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Less Anxiety, More Rest

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During the month of October, I’m following along with Edie & Ruth on their 31 Days of Less & More journey. I’d love for you to join in by reading the posts and completing the projects, or just sit back and read along each day.

Less Anxiety

Life is full of struggles and difficulties. In fact, probably for most of us, rarely a day goes by that we do not have something (or many somethings!) to be stressed about.

However, more and more I’ve been realizing that John G. Miller is right: “Stress is a choice.” You can’t always choose your circumstances, but you can always choose your response to those circumstances.

When hard things come, you can either become uptight and anxious, or you can choose to be calm and cheerful. Sitting and stewing never accomplishes anything good, so you might as well opt to look for the silver lining and choose gratitude instead.

No matter what you’re going through, there is always something to be thankful for. No matter how hard your situation, it could always be worse. So make a choice to rejoice!

More Rest

In the past few years, I’ve become a big advocate for rest. Not only having margin and white space in our schedules, but also just plain getting more sleep.

Burning the candle at both ends doesn’t make you superwoman; it makes you exhausted. I learned this lesson the hard way in the first six years of our marriage. As a result, I’ve now made sleep a high priority in my life. And I’ve learned that I actually get a lot more done when I’m well rested, plus I feel a lot calmer about life in general.

So I’ve been trying to go to be earlier and, on the nights when I don’t go to bed early, I let myself sleep in a little. It makes such a difference in my productivity — and in my overall demeanor.

Here’s what I wrote about sleep in my 15 Ways to Have More Energy post:

I know, I know. It’s hard to get sleep when you have a hundred other things you feel you should be doing.

However, if you don’t take the time to rest, you’ll constantly be running on fumes. Rearrange your schedule, turn off the electronics, do relaxing things before bed, go to bed early (if at all possible), take a 30-minute nap in the afternoon, or do whatever else it takes to make sure you are getting good sleep at least 5-6 nights each week (I’ve found that if I sleep well at least five nights each week, I’m rested enough that I can have a late night once or twice a week without it really affecting me!)

Don’t know whether you’re getting adequate sleep? I’ve heard that a good barometer is to see if you’re tired at all midday or afternoon. If you are, you aren’t getting enough sleep at night. Keep extending your sleep at night by 15 to 30 minutes until you no longer feel tired in the afternoon.

For more on this topic, check out Ruth’s post on Less Anxiety and Edie’s post on More Rest. I promise you’ll be inspired and blessed!

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24 Comments

  • Jennifer B. says:

    MORE rest, yes, not LESS??

  • Brenda Walker says:

    I don’t choose to have stress in my life others cause it. And my severe pain. I want it to go away but it won’t! I even moved to try to make things better and it didn’t work. I’m doomed to have stress in my life.

    • Piper says:

      That’s a very pessimist view- I’ve found that if you think that way then it will be true. I think it was Henry Ford that said “whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Situations will always arise that will be suboptimal- but like Crystal said, it’s how we deal with them that gives us a choice about if we stress.

    • Crystal says:

      I’m so sorry you’re going through so much pain and struggle right now!

      To clarify what I was meaning when I said “Stress is a choice”: Stress is not the circumstance, stress is the response we have to the circumstances in our life. We often can’t choose our circumstances, but we can always choose our attitude.

      Can I encourage you to look for three small things to be thankful for every day? The practice of gratitude — even in the midst of really difficult circumstances — can change our entire outlook on life.

      And don’t give up! I just prayed for you this morning that you’d be encouraged and find some peace in the middle of your turmoil. {hugs!}

    • Carrie says:

      @Brenda … well, we all have negative things happen as a result of a little event in the Garden of Eden. Nobody is impervious to stress and pain, or we wouldn’t need a savior. 🙂 I hope you find some peace. If others are causing you a lot of pain, I recommend an excellent book to help YOU cope: Boundaries, by Cloud and Townsend. I believe all human beings should read this book. Other people’s “stuff” doesn’t have to be your burden.

  • Melanie says:

    I am really glad that you have repeatedly brought up this topic in the last year (maybe longer?) I struggle greatly with going to bed on time and getting enough rest, and it has negatively impacted my family. I am working on it and posts like these are great reminders!

    On the topic of less anxiety, I do have to just add a few practical thoughts. I (as well as my immediate family) has been going through a really stressful time as my Grandma is dying of terminal cancer. We all have already felt the grief starting, and yet, we have to keep on living and being there with her for a little while, still. I’ve found that one of the most comforting things that I can do is to listen to Scripture when I have quiet moments (maybe after the kids are in bed when I’m doing dishes or something similar). The Psalms are especially comforting. A year ago, I would have been vegging out on the couch watching TV, but God has been preparing me and enabling me to make choices that result in not just distraction from a sad situation, but rather give peace, comfort and strength. Bible Gateway’s website has some versions of the Bible that you can listen to for free!

