5 Valuable Ways to Manage Mental Wellness in Kids & Us

5 Valuable Ways to Manage Mental Wellness in Kids & Us

5 valuable ways to manage mental wellness in kids

My mental wellness plan started early in my years. I learned at a young age how to develop a relationship with nature. It’s not until later in life I realized how important that relationship was going to be. I’m sure you’re thinking ‘relationship with nature? That sounds weird, but what we’re addressing here is mental health and how to manage it. And nature was my #1 go-to, I also have four other incredible ways to tame the lion within ourselves and kiddos.

The beach

My toes were planted in wet sand. My arms stretched out as wind combed through my pigtails. “Let’s give them a show,” I said. I cleared my throat, threw up my hands, and orchestrated the waves as they crashed and rippled onto the beach. My mind was free, I had no stress, I played and used my creativity; I was happy. It was just me and the beach. No toys. No electronics. In fact, no one else was by me. It was a simple setting, yet a powerful one for my mental wellbeing.

The brain

National Geographic wrote, “Nature provides us essentials like clean water, food, medicines, even recreational retreats… it also helps regulate our weather and climate. But these systems are extremely fragile…we know that once they are gone, there are no replacements.” We didn’t need National Geographic to tell us this. However, isn’t that statement similar to our mental health? Our brains need clean water, good food, and recreational escapes to help normalize our well-being. If we don’t get these things, our minds, too, are fragile and will break.

Mental health issues shouldn’t be shrugged under the rug. We all have them! Sorry to break that news to you, but we do have our own mental poo; whether it’s addictions (large or small), obsessive-compulsive disorders, learning disabilities, anxiety, anger, hypochondria, social challenges, depression, PTSD, or what have you; we all have a touch of something, even your kids do too. Perfectionism doesn’t exist in this world. Now, don’t you feel better you’re not alone?

What can we do about it?

You’d think that we can either fix it or we can try to ignore it. But neither way works very well. What we need to do is manage it. Fixing it 100% doesn’t exist, it’s bound to surface again someday, and ignoring it is going to lead to other problems. Who needs more problems? Yet managing it helps us understand our triggers and how to handle them.

My mental issue

My body has caused me a lot of grief in my life, from autoimmune hepatitis, hyperemesis gravidarum, bulging disc, miscarriage, colitis, torn ligaments, and nerve damage to name a few. These all have put a mental toll on me. It’s one thing if these ailments are short-lived, but they weren’t and are not. They go on and on. Anyone hear me out there? Some people just go with the flow, and boy, I admire those people. I honestly don’t know how they do it, hence, my mental issue. I’m just mad that my body can’t figure out balance and I eat well and exercise. However, what I do know is that I’m driven to figure it out; that’s why you’ll see posts about health stuff every so often at Simplify Firefly. And maybe, it’s not my body that has the issue, but it’s my mind or spiritual health. Read this post about spiritual warfare…so good!

Maybe this will help you understand my madness, my dream as a kid was to have optimum health. Weird dream for a kid, but hey, I’m weird. At a young age, I wanted to be super healthy, strong, and run an Iron Man. I’ve been trying to work towards this since 1982 when I was doing Disney Mousercise in my driveway…basically aerobics to Disney tunes, and yes on a Boom box, I had the cassette version. But even at a young age, it was one blow after another, then another. However, I always had hope that I’d learn something new. The Lord gave me that light and helped me through and through. Oh, I love Him so much.

Acceptance

It has taken me years to accept my mental issue, but it’s clear as day to me as I look back on life and I can see how this all came to be. Believe me; my madness wasn’t helping my health at all. It was probably making it worse. A vicious cycle it was and still is if I ignore my mental state.

With that said, this is a journey friend. I still struggle with management today, but I’m determined to understand my root cause, which I know I’m getting closer to. I think that’s why I share so much because maybe someone has gone through the same kind of thing and we can help each other. What do you have to lose?

What to do.

Probably the biggest step in helping ourselves and our children with mental health management is to digest that we have something going on. Upon discovery, many may experience anger at first, but others will feel relief that they finally figured a piece of the puzzle out. Does that make sense? All in all, when we can embrace it and understand it, we’ll have a better chance of managing it and living that amazing life we always envisioned. I may not run an Iron Man, but I’ll know a heck of a lot more about how my body works and why it does what it does.

Anger Management 101

I could end on that, but it’s important to reiterate that a ‘lack of understanding’ usually gets us upset in the first place. Why? Because we don’t understand! That’s why fights happen and judgments lash. We don’t know why people act the way they do, because we don’t live in their shoes. For all we know they could be sick, have a chronic illness, be abused, have social issues, or on drugs. And when we don’t know how to manage those things, a mess of emotions implodes and then explodes on others.

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When we have an anger about something, we usually want to do something about it. I’m not talking about anger towards a person when you want to lash out at them for saying something stupid, that’s a different post. The anger I’m referring to is about how we react to either ourselves or a cause that affects other people. Some call it anger, others call is passion. You can take it a step further and call it uniqueness. There is this great book by Matthew Barnett, “The Cause Within You”. I highly recommend this book to not only inspire your own life but to motivate how to help others. Super good!

Okay, so what do we do now?

I’d have to say the majority of people try to ignore their mental state or try to numb it with something else like drugs, alcohol, shopping, or eating. Another route to managing our mindfulness includes prescription drugs and/or counseling. These are helpful ways if used correctly, but they can be pricy and scary for that matter. And what about the kids? As parents, we can teach our kids how to manage our ‘uniqueness’ in less complicated ways, of course depending on the severity.

*Disclaimer: For the record, I am not a therapist, nor am I trying to be one. These are things I have personally learned and wanted to share them with you. Please consult your physician before trying anything new, especially if you or your child is at risk of hurting themselves.*  

5 valuable and creative ways to help

Here are some creative ways to help you and your family manage our mental uniqueness.

