On Thursday I posted the first part of my list of things that help me cope with the stress of being the mother of a deeply
troubled daughter. Her substance abuse, cutting, mental health issues, hospitalizations, and suicide attempts caused huge amounts of worry and anxiety. At times, the stress felt like more than I could handle. Does this sound like your story?
Over the last ten years I’ve discovered a wide variety of activities that helped me cope better. This past Thursday, July 9, fifteen ideas were shared. Today is part 2. I hope there’s a helpful idea here for you.
16) Clean or organize something – it keeps your mind focused on something other than your troubled child; men, you might wash and wax the car or work in the garage.
17) Enjoy a hobby – try something new.
18) Go shopping – if your budget’s tight, window shop; thrift stores and consignment shops are great options.
19) Watch a fun movie that makes you laugh – I enjoy the classics and musicals.
20) Practice deep breathing while repeating a comforting phrase – “I belong to God”; “God is in control”; “I am not alone”; “This won’t last forever”; “Let go and let God”; “Take One Day at a Time”.
21) Read stories (or watch movies) of redemption – about people who overcame great obstacles; find them through searching the internet, Netflix, or the library. Reader’s Digest magazines (Goodwill stores often have them on their shelves), Chicken Soup for the Soul books (they have a large number of of topics are available on Amazon.com). The internet at YouTube, iamsecond.com, twloha.com, and other websites also have inspiring material.
22) Pull weeds or work in the yard – caring for flowers, gardens, or plants. It creates a feeling of accomplishment.
23) Watch the sun rise or set – take pictures.
24) Sing songs – sing along with a favorite CD; use an old hymnbook (if you own one); uplifting songs can be found on the internet and YouTube.
25) Start a Thanksgiving Journal – I made an entry every day of something I was grateful for. Remembering our blessings is uplifting and encouraging. You can go back and read through it to de-stress.
26) Take pictures of nature or anything that interests you – look at your favorites in your computer, iPhone or photo albums.
27) Do something for someone else – this is a biggie; it shifts the focus off of yourself.
28) Listen to recorded sounds of nature – birds singing, rushing rivers, ocean waves, rainfall, etc.
29) Use a “God Box” – I’ve mentioned this in a former post. Find a small box and write on the top, My God Box. Put a note pad and pen in it or nearby. When you realize you’re worrying, fearful or stressed about your child, write those thoughts and feelings on a page in the notepad. Then, put the paper in the box and put the lid back on. Then put it away. Maybe up high on a shelf or in a drawer. This process is symbolic of giving your worries and stresses to God. I’ve been amazed how this simple exercise helps.
30) Garage sale or go to a flea market – It’s a blast! You never know what you might find. Go with a friend (it adds to the enjoyment), but even alone it’s still a great distraction.
I encourage you, make a list of what you think will work for you. Put your list where you can find it easily or make a note in your iPhone. Use it the next time stress over any issue threatens to overwhelm you. Read it, pick one of the ideas, and make yourself do it. It really can help. As time goes by, your list will probably grow, like mine did. We need all the ideas we can get, don’t we?
Ask God to show you what will work for you. What rings my bell may not ring yours. Your personality and interests are unique. I wonder what will be on your list of coping ideas?
These two Bible verses help me cope:
“I am always with you; you take hold of my right hand.” (Psalm 73:23, NASB)
“He (God) raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats then with princes . . .” (Psalm 113:7-8a, NIV)
**Are there things not on my list that help you? Please share them so we can all benefit. We need each other!