    The other thing that I have been doing lately is writing down three happy memories of the day in a journal. It has blessed me so much. I’ve tried before to write lists of things I’m thankful for and it was always more of a chore and never seemed to do much good. However, by remembering three moments of my day (usually involving my children and husband) that were special to me and that I am thankful for, I have reaped so many benefits. I’m even starting to look forward to a new day!

  • Jan says:

    Getting to bed was much easier before we had two teens who are sometimes arriving home at 9 pm after an away game (with homework still to finish) or working on a literature project with friend until 10 pm (they really did work continually from 7 pm when we finished dinner until around 10). But we only have these children for a few more precious years, and parents whose children have graduated unanimously tell me that they wouldn’t trade a minute of that fun but crazy high school schedule and the memories it created. We are blessed with diligent children who are exploring and developing their gifts and talents – it’s tiring, but it’s just a season.

  • Claire says:

    Help! What happened to the link for regional store deals by alpha character? I clicked on “regional store deals” and it brought me to a page with just CVS and two other stores! I wanted to look up shoprite deals.

  • I, too, am a huge advocate for getting enough rest. After witnessing what lack of sleep does to my children’s attitudes, I started paying more attention to my own sleep “schedule.” My boys are 4 and 7, they generally get 11-12 hours a night. On the rare occasions that they are up super late, they are bears the next day.

  • Carrie says:

    You know what’s so interesting about stress being a choice? I watched a TED talk recently about stress, and how it’s not the stress itself, but our BELIEF about the stress that causes health problems. It was done by Kelly McGonigal, a psychologist who studied the last decades of research around stress.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend.html

  • Burning the candle at both ends doesn’t make you superwoman; it makes you exhausted.

    So true Crystal! More women and men need to know that you can only go so long before your candle burns out.

    Thanks you for this encouraging reminder and I hope you have a great day~

  • Sharon Hartwig says:

    We decided to refinance our home so that we could lower our payments, and pay off a huge credit card debt that has been hanging over our heads for awhile now. We have been shopping at Winco and getting our meat from Zaycon foods, and produce from Bountiful Baskets. So far it has saved us a lot!

    • Andrea says:

      I find this to be so challenging since I am a mom of a toddler and an infant. After they are in bed I play catch up, and it’s my only time to myself all day. Once I do finally get to bed I am up at least twice a night with my youngest who also wakes up by 6am everyday. Someone please tell me that “this too shall pass?”

      • Anne says:

        I just have an 11 month old and she has been waking up before 5am each day. At leat I am getting solid sleep unlike you, but it is tough. This too shall pass and you are not alone. If you can get to bed even 30 minutes earlier or nap during their naptime even for 15 minutes, you might feel better.

      • Anne says:

        I only have one baby who is 11 months old but I can empathize. Can you try going to be even 30 minutes earlier or napping for even 15 minutes when they nap? If you are anything like me, the unwashed laundry and crunchy stuff on the floor drives you crazy right now, but you will miss this time with your little ones. This too shall pass.

  • brandi george says:

    My hubby was laid off last year from his high paying full time job. Thankfully we had been saving since we bought our house for a rainy day or thunderstorm in this case. We went from having 4 times the amount of our bills coming in each month down to just making it. I’ve always been a couponer so we had a great stockpile of food,health products like vitamins,shampoo,soap,toothpaste and even clothes for the kids to grow into(bought a few sizes bigger when on sale). We had only bought our home 1 year before this crisis so we were terrified. Thankful due to our budgeting and living less even though we had more, we have been able to weather the storm. Even when my hubby then got injured 2 months after losing his full time job and had to take 6 months off from his decent paying part time job (he’s had this for 5 years just for health care and flight benefits for our family) we were able to survive. We have gone through about half of our savings but he is back to work now. I couldn’t work because as soon as he got injured we found out that I was pregnant with our third child (complete surprise! We were taking necessary precautions but they failed) , and I had a very difficult pregnancy.Now thankfully my hubby is back to work and we have our third beautiful and healthy baby girl. I managed to stockpile about a year’s worth of diapers throughout my pregnancy using coupons and deals and putting money in our budget for it. Budgeting basically saved us through this difficult year. Also ,living on less even when we had more. Now I just have to work on getting more rest with a 7 yr old, 3 yr old and a newborn. LOL! Thankfully my hubby lets me nap sometimes when he gets home from work!

  • Cheryl Varela says:

    5 years ago my husband and I got married. We found when we combined both of our debts we were $30,000 in credit card debt. We a newborn on the way and was a little scared, after long discussion and lots of support from my husband, I took a second job doing contract work in the evenings and weekends. We worked out a plan/budget to get the debt paid off. I looked at all the credit card offers and balanced transfered all that I could to the 0% intrest and rest to lowest intrest I could get. Every extra dime I made on the contract work, I paid on the highest intrest rate and kept paying it down. As the 0% or low intrest expired I shopped my credit cards for best rate and transfered and paid down until we had no more debt. It took 4 years of coupon shopping, working 2 jobs and eating at home, and lots of nextflix but we are debt free!!!!!

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