Tag: stress

How Do You Manage Stress?

This week I was told that an old friend of mine had just lost his twenty four year old son to suicide.

There are no words to express the range of emotions that accompany this unimaginable loss, either for me, but more importantly, for my friend and his family. There may be no loss greater than the suicide of your child. As a mother, I tried to understand the sheer volume of feelings, emotions, experiences and thoughts that would drive my child to such a permanent decision. There are no words. My heart aches.

It appears that the common thread that connects all suicides is the overwhelming feeling of dread, despair, lonliness and hopelessness among those who commit suicide. Additionally, depression, academic performance, workplace performance, economic standing along with other factors hold serious importance too. (1)

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US. It is the 4th leading cause of death for adolescents, globally. In 2019 there were 47,511 lives lost due to suicide, while 1.4 million attempted suicide. (1)

Finding ways to cope with the hopelessness that surrounds us is a very important life skill. Being able to manage the stress and anxiety is vital for all of us. Withhout these coping skills the suicide statistics will continue to climb, and families will continue to be shattered by the unthinkable, unexpected loss of loved ones.

We all realize that during the holidays not every home is “merry and bright”, and although we sing of it being “the most wonderful time of the year”, for the “masked many”, it is not. The lights of the holiday season fail to bring the illumination needed to the dark lonliness of the “masked many”.

Let’s work together to help each other to better manage stress. K?

Here are some signs that you or a loved one may be needing stress relief: (2)

  • trouble sleeping
  • headaches
  • indigestion
  • muscle tension
  • exhaustion
  • change in appetite
  • teeth grinding

If you notice these in you (or your friend) and you’ve not experienced them before, talk to a doctor, discuss the stresses in your life.

It’s important to learn to manage our stress, because stress is a part of all of our lives. We will always have to deal with it. It will look different in each life, but it always impacts our life in a negative way. Chronic stress can even lead to heart disease, memory impariment and depression.

Of course, we have seen the ways it can impact our relationships with other people, too. We have less patience with people and struggle to handle situations that we normally are able to manage.

So, here are some stress management tips: (3)

  1. Get to the root cause of the stress – look deep, beyond the obvious. Hone in. Evaluate what you like and don’t like about it.
  2. Meditate – collect your thoughts, bring them back. Center them in truth and focus them on the truth.
  3. Deep breathing – focus on taking deeper breaths, it slows your heart rate down and relaxes muscles. Consequently, your stress responses are slowed and your concentration improved.
  4. Manage your time – allow yourself breaks in the day to rest and recharge
  5. Consider journaling – this helps you to get your feelings out and identify things that are causing stress
  6. Make lists and prioritize – you may have alot to do, so write them down. But also order them, not everything is a priority. Be honest.
  7. Do one thing at a time – multitasking does not allow you to do your best work because you are doing too many things. Your brain does not like jumping back and forth. Allow it to focus and offer your best, then move on.

Learning to utilize these tips and tools will help, but should you find they are not helping enough, seek the assistance of a professional. They will be able to help you identify causes, and equip you with skills to manage your stress.

Take honest stock of your life or the life of your loved one. Learning how to manage stress and helping our loved ones manage stress will help to assure that no one you know has to deal with a loss due to suicide.

So, how do you manage stress? Are you managing it, or is it managing you?

Cheers to you,


Works Cited:

  1. afsp.org (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)
  2. http://www.betterhelp.com
  3. ibid

When You’re Squeezed, What Comes Out?

Years ago I was asked to speak to a gathering of young people, so, after thoughtful consideration, I settled on the topic, “When you’re squeezed, what comes out?”.

That title has come back to ME hundreds of times since then, and so it has again for this particular blog today.

It’s relevance is timeless, and ageless, and it’s pertinence for us today.

Working in retail and interacting with other workers, managers and owners, all have spoken of how high strung, uptight and stressed people today are.

Customers are exploding in anger at the server over the smallest hiccup in their order, sending the server to recompose from tears in the restroom.

Or in my case, berating and accusing me because an item wasn’t made in the USA.

I recently spoke with a dear friend who spoke of their short fuse with their child; a family member “so over all the crap” with another family member; and have dealt myself with the short length of my patience.

