“Somehow, we’ll find it. The balance between whom we wish to be and whom we need to be. But for now, we simply have to be satisfied with who we are.”
Perhaps you have a balanced life, some people do, with enough rest, enough play and interaction with family and friends, healthy life-style, and a balanced working-life. You may even take time to invest in your prayer life. If that’s you, well done. Keep doing what you are doing, as it is serving you well.
Most of us, on the other hand, will struggle with stress from time to time. Whenever we are overwhelmed in any one area of our life, it may be helpful to find ways to de-stress and do whatever will help us get out of our head at least a few times a day. We may already have things we do that are helpful in this regard, so these suggestions are only meant as pointers. Use them if they help you, leave them behind if they don’t.
“Stress management is all about taking charge: of your lifestyle, thoughts, emotions, and the way you deal with problems. No matter how stressful your life seems, there are steps you can take to relieve the pressure and regain control.”*
Listen to your body
No matter what is going on in our life, our body will feel it. If you need rest, let your body tell you and try to make room for things you find relaxing. If you need friends, a listening ear, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for support. If you are not eating well, make sure to include at least a few healthy meals throughout your days. This may seem so obvious that we may take it for granted at times but looking after out bodies is as important as it is looking after our soul and our hearts. Self-care is crucial if we want to have a good quality of life.
Exercise is as important for mental health as much as for our physical wellbeing. I personally find swimming most rewarding; if I have a lot on my mind, swimming will somehow clear my head from worrying. You, however, find whatever suits you best. Even short walks in fresh air, in the park, will do the trick.
Whether it’s writing, photography, pottery, cooking, or something else it does not really matter as long as you try to express yourself in a creative way. It is not about being perfect in something, but rather about having fun. Creativity invigorates us and opens up new possibilities. It challenges our way of thinking, in a non-threatening way. It can also help express some of the heavier emotions that are better to be carried by the paper than by yourself.
These suggestions are not exhaustive. When we find ways to de-stress, we will gain more energy and enthusiasm for life. In turn, worries might turn into challenges, something perhaps we can even enjoy, and obstacles might prove to be new opportunities. This will come only with practice and regular effort, but eventually we may end up being creative even in how we live our life, and that would have made all the difference.
Dr Iva Beranek is the Ministry Facilitator for the CMH: Ireland