1. Get outside

Remember that relationship with nature I started talking about? The National Academy of Sciences performed a study that shows a simple 90-minute walk in nature {a place with trees} decreases negative thinking about oneself. Taking a walk in an urban area like a city or industrial park has zero effect. This study reveals that there is a “…pathway by which nature experiences may improve mental well-being and suggests that accessible natural areas within urban contexts may be a critical resource for mental health…”

I don’t have 90 minutes to take a walk but I do have 20 minutes. Those 20 minutes are gold to me. My ideal walking area is to be around trees. For you, it might be the beach, the park, field, or mountains.

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The University of Minnesota says there’s “a growing prevalence of depression caused by ‘nature deprivation’,” which is largely due to screen time… Push your kids outside. Show them how to get started with orchestrating the waves, climbing trees, building a fort out of sticks or snow. My favorite is to grab a camera (a camera separate from a phone) and ask for certain pictures to be taken. We had gotten one for our son and he absolutely loved it! He still goes back and looks at his pictures.

If nature goes away; so will our sanity.

2. Head to your hobby

A hobby can do loads for you. It keeps your hands busy and your mind focuses on being creative and being you! Kids love this! I wrote a post on hobbies with a list of different ones to try, check’r out!

3. Do something kind for your body.

Our bodies take most of the brunt from stress. So instead of cursing your body, bless it! As much as my body and mind are not getting along, I’m still kind to it. When you feel good, you are kinder to yourself and others around you. Do you need a run, a yoga session, a massage, a hot bath, a cup of tea on the couch? Do something that makes you feel better that is good and pure. This teaches kids how to pamper themselves when pampering is needed.

4. Eat foods for your brain

Food matters! Your brain needs fats, the good fats. And getting the clean kind in your body helps your body and brain fight off free-radicals…those are the guys that destroy the good stuff. Here is a post about Omega Oils that will help you out. And don’t forget the avocados.

5. Journal

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I know this sounds like old news, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Journaling works. When our thoughts are written down on paper, more so than typed, it’s like you’ve given permission to let the hurt get out of you. Write about your journey and what you’re trying to do to help. Put down what is working and what is definitely not working! Put in what you’re grateful for too. Not all journaling needs to be venting, having a flip side to things to healthy. Journaling is a great exercise to help kids express their emotions yet feel like they have some privacy. Plus it’s fun to shop for their very own journal. Another idea is to check out this workbook specifically for anger management. It will you guys understand each other.

For more ideas, this post from Mental Health America is a good one!

Taking little steps here and there are strides for our health both body and especially mind. Show your kids how to do it. You’ll be helping yourself and teaching your family. Win-Win!

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly All Rights Reserved.

5 Effective Ways to Shut the Mind Off!

5 Effective Ways to Shut the Mind Off!

How to turn your mind off

When I can’t shut the mind off I sometimes experience ‘anxiety anaphylaxis’; sounds worse than it is, I just get super moody. Why does this happen to me? I can sum it up in one word: BUSY. When it comes to being a mom, ‘busy’ is born right along with your little one. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE being a mom and I don’t mind being busy every once in a while, but it’s when BUSY takes over that I can’t think straight, my ‘to-do’ list turns into ‘to-do’ book, and the calendar looks like someone threw-up on it. Been there?

Busy Badge – not so

If ‘busy’ was a noun it would be a ball-and-chain latched to my ankle. I don’t see ‘busy’ as a badge of accomplishment; I see it as a stock or pillory. Here’s why: ‘Busy’ is yearning to do things you want to do without having the time to do them. That’s my version of the definition. Merriam-Webster Dictionary says ‘busy’ is: engaged in action, occupied. Here’s the difference between the two definitions, when I’m ‘engaged in action’ with an activity I want to do, I’m not ‘busy’, I’m free. You might need to read that again to let it sink in.

definition of busy

How do we do it?

How do we shut the mind off to have the freedom to work on the things that bring purpose into our lives? Personal development? Or on the flip-side, how to not think about anything?

Men are pretty good at being able to turn their minds off. My husband and I will be having coffee, talking right along than five minutes of silence go by so I ask what my husband is thinking; and he says, “Nothing”. Seriously? Mark Gungor, author, and motivational speaker has an excellent and hilarious way of describing the differences between men and women’s minds. For instance, men have this thing called the ‘Nothing Box’. I mean, what the heck is that? You can watch it here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWiBRL-bxiA so funny.

5 Effective Ways for us ladies

But how do we ladies go about finding how to shut the mind off?

1. Change environments

Escape from the environment that is causing you to constantly think of your to-do list, or the problem you’re facing. For instance; for me, I need to step away from the house. Because I’m a stay-at-home-mom I live in my work. So when I’m at my house it’s natural for me to always have a project going. For short term results, I’ll go to my favorite store and wonder. I didn’t say buy stuff, just window shop. For long-term effects, we get out of town; and for my family that means camping. If you’re stuck inside get some amazing wall art and lose yourself in the picture.

desk with notebook and computer

2. Write things out

Putting it down on paper makes things more do-able. We, humans, tend to let our mind get away from us. We play-up our tasks way harder than they really are. Yet, when we get it down on paper it helps calm our neurons. I personally enjoy taking a clean sheet of copy paper, grabbing a pencil, and drawing a circle. From the circle, I create branches of all the things I’m thinking about…primarily my to-do list or ideas…then I break those branches into smaller do-able bites. Or go the traditional route and invest in a journal.

affirmations
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3. Converse with God

Talking with God helps me release the chains and give them to Him. Did you catch what I said? “Talking with God, not at Him or to Him, but with, like a friend talks with a friend. He wants a relationship with you, he wants to hear your side of the story, and he wants to help you. All you need to do is talk with Him. For instance, I escape to my favorite walking place and pray while I’m walking. For me, hearing my voice speak rather than trying to sort it all out in my mind helps me focus on the conversation. Then I stop talking and just listen; this gives me a breather and a chance for God to breathe into me.  I enjoy Jesus Calling as a nice devotional to help hear His voice.  

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4. Watch a Good Show

There is no better feeling than turning on a movie at my fingertips. The comfy clothes come on and my ‘please don’t ask me anything’ time starts. When we are entertained it gives us time to relax and just be. Our brains need it, especially to sleep. It’s a chance we get to wander out of our reality and into a story.