What’s happening here?

The last year and a half has taken a toll on all of us. It has put pressure on us that is unbelievable and unexpected. We must accept that. No matter the level of success or failure we have had with the pressure, let’s recognize that we are being squeezed.

The truth is, what comes out of us, our responses comes only from what is inside us. And that’s the humbling part because often what comes out is anger, bitterness, accusations, and blame.

Something has to be in you to get squeezed out. Right?

Consider that lemon, or orange… it can only give the juice of what lies within it.

Psychologists tells us that our auto responses go into effect with stress. Yep, I agree, I’ve seen it in my life. They also tell us that those responses are programmed from our youth, when we are unaware and unable to change them. They are actually hardwired into us by the age of 3! (according to Dr. Christine Bradstreet)

Geesh…. That means your auto response at ______ years old ( your age now) is actually your 3 year old reaction! (Unless you have spent intentional time working on changing it.) Those reactions are as familiar as your face and seem to just be who you are.

Imagine that 3 year old learning responses. Poison and nutrition both have been fed those responses. The poison comes from the wounds, low self esteem, etc. nutrition comes from love, acceptance, boundaries, etc.

So are we stuck there, with our 3 year old responses? You know the answer…. NO.

Our responses can be changed. If you don’t like what you see when you’re squeezed, choose what you want to see instead. The next time the pressure is on, you get to choose your response. It will be awkward and difficult and maybe even silent for a while, but it is possible.

I told you a while back that I have been working on a response of mine, and I am pleased to report, that it has improved greatly! But it took a conscious choice and regular practice to build a new response, one that I was proud of. Like a muscle it grew stronger with persistent practice.

There will be setbacks and screw ups, and in those times we see just how serious we are about reprogramming our auto pilot responses.

We can change our life by changing what’s inside of us. It is totally our choice.

Remember, something has to be in you in order to get squeezed out.

Are you looking for courage, leadership, peacemaking, honesty to come out of you, they have to be in you first.

As you face the pressure of these days, try selecting just one response that you want to change. Focus on it by choosing a different response you want to display. Work on it, practice, exercise that new response muscle, let it become strong and replace your 3 year old response.

You can do it. We can do it. We can become the people we want to be with responses to pressure that we can be proud of.

It all starts with answering the question, “when you’re squeezed what comes out?”.

So happy to be journeying with you in this process of becoming our best self.

Cheers to you,



When I was in middle school, a hundred years ago, I had to take Home Economics class. It was a class in which I would “learn to sew”. Ha!

I dreaded it in advance, hated it in the process and afterward had a “skirt” that I made using a Simplicity pattern to show for my halfhearted efforts.

What a joke it all was. Seriously. Two things I remember from that class. 1. I never finished the skirt 2. That Simplicity pattern

Simplicity patterns have been around a long time. In 2017 they became part of CSS Industries along with all the other pattern companies, (Butterick, McCalls, etc.) and so there actually is no more Simplicity.

That’s kinda fitting, tho’, because haven’t you also found that simplicity, the simpler life has also disappeared?

I’ll never forget the time my husband and I spent in Kenya. Man, how we loved it, loved the people and LOVED the simplicity. It was, they were, amazing. Being there, changed our perspective and outlook forever.

How complicated our Western society has become. How consumer driven and comfort seeking we are.

We seemingly can’t live without so much superfluous stuff.

We are more stressed than ever, less active, less present, less healthy. Projects, appointments, events, and others wishes frame our days activities. We have trouble keeping up, then procrastinate which only adds to the stress.

World events, national politics, virus news, etc. only add more layers to our complicated life.

Simplicity. We need it. Our brains need it. Our health, physical and mental needs it. Our family needs it. Look around, is there any place or anyone who would not benefit from a good, strong dose of simplicity?

I really don’t have any magic beans to sell you here, nothing profound to expound upon or advice to give. You’ve heard it. You know it already. You get it.

May simplicity be our pattern for life.

Simple message today, simplicity. Start somewhere. Just start.

Cheers to the simple life.

“A simple, humble life with peace and quiet is far better than an opulent lifestyle with nothing but quarrels and strife at home.” Proverbs 17:1