Thoughts on stress – living life on a river full of rapids

I love my friends! I am truly blessed to have a group of amazing, brilliant courageous women surrounding me and walking with me through life as a woman, wife and mother. The Bible says, “A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity” (Prov 17:17) and I have certainly found that to be true. One of my dearest friends spoke at our community MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) group last week and her talk still lingers in my mind, leaving little gifts of insight every day since I heard her speak. She shared an incredible testimony of her experience river rafting with other women from our church in northern California last summer. On the trip, which took personal courage to attend in the first place, she ended up being thrown from her boat into class three rapids and faced a few terrifying moments until a friend reached out and pulled her back in to their boat.

That experience in itself is an amazing story of God’s protection over her (and, she pointed out, over all of us as we face scary, turbulent moments in our lives). As she drew parallels between her brush with peril and the fears we can all have when facing frightening and stressful moments as parents, I realized something important about the recent battles I’ve faced in parenting my two adopted daughters. I have been battling a rapid in recent months as I’ve engaged persistent, difficult behaviors and health issues in my children’s lives and I had become extremely tired. I was doing all I could think of to cope in healthy ways, but, like my friend who was struggling to simply catch her breath and stay afloat in the freezing, churning river, I can’t always think broad enough to rise above the moment in those most challenging times. After her talk, however, one very clear thought rung through my mind: I need to just get off the river for a little while!

Being completely burned out, I had to go to other sources for ideas to do this. I found a great list with ideas for relaxation on one of my favorite humorous blogs – “The Dumb Little Man’s Tips for Life.” I’ve added a few of my own things that I’ve found helpful over the years too. As a sister in this often nutty journey of life, I now pass it along for any of us who are struggling to stay afloat. Even if you’re not, chances are the rapids will pick up again sometime in your life, so hang on to this list and even add more of your own ideas so you have it when you really need it!

Ideas to Rest and Recharge
Listen to classical music
Talk a walk on the beach, or even just around the block
Watch a river run over pebbles
Play with a pet
Cuddle a baby
Smile at a child
Get lost in the great outdoors
Collect shells at the beach
Invite friends for dinner
Call a friend on the phone
Play games
Meditate
Take a power nap
Do yoga
Do any sport that helps you to relax
Read a good book
Go sailing
Go hiking
Listen to your iPod
Watch a funny movie
Watch a kids movie
Sleep
Pray
Gaze into the landscape
Gaze into candlelight
Read by candlelight
Do some scrapbooking
Paint
Find a new hobby
Hibernate with a cup of herbal tea and a good book
Take a relaxing bath
Get a massage
Sing
Dance
Lie down in the grass and gaze up into the sky
Walk barefoot
Reflect on your life

Work out
Daydream
Take a long shower
Take a vacation
Go for a weekend getaway

May you have a blessed, restful and joyous week!

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