Here’s a tip, be picky of what you put in your brain. If you’re looking to just feel good and float on a cloud, don’t choose The Silence of the Lambs; maybe try La La Land, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, or Steel Magnolias. If you don’t have a Smart TV a Fire TV Stick is the way to go. It’s super easy to get Netflix, Hulu, and Prime video to name a few…and cheaper! Ask yourself what you want to get out of a show before you start channel flipping. And yes, it’s true, what you put in your mind affects how you think, and how you think affects how you act.

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5. Create

Creativity gets your mind off the stress and into a different state of being. Entrepreneur.com has a great article on the benefits of putting our creativity to use. There are scientific studies on how it can reduce stress. Psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, says that when you “lose yourself” in the composition of a song (creating)…, you are essentially entering a healthy flow state. No wonder I feel so great after I create something. Experiment in the kitchen, rearrange your furniture, color, create a playlist…we all have creative abilities. I really love this adult coloring book: Psalms in Color.

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I challenge you to tap into at least two of the above suggestions this week to shut the mind off. Ask yourself what do I need to let go to give myself the time I need? Want more about ‘busy’, check-out this post.

By CT Copyright © 2019 More Than Existence, All Rights Reserved.

Claim Your Life Back: 7 Steps to Fight Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual warfare. Do you believe it? Over these past nine months, there has been an increasing amount of spiritual warfare. Due to COVID, political unrest, and equality issues to name some big ones, I was stressed and wanted to know answers as to why this is all going on! What I found amazed me in the power it had over me. I wanted my life back. So I did these 7 things.

I wanted the truth.

Back in April of 2020, I started to seek truth in the only book that has truth, the Bible. And goodness, what a transformation it has done on me. I want that for you. People have even said to me, “Christy you sound so good,” “Christy, I can tell a weight has been lifted.” I owe it all the Jesus. Seriously, this guy changes things and makes things happen!

What is Spiritual Warfare?

Spiritual warfare is the invisible war between good and evil. Wikipedia defines it as, “…the Christian concept of fighting against the work of preternatural evil forces.” So how do we fight this? How do we know we’re being affected by it? Is it really true? These are all great questions, let’s get started on answering them.

Is this real?

The book of Truth says in Ephesians 6:12 this: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” This is only one of the references in the Bible where it talks of evil, Satan, demons, and fowl spirits. There are hundreds upon hundreds of times.

The Gospels are FULL of instances where Jesus and his twelve disciples drove out demons. You can find these books in the New Testament, the second half of the Bible. The Gospels include Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. This is really an interesting read with a wealth of knowledge that will change your life.

Yes, spiritual warfare is real. Yes, there is a heaven and a hell. Satan exists along with other fallen angels. And yes, we have to fight them off. No, I’m not a crazy person.

My wake-up call.

Many things led-up to me looking further into spiritual warfare. Was I indeed a battlefield? Sure enough I was. In fact, we all are. The Bible says we must be alert, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

Not only did I have a physical ailment with no explanation, but I suffered for 18 months. Let me tell you, it was a royal pain in my rear…literally. It’s not fun to talk about, but I know someone needs to hear this.

Romans 12:2

My story of spiritual warfare and how I fight.

Somehow is some way, I hurt my left hip which radiated pain not only down my leg at first, but then moved to my groin and compressed some delicate nerves. Sitting for long periods of time was NOT happening. Even walking was rough. Just the fact that I don’t know how I hurt myself is a huge clue to who is behind this.

The x-ray showed nothing, two MRI’s, one of the hip and the other of the groin were unmarkable…nothing was wrong. No one could give me an answer as to why I was experiencing this horrible, crazy pain. I saw 8 physical therapists, 4 chiropractors, went through 22 acoustic compression appointments and saw 5 doctors, not to mention hours and hours of researching online for an answer.

No one could pinpoint the source of the injury. This was so unsettling, so frustrating! The location of the injury didn’t allow me to ignore it either. I proceeded to go through 18 months…18 months…of physical therapy and half that time was pelvic floor PT. My reasoning was that maybe they’ll find something.

There were nights when I cried myself to sleep. Prays desperately went up for relief and healing, yet nothing was happening. I dug into the Word even more. It just so happens that in Psalms 91 it occurred to me that the Enemy probably has something to do with this pain. I dug deeper into the Word, and even read books on spiritual warfare. My eyes were opened to a whole new way of going about this injury.

The game-changer.

For the record, the PT helped, but it didn’t do all the healing. What helped me even more was putting on my armor and fighting back. My prayers got more specific, my physical therapist even prayed for me, AND she understood spiritual warfare. In fact, she shared with me how she fought and still fights back. And you know what happened? My body started to feel better, my hope returned, my faith got stronger, I wasn’t complaining as much, I had spunk in my step, and I felt stronger in more ways than one.

Just the other day my gut was bothering me. There was no reason for it to be upset. So I went into my bedroom and gave it a whirl. “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command all fowl spirits and demons who are messing with my digestive tract to leave right now and go to the foot of the cross. It’s by the blood of Jesus that I command you to leave!” Instantly, my gut felt better, no joke. I totally needed that confirmation.  

It was time to claim my life back.

Goodness, this seems more like a journal entry for me than a blog post. But listen up, I learned some more super important game-changers that I want to pass along to you to help you in this area.

I’m not writing this post to teach you everything I learned, there is a lot of information, so much so I don’t even know how to explain it! This post is to give you quick tips and a taste of what you can do to clean up shop so-to-speak.

Seven steps to peace

Step 1

The first step I took was to physically clean out my home of any objects that may have been subject of evil doing. I know this sounds silly, but if objects can be blessed like a prayer shawl, objects certainly can be cursed too. Yikes! Be careful about the things you collect, including books. And be watchful of gifts you receive or have already received. Most things are probably fine, but if you question anything that may have been cursed or made with the hands of witchcraft or a religion that goes against Jesus, get rid of it. I know this sounds voodoo, but remember who you’re dealing with…don’t entertain the enemy or test him.

Step 2

The next step I took went beyond knickknacks. I went deep…into my old journals. Digging out my journals from high school, college, and my twenties was an eye-opener for me. First off, journaling is super healthy. It’s great to journal lessons you have learned, to write down prayers, to journal about great things and dreams, and to write about positive memories.

It’s also great to vent on paper, it’s better to beat up a pencil and notebook than to take-it-out on a person. Write it out. Don’t hang on to it. Vent. But then pitch it. Physically throw the journal entry away or burn it. When we keep our old journals, the ones filled with darkness and distress, in some way or form your mind is still hanging on to it. Do you know what I mean? Destroy those entries full of complaining, anger, bitterness, and foul language. Who are you saving those journals for? Why would you ever want to reread those things, ever? Get rid of that darkness. It’s done. All over. It’s behind you. Why relive it?

What motivated me to destroy these entries was that I personally didn’t want my family to ever read them or for me to read them again. Toxic. In fact, I have no idea why I hung on to them for so long! So…I ripped out the bad stuff and burned them. There were even some journals in which I just burned the whole thing. Yep! I literally took gasoline, stepped back, and torched them in our portable fire pit; kind of like breaking up with a boyfriend and burning his things. I broke up with my old self. It was so liberating! I didn’t want to remember that junk, so again, why was I hanging on to it?

Step 3

The third step was to repent my sins. I wanted all negative ties broken. Asking for forgiveness of all my wrongs was humbling. You may think it’s no big deal, but to have a fresh start this needs to happen. In the past, I had asked God for forgiveness, but this time I was more thorough and I continue to this day to ask the Lord if there is something I missed to bring it to my attention. I don’t want any sin holding me back from what God wants to do in my life. This is a daily practice for me, I sin all the time without even knowing it!  In Psalm 139:23-24, David asks, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Step 4

The fourth step was to forgive anyone who had wronged me, including me! I didn’t say forget. I am not a Bible scholar, nor am I trying to be one, but I do know that you must forgive those who hurt you…yes, this includes your neighbor. Most of our offenders didn’t know what they were doing because the Enemy had such a big hold of them they had no way of telling what was right from wrong. Yet, there are some people that DID know what they were doing… The verse that comes to my mind is Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Step 5

The fifth step was to renounce, refuse, reject any lies, or fear that was/is holding me back. The Enemy is sneaky, and he only wants to hurt you. When you hear a lie like, “You’ll never succeed at this.” Get on top it immediately and say, “That’s a lie Satan. I am complete in Christ!” It’s also a super good idea to slam him with scripture you’ve memorized. In Ephesians 6 we are given the armor of God, and one vital piece of that battle gear is the Sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. Philippians 4:13 states, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Memorizing has been a powerful experience for me. Granted I only know a handful right now, but when I use them, I can feel it. Fighting off the Enemy is a daily thing for me along with repenting my sins, and forgiving others. Just remember that in John 10:10 Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Here is a site that is full of scriptures to memorize and use to fight with: hopefaithprayer.com

Step 6

The sixth step was to look at what I’m putting into my mind daily. Am I listening to gossip? Depressing music? Lies on the news? Am I watching trashy TV? What are my conversations full of? What am I watching on YouTube or what video games are I playing? How are these shows helping me? I’m not perfect, I have temptations, but I do have a mind. And if I want to live a life of joy and peace, I am going to try my best to control the things I put in my mind. Did you hear that? “What we put in our minds is in our control.” We have a choice here. No one is forcing you to watch Silence of the Lambs. The Bible teaches us what to put in our minds Philippians 4:8 gives us an idea, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, what is noble, whatever right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”(NIV)

Step 7

The seventh step was to pray. I’m not just talking about prayers of “God is great. God is good. Let us thank him for our food.” Prayers for protection, love, and to do His will have power behind them. The Lord wants to hear from you, He wants to talk with you, and He wants to bless you. But the first step is to pray. In Matthew 6:5-15 Jesus teaches us how to pray. He uses the Lord’s Prayer as a guide in what you should include in your prayers. Some pastors follow an acronym for prayer: ACTS.

Don’t make praying complicated; you can pray however you like, however, if you’re looking for help, you can use the above acronym as a guide. If you’re vibing in your prayer life, stick with that!

To Round It Up

Whether you are dealing with physical pain, relationships, weird moods, nightmares, or just feeling off, my hope is that you’ll take a step back and see WHO is really at fault here. By all means, don’t discount your doctor, just add some spiritual fighting power. I recommend going through these seven steps so you can get clarity in your everyday life and fight like you mean it! This isn’t a one-shot deal, it can be daily.

Along with reading the Bible (Ephesians 6:10-18 is a good start), I also recommend these books.

Battlefield of the Mind, Joyce Meyer

The Invisible War, Chip Ingram

Moving Mountains, John Eldredge

I HIGHLY recommend the Wild At Heart App. It has many powerful prayers that help fight the Enemy.

You can also head to my freebies and download the Stress & Anxiety Protocol, it’s a free download. My hope is that you’ll understand more about this spiritual warfare so you know how to recognize it and fight if off! Blessings to you.

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

3 Tricks to Turn Troubles Off- Lion into Lamb

3 Tricks to Turn Troubles Off- Lion into Lamb

3 Tricks to turn Troubles off: lion into lamb

This past January started with an unexpected visit from a lion who set-up camp. This wasn’t one of those sleepy lions, this cat was roaring. A New Year, a fresh start, and WHAM, I’m faced with my first of many challenging days. I get it, these things happen, but they kept happening. So how can we transform a lion into a lamb? I have a few tricks that work!

What’s up with Diet Coke?

Let me give you a taste of how January went along. Below-freezing temperatures hit our area, we had no school for eight days in one month! On one of those days my son and I were chatting on the couch when suddenly we heard an explosion from the garage, “What was that?”. My mind quickly questioned ‘was someone breaking in, where was the gas can, did a tire pop?’ As we peered, ever so slowly, into the garage we were welcomed with a light brownish slush on our screen door. The garage smelled a little sweet. Hmm. As I turned the light on my eyes widened at the car, garage ceiling, recycle bins, and even our boots. This brownish familiar smell stuff has exploded everywhere. Yep, I guess that’s what happens to a 2-liter of Diet Coke when it freezes.

It was in that moment I decided to practice my reaction to this roar, “All you can do is clean-up the mess. Just do it and move on. Getting mad is not going to fix it.” I shut the door and stood there for a second. “At least it’s frozen”, I said to my son. I grabbed my stocking hat, tightened my scarf, and went to work.

Later that afternoon I was craving a Diet Coke slushie. After I went through the car-wash I went to the store and got one. The funny thing was as I backed out of my parking spot, someone else backed up too…we met in the middle…crunch; hmm. My soul took a deep breath in and out, and my inner voice said, “Okay Christy. No one was hurt. There is no car damage. These things happen. Learn from this, and then move on.” This is just one example of one day I had this past month.

Salt & Pepper

Even though January was a bit rough, in hindsight, I’m actually glad it all happened. It’s usually through the bad stuff where we grow the most, no? The salty season reminded me that I have values and morals. I have goals. And I have a family who loves me after a bad day…month…LOL. But that’s not all this lion-of-a-month taught me. He taught me how to transform him into a lamb. Every week was peppered with dire events: work difficulties, health issues, relationship misunderstandings, car problems, communication predicaments, extreme weather conditions, and big decisions to name the least. I regularly thought about the superstition that bad things happen in threes, but there were more than three! “What’s going on?” It kind-of felt like I was in a boxing ring dodging punches; then I’d get an uppercut to the gut and a hook to the nose. My opponent would then roar like a lion and stand over my body. Okay, maybe not that intense, but I needed to fight back!

1 – Name the Lion

name tag

The first trick to fighting the lion is to notice it. Identify it. Give the lion a name: Doubt, Insecurity, Frustration, Unfairness, Confusion, or whatever it is. No one likes to call these out, but it helps to pinpoint the issue. I paid attention to what was going on around me, not to sulk in my despair, but to put a stop to it! What exactly is happening in my surroundings? Why was I letting it affect me so much? Can I name it? On the obvious note, it had been cloudy for weeks, sickness everywhere, bills coming in, and goals were strapped for time. On the not-so-obvious note, my hormones were haywire, my values were compromised, and people-pleasing got the best of me. But when I named it, I could then fight back with the right punches.

2 – Focus

we see what we want

The second trick is the pace. The frequency of these downers was happening one right after the other. My thinking immediately shifted from rolling it off my back to what’s coming next? This can be looked at as a good thing and a bad. The good helps with being alert, ready to act and prepared for the not-so-fun. The bad taints perspective. It’s like we’re looking for the grim so we see the grim. Here’s the trick with the good and the bad: what you focus on is what you’ll see the most of, pace yourself.

3 – Skill. Train the Lion

Train the lion. It’s how we handled the situations. This is a skill and a skill I need to continuously work on. My awareness of how I managed these troubles became clear to me. Some I did well with, others…um…I could have done better. I don’t like to admit I blew some things out of proportion, but gosh, it happens to all of us. So what do we do in this situation?

Here are 7 techniques:

yell stop
  1. Understand the triggers. Have a plan of how you’d like to react. Play it over in your head and practice.
  2. Use this opportunity to better yourself, not to hurt others, but to strengthen your character.
  3. Flip the switch and focus on the good things. Seriously write down or discuss at the dinner table what good things happen that day.
  4. Turn to God. He might be trying to get your attention or even protecting you from something worse. Yes, spiritual warfare happens. Fight off the Enemy with God’s armor, Ephesians 6:13-17. It also helps to call the enemy out on it, “STOP! Away from me!” Jesus did, why wouldn’t it work for us? Ask Jesus to help you.
  5. If you don’t have someone you can trust to vent to, write in a journal. Get it out.
  6. Give your mind a break and your body a good sweat. Exercise helps your brain be more creative and it kicks in your problem-solving skills.
  7. Distract your thoughts. Again, get your mind on something else that keeps you busy for a while. It gives you time to regroup.

Practicing these training techniques over and over again will help us see lions as lambs. Peace and comfort in moving forward will be prevalent. Give’r a try.

Seriously?

Ironically, during the latter half of the month, my husband heard on the radio that the third Monday in January is called “Blue Monday”. Apparently, a university professor used a formula to calculate the most depressing day of the year. WHAT?! The date was calculated by these factors: poor weather, debt level, post-Christmas blaa, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, and low motivation levels. You can see the formula here. After my husband told me that news I felt SO MUCH BETTER! Light bulb moment here: I wasn’t alone. And maybe that’s all we need to know when going through a lion season…we’re not alone.

By CT Copyright © 2019 More Than Existence, All Rights Reserved

To Live Without Regrets: 5 Tips for Your Time

To Live Without Regrets: 5 Tips for Your Time

pocketwatch2

What are you doing in-between the numbers? In other words, how are you spending your time when you’re not working? If you were to look back on your life do you see any regrets?

The saying “Time is money” seeps into my heart every time I hear a life end prematurely, or when I hear of a sobering diagnosis of a family member, or a grave attack on the innocent. Let me ask you this: Do you truly and honestly value your time? How dare me to ask that question! No matter our race, age, religion, pocketbook, or sex we all have time.

What does sex have to do with this?

Sex has a lot to do with time. Not physical sex. Got ya there, but sex as in sexagesimal.

Wikipedia assured me that sexagesimal has nothing to with actual sex, but it has a lot to do with time. In the 3rd millennium BC sexagesimal was defined as a numerical system for time having a base of 60.

Sexagesimal helped us put numbers on the clock. What we do in-between those numbers defines how we live. The choices we make affect how we use our time.

Regrets, what are they?

Regrets happen when you feel sad or sorry for something you did or didn’t do…with your time. If you ‘Google’ “regrets in life” you’ll find a slew of articles. One of those articles was about a nurse, who cared for people on their deathbed. She had a lot of conversations with her patients about regrets. She heard a lot of the same things.

The most common regrets include:

  1. To of had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
  3. To of had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. To had let myself be happier.

Did any of those regrets pop out at you? Scary to think that one of those could be our regret someday. But we don’t have to think that way. We can take charge of our time between the numbers and use them to better ourselves and the people around us.

Here are 5 techniques to living a life without regrets

  • Pray for guidance in using your time and talents.
  • Define where you want to spend your minutes: type of work, relationships, passions. It’s not too late to change all that.
  • Make a vision board’ and look at it daily. Seeing your goals and dreams daily magically helps you achieve them.
  • Manage your time on electronics: x amount on social media, x amount for emails and texting, incorporate a turn-off-electronics day.
  • Schedule ‘Solo Time’. Learn to love discovering yourself, organize your thoughts, and listen to your heart. This includes talking positively to yourself. There are some affirmations in my Freebies for you.

We all may experience ‘regretful season’ in life, I know I have; just remember you’re the one who has to live with it…or die with it for that matter. Stop regret in its track. Notice what is happening. Be aware of your surroundings and move forward.

This Thanksgiving I am grateful for my time because everything I have is a reflection of what I did in-between the numbers on the clock.

Peace be with you.

-Christy

By CT Copyright © 2016 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

Cleaning the House: 5 Factors to Understand

Cleaning the House: 5 Factors to Understand

Cleaning the house has been one of the most toxic yet healthy tasks in life. Sure we could pay someone else to do it but stay humble friend. Living in a clean house is not just healthy for our bodies, but for our psyche. Learn how to make cleaning less stressful by understanding 5 key factors.

cleaning the house: 5 factors to understand to make it less stressful

There have been numerous times my husband has suggested hiring someone to clean our house. Each time he brings it up three reasons keep me from saying yes:

1. I would still clean the house before they came to clean!

2. It’s hard to find a good cleaner, yet alone one you can trust.

3. It’s one more thing to add to the budget.

Someday I will probably get there, but I honestly don’t have any excuses for why I can’t clean my own house. So if you’re like me, listen up to loosen up about cleaning the house.

Why cleaning the house matters

First off, living in a clean home does a body and mind good. When we don’t dust or vacuum as often as we should, dust mites build up and can lead to allergies. Not to mention lingering smells and sticky surfaces. It’s like a welcome mat for various germs and bugs with large bodies and little legs…that will motivate me to clean!

Like mowing the lawn, cleaning provides that same kind of instant gratification. Accomplishing a clean house is a huge win, especially if you put your own sweat into it. When I’m cleaning I like to think of all the money I’m saving from paying someone to do it, not to mention all the calories I just burned!

5 factors to determine how often I clean

I’m not a deep cleaner every time I clean my house. Deep cleaning and the number of times to clean will depend on your situation. I’ve found there are five factors to determine how often to clean your house.

Pets

If you have a shedding dog or other messy pet, cleaning is probably going to happen more often.

Kids

The number of kids determines how often to clean. With kids, you must consider their ages. Starting a child out at 5-years-old with an easy cleaning chore helps them understand you’re not their servant. The older they get the more they should help.   

Allergies

If your husband’s allergies flare up, dusting and vacuuming will be more frequent. When my husband sneezes in the morning, I know it’s time to clean. My son has the same issue. I’m getting a lot of miles on my vacuum!

Location

Where you live plays a factor in how often to clean the house. Do you live in a dusty field, near a construction site, or pollen invested forest? Again, in these instances, allergies could attack.

Personality

And lastly, don’t forget about your personality. Ask yourself these questions: Are you ‘Laidback Jack’ or ‘Anal Andy’? Do you like to do things yourself or are you a delegator? What about how you were taught? How often are you entertaining? Get an understanding of who you are and how you want to move forward.

All in all

When it comes to cleaning the house, get in the right frame of mind. Schedule a cleaning day and make sure your kids or husband understand what cleaning is and what their responsibilities are. Remember your cleaning schedule depends on where you live, who lives with you, and how you’re living!

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

Chaos vs Simplicity. A Strategy You Don’t Want to Miss.

Chaos vs Simplicity. A Strategy You Don’t Want to Miss.

The world is dominated by chaos especially now; pandemic, racial injustice, a shaky economy, broken homes, and anxiety-filled minds. If you look at what’s on TV, YouTube, and in theaters, you wouldn’t be surprised by the health of our world. Right now is a great time to pull out your secret weapon to fight chaos and kick it to the curb. Learn how to access your boxing gloves and how to use them effectively every day. You’ll be surprised how much simpler life gets and enjoyable.

The start of the school year

Starting school during a pandemic is stressful. No one knows what to expect or how to react. In fact, there is no right way. At least they have some type of school. As the kids head off to school or start their online education, we moms, whisper to ourselves about the tranquility we’re about to experience. Let’s face it, it’s been 6-months of constant contact with our precious babies. We love our children, but to help them survive on their own, they need to leave the nest. With an extra cup of coffee, a wide stretch of our arms, and a sigh of relief, we can finally relax and have the house (or room) to ourselves. Or is that false?

Yes, it’s true that the kids or gone or quiet, but it’s false that tranquility is immediate, it’s going to take some work to get there. When ‘me time’ comes we have this grand plan what we’ll do with ourselves, but we soon find our left brain playing ping pong with our right. Before we know it, mental chaos settles in. “I’m home alone, I only have X amount of time to get everything done! I’m not going to get it done! Can I get anything done? Oh my gosh! I just wasted an hour doing nothing!” This is what I call ‘Silent Chaos’.

Who is Mr. Silent Chaos?

Last month, I was feeling Silent Chaos put his welcome mat on my doorstep. My health was a mess, my kid’s EOE flared up, our kitchen was being remodeled, we were living in our basement out of boxes, work was overwhelming, and we had this pandemic going on. Mr. Silent Chaos paralyzed me. I was pissed. Who and what is going on? As I peeled back the layer of this mess I clearly saw that the Enemy is going on. Satan is having a heyday with this pandemic mess we’re in and I’m actually more upset at myself for letting him set-up camp in my life. Do you hear me?

My go-to for cleaning my head out

When there is too much going on in my head I usually grab a piece of copy paper and write down ALL the things on my mind and categorize them in different departments. This way I can visually see what I have going on in there and I can come up with a game plan on how to tackle it. This technique usually does the trick, but this time I was still unsettled. Grr.

My enlightenment, who knew?

As I was listening to my daily devotional, the pastor talked about something that helped explain why I was feeling so overwhelmed. It was something I didn’t think of and that’s what I want to share with you.

Personal values do what?

Did you ever think personal values had a role in our serenity? I used to think personal values were like jewels in a black velvet bag; you learn them when you’re young and then carry them around with you. BUT don’t you dare get them out and use them because they’re valuable. Did I sure have that backward.

It had been a while since I opened my bag of personal values. Let’s face it, I’m an adult, and values are taught when we are children, right? Not so, those are morals. Morals are beliefs that are taught to us. Think of morals as “acceptable” acts. Parents usually teach morals to help a child determine what is right and wrong. Personal values come from within; they define what is important to us and help us make the right decisions that align with our heart. When personal values are used correctly we ultimately experience happiness with our decisions.

Ahem. There is no better time than now to review your personal values. For me and Mr. Silent Chaos, my personal values had to intervene to save the day, along with some Bible verses of course. When our values align with our decisions, life is SO much easier and happier.

Free Download from Simplify Firefly

How could something so simple have such a big impact?

The first week of school is a GREAT time to revisit our values. And that’s what I did, I took a minute and grabbed my values exercise and reviewed what I wrote down as my core values. During the exercise, I realized some values had changed and that was probably one of the causes of my chaotic feeling. When we understand WHY we’re making certain decisions, we understand ourselves better and can move forward by making the right decision for our sanity.

After my values exercise, my mind felt clearer and cleaner. It felt like getting new running shoes, I was ready to run hours on end. At this point, I could now go back and look at my paper where I wrote everything down and organize it according to my values.

If you’re at a point where ‘simplifying your life’ sounds like heaven, then sharpen your pencil. Chaos isn’t welcome in my home anymore. In fact, if I can keep myself in-line with my values and speak God’s word, then the enemy doesn’t have a foothold on me. Fight back with what the Lord put in you, use your personal values.

“If you watch your life, you’ll be amazed at how many times a week Satan launches an attack against you for the sole purpose of stealing your peace. When I finally saw that, God said to me in my spirit, “Joyce, if the devil wants your peace that badly, then there must be something pretty powerful about being peaceful.”

– Joyce Meyer

Download my personal values exercise now. Here are some great verses to fight off the enemy, I highly recommend memorizing these. Get full access to all my freebies here. Our world needs you to be your best to beat this beast of a year.

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

Stuck? 5 Essential Tools To Break Free

Stuck? 5 Essential Tools To Break Free

There is nothing worse than being stuck in life. The hard part is knowing you’re stuck and not being able to rock back n forth to break free from the mud. Stuck. Let me help push you out with five essential tools that have helped me gain traction.

My Lesson

In the autumn of 1998, I took a mountaineering class near Vail, Colorado. Back then I was a big outdoor girl hence the backpacking trip. This experience was awesome and changed the course of my life. But it also taught me something I didn’t expect.

My group consisted of eight people. The dynamics were a bit of a mishmash…many personalities, many opinions. What more can you ask for? Other than knowing you’ll be with these people for three weeks. During the course, we were given a variety of challenges on top of our normal survival tasks, which weren’t easy. We didn’t have coffee, a tent, or a fire! Filtered water, a tarp to sleep under, and a sleeping bag were what we got. I survived, but SO appreciate the comforts of my home.

A few challenges we embarked on were rock climbing, summiting a 12,500 ft. mountain, and we even learned how to do a survival search n’ rescue. On this particular day, our task was to follow a topographical map and use a compass to get to the next camp. Sounds simple, yet it was to be done without our guide and to not follow a trail. According to our instructors is was a six-hour trip. Easy peasy.

We got this, right?

The day started crisp yet sunny, things were looking good. However, the first snag we ran into, was the group dynamics. During our hike, each person was to take a turn to lead the group. Oh boy. You can only imagine. They should have added a rule for everyone to shut their mouth too! That wasn’t the worst of it though. After five hours into our trek, the sky began to darken. A bit of panic settled into some folks, including me. We’re in the mountains remember. I pointed out the dark clouds and no one said a word. We knew what was coming, we just didn’t know how powerful it would be.

Within minutes rain, hail, and wind pounded our bodies. We thought about stopping but that could cause us to get cold and maybe a little hyperthermic, a ‘no’ on that choice. It was hard to see and hear for that matter. The calm of quietness before the storm was no more. Exhausted from arguments, confusion, and complaining we all wanted to give up and signal our guides to find us. Our backpacks felt like cinder blocks and our feet were wet. We felt stuck. Looking forward looked bleak, and backward no different. We wanted to stay put and give up.

vision is a clear picture

When out of nowhere, someone yelled, “Come on Nina, hot drinks. Christy, dry socks. Seth, spaghetti!” As silly as this sounds, that person was genius. He rocked us from ‘stuck’ to ‘moving forward’, and all it took was a little visionary picture. We pictured ourselves eating a warm meal, sipping hot tea, and wearing dry socks. As we continued to hike, we kept talking about how good the spaghetti was going to taste and how cozy our feet would be in warm dry socks. This picture naturally encouraged us. Our attitudes shifted. We got along, laughed, and grew stronger. Two hours later we made it to camp. Our goal of being cozy became a reality. There was so much relief we made it through.

The power of the mind

Having a picture to focus on pulls us forward to break free from being stuck. The backpacking trip is a small example of what vision can do.

No matter how short or long, having a forward-thinking picture for our future is one of the keys to surviving in this complicated world, most importantly through our personal storms. Why? Because it’s the storms that have the greatest power to derail us, to distract us, and to make us want to quit. Which leads me to share with you how to simplify the process and to prevent being stuck.

5 essential tools to break free from being stuck

  1. Get focused.
    • Take a few minutes each day and think “big picture”. How are your decisions today going to affect tomorrow; and who will it impact? What is the one thing you absolutely want in life?
  2. Pray about it.
    • Ask God to help you see the big picture of your life. Most importantly in the storm, “Help me see beyond this storm. Help me to be strong, focused, and…yes…thankful no matter what.”
  3. Line your vision up with your values, passions, and strengths.
    • Ask yourself these questions: What is important to me? What do I love to do? Values play such a big role in our happiness.
  4. Talk with someone who understands your big picture or what you’re aiming for.
    • This is huge. Just talking with someone who genuinely listens and asks the right questions can be a game-changer. Contact me I’ll talk with you.
  5. Create a vision board or “Big Picture Board”
    • There is power in ‘seeing is believing’. This is a fun tool. Here’s a free guide.

In conclusion

Daniel Harkavy says, “Vision defines what you stand for, why you exist, and who you will become.” Having vision in a storm will not only get you through it, but it will make you stronger, wiser, and clearer about how to move forward.

This isn’t new news friends. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 to not put out the Spirit’s fire. Vision is bringing the picture out of our minds and hearts and experiencing it with our senses and neighbors.

Maybe all you need to do to get unstuck is to simplify the picture and aim for one thing at a time. For me, that was dry socks!

By CT Copyright © 2017 More Than Existence All Rights Reserved.

The Truth Behind “Can’t”.

The Truth Behind “Can’t”.

This post isn’t about a movie review; it’s about the message God put in my heart while watching this particular story. I had an epiphany and want to share it with you. With that said, may you find motivation and inspiration from the word “can’t”.

In 2018 the movie I Can Only Imagine debuted and has made over $85 million. The song I Can Only Imagine hit radio stations 19 years earlier. The movie is based on the true story of the songwriter, Bart Millard. When the movie came out, I personally thought it would be a boring movie. Two years later, I finally watched it and my emotional response shocked me.

Why did the movie grab me so much?

This past Sunday I was in a funk. We had just come off a 3-week vacation camping at a nearby campground…kudos to my husband who stayed there the entire duration, but for me? My busy brain came home now and then to get things done around the house, tend to appointments, and feel productive. It wasn’t until the last week I could finally sink into the vacation. Have you ever experienced something like that? I was actually mad I couldn’t submit to vacation. Anyway, I was grateful our trip was 3 weeks long, otherwise, I would have missed ‘vacation mode’.

My funk.

Since I did most of my chores while on vacation when we got back I didn’t have any motivation to do anything! In times like these I usually think about my blog, my creative projects, or simply go for a walk. But instead, I revisited my career path and asked myself hard questions; and frankly, I felt more lost than ever. It was a moment of dead space where you think about where you’ve been and where you want to go and feel you missed something. Ugh. Needless to say, I needed to escape and watch a movie.

As I was flipping through Hulu, my finger stopped at “I Can Only Imagine”. I vaguely remembered my family telling me it was a good movie and thought, what the heck; it’s Sunday, why not watch a Christian movie.   

From the beginning, I was into it. Multiple times through the movie I found myself getting emotional. My emotions were scattered and jumping from one character to another. One minute I was sad for Bart, and next I was upset about his mom in many ways. I was sad his dad was so confused and abusive. Then my heart ached for his dad when he was trying to figure out the Bible on his own. And then back to Bart of how he heard from God and pursued. But what was I really crying about?

The truth comes out

Deep emotions surfaced from my own past, and as I peered closer to the anchor which has kept me down, I saw a four-letter word written on it. Through my blurred teary eyes the word “can’t” became clear.

“You Can’t”

Throughout my life, I have heard “you can’t” from people I love and respect, from people I have trusted, and mostly myself. With ideas and dreams I’ve shared, I was hopeful for encouragement and instead got, “that’s silly”, “you know how hard you’d have to work?”, “you don’t want to do that”, “do you even qualify to do that?”… “you can’t”… these words not only were verbally spoken, but the Enemy whispered them in my ear too. They pretty much say, “don’t even try”.

Not only did I hear it from my family and friends, but I heard it on the media. “You can’t do that without this.” “You can’t lose weight without this system and support team.” And the list goes on.

To add more shine to the word “can’t”, my body was telling me I can’t! My digestive system got so messed up I’m unable to eat a “normal” diet. I actually have to think about what to order at a restaurant and make sure it’s safe for me to eat. Other aliments loitered and set up camp for months and then years crippling my ability to sit for long periods and walk without pain.

I was really starting to believe I couldn’t do the things I had ideas about. It felt like no one took me seriously or believed in me…even me. Do you know what that’s like?

When someone tells you it can't be done, it's more a reflection of their limitations, not yours.

Moving On

As I reflected on the movie and looked closer at the word “can’t” I realized something. You know how some people get motivated when other people tell them they can’t do something? Then you turn around and the next thing you know they’ve achieved that very dream someone told them they couldn’t do! From a Christian perspective take a look at the configuration of the word “can’t”. What do you see?

This movie showed me something I’ve missed for so many years. When you physically see how the letters of “can’t” are configured anything is possible with Jesus.

Simply by looking at the word “can’t” with merciful eyes helps us see life in a new light. Right now in my life, I am learning how to take the “can’ts” and give them to Jesus. This isn’t always easy, but it gives me the extra power to overcome and move forward. When I ask Him, He’ll give me the strength to sort through, persevere, and push on.

To get you started download my 30 favorite affirmations right now. And for more freebies head over to my freebies page and unlock numerous resources to get you moving forward.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, whether you’re a Christian or not, give it try, you may just experience a breakthrough.

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

5 Habits to Break free from Pressure

5 Habits to Break free from Pressure

Pressure, stress, and worry got the best of me; until I unexpectedly stumbled into a promising antidote. A couