Friday, 28 June 2013

5 Tips for Stressing Less!

When I was first in the midst of discovering my health was spiralling down hill, a friend of mine who'd been through a similar journey said to me "you'll never be the same again".  He wasn't talking only about the physical, although that may be true, he was speaking of the lessons and growth that take place through trials.  I believe he was right.

One of the biggest things I'm learning and growing in is how to handle stress.  It's been something I think I thrived on for a while - the stress induced adrenal rush that can make us highly productive... for a short period of time.  The trouble is, long-term stress is also a  suppressor of our immune system, amongst other things, leaving us vulnerable to less than optimum health.

Here's a few things that I'm learning and challenging myself on, in learning how to minimize stress and deal with it in a healthy way when it comes.  I hope you might find something here that's helpful to you too:

1. Get organized.  Being un-organized is stressful.  If everything has a time and a place and an order of priority then stress can be reduced. For me one area where I'd hit the "adrenaline button" to get things done, would be in cleaning and taking care of our house.  I'm learning that if I have a routine and a system in place, I no longer have to pressure myself to deep-clean my house from top to bottom in one morning! (And spend the next 2 days recovering!)

2. Minimize. Living in clutter and trying to keep track of too much "stuff" is stressful.  I'm enjoying the stress-relieveing process of learning to live with less.  I'd highly recommend it! Here's a great blog for more on this issue:

3. Know your limits. We're all human and we all have limits.  For an introvert there may be limits on how long they can spend with people before they need to decompress and spend some alone time. We all have physical limits - our bodies need sleep, food and water in order to function properly.  Some of us have more restrictive physical or health limitations too.  Know yours so that you can function at your best and not push yourself to stress and strain trying to achieve more than is humanly possible! (I'm definitely preaching to myself on this one!)

4. Prioritize rest.  If you don't plan for it, it doesn't happen.  Maybe you already know that being out 7 evenings a week isn't sustainable long-term for you.  Maybe you know that you're pretty cranky if you don't get 8.5 hours sleep every night.  Take time to decide what your work/play/rest balance should be and then plan for it.  You'll be way more productive when you're rested. There will be times and seasons where prioritizing rest might be difficult and it will always have to be flexible, but if you have a "best case scenario" goal to aim for, you're more likely to hit it at least most of the time.

5. Remember what's important. Gain some perspective. If you're anything like me, the things that stress you out the most are often the things that are no where near the most important things in life.  Take time to gain some perspective, to remember what's really important and what's not worth getting stressed about.  For me that's quietening my heart before God and remembering that He's in control, and choosing to be thankful.  

How do you deal with stress in your life?  Tweet me @vacrossthewater or comment below

Saturday, 22 June 2013

June Update

It's now less than 3 months until we leave this little island and start making our way back to England!  Wow!  Time is flying!  Our train tickets are booked for the big cross-canada adventure in September (see video at the end of this post if you're interested) and our shipping crate has now docked in London.  It's getting exciting!  I'm gonna be pretty sad to say goodbye to this little guy though... but we've found him a good home :)

A couple of weeks ago I had another appointment with our "super-doctor" in Vancouver!  He's really happy with my progress (so are we!) and I am no longer on medications which feels amazing.  My remaining symptoms at this point can mostly be put down to my body being so de-conditioned from 18 months of doing close to nothing.  He told me I have to remember I'm not working with a body that can run half marathons anymore... hmm no kidding!  His suggestion was that I make myself an exercise programme to start out gently and gradually increase.  "Make it fun" he said...  :)

Yes that's right, we now have a mini trampoline in our house, or a "rebounder" as it's technically called (but what fun is that?!)  My friend leant it to me and I'm loving it!  There's apparently some amazing health benefits to rebounding and it's often used in physical rehabilitation even for bed-ridden arthritic patients.  I'd love to hear from you if you've had any experience with it or if you've heard good things. 

So, safe to say I'm actually enjoying this Summer way more than last year - visiting with friends, boat rides, camp fires and ocean-side suppers.  Fab.

Love from across the water!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Turn that frown upside down!

It's been a fun week for me and my blog!  Not only was I guest blogger at On The Way on Monday, but I also got to contribute to a post on a great blog I've just started reading.  You can take a look: here.  Lindsay had put out a tweet earlier in the week asking for ideas on how to turn a bad day into a good day.  Well, I had to jump on that one, because as you might guess, there's been a few bad days in my last year and a half! And I've been learning to turn them into "good days." Days waking up feeling like lead balloons are strapped to my limbs, and days of spontaneous balling after loosing our baby to name a few of the more typical ones.  Those were some "bad" days.  As I've said before though, through all the ups and downs, it's a little ironic that I've learned to be more thankful.  And so that's what I tweeted back at Lindsay.  For me, the key to turning a bad day into a good day is choosing to be thankful.  It really is a choice.  Sometimes there's only one small thing.  Sometimes there's a long list.  I'm writing them down "One Thousand Gifts" style... are you?!

Etsy vol25

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Everything Matters

This week I have the honour of being a guest blogger over at "On the Way", please have a read and take a look at some other posts while you're there - well worth your time :) 

Also... I'm always happy to be able to share pictures from one of our adventures because it means I'm healthy enough to be up and out... just because I can!  Here's some from a little Sunny Sunday afternoon trip to Genoa Bay last weekend:


Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Generosity is Life-Giving. Here's why.

We all love to receive a gift.  I've been blessed to receive many gifts over the last few months: the gift of a home-cooked meal, a financial gift, the gift of a clean home, a swept deck or a hug and a prayer.  I believe that community is also a gift in itself.

Generosity though is also a gift all of it's own.  And here's why I think that as much as it's a blessing to receive, the bigger blessing is in the giving:

1. We regard someone else as being more important than ourselves.  The money could have been used by ourself, or we could hold onto that item we don't use, but instead, choosing to give shows a preference for their needs above our own.

2. We learn to let go.  Our money, our time, our stuff doesn't really belong to us anyway.  What a freeing thing it is to acknowledge that by giving it away. 

3. We show that we care.  Actions can speak a thousand words.  

4. We become satisfied with what we have.  As we choose to live a little more open-handedly, we learn that more often than not, our holding on to things wasn't doing us any favours.

5. We recognize that people are more important than possessions. New friendships can blossom and old ones be strengthened all in a simple act of giving.

So, what is it that you could give to someone today?  A date night as a couple while you watch their kids?  A clean house?  A cup of coffee?  A kind word?  

Acts 20:35b "...the Lord Jesus Himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive"

Have you found this to be true in your life?