’t miss the meat!

Holding Hands

This ones my favourite; I love holding hands with my hubby. On walks, in the car, while watching TV… Families.com recently released a study that holding hands with your spouse reduces stress. Hoo knew!

“Spend time with positive people who enhance your life. A strong support system will buffer you from the negative effects of stress.” (Helpguide.org)

Balance

Stress isn’t all bad. Stress helps you rise to meet challenges. For example, a 3-inch pile of adoption paperwork.

“When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert…But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life.” (Helpguide.org)

So to remain Stress•less, I’m making time for things that relax me like reading (non adoption-related books included!), cooking (roasts on the weekend), and chill’n with my boys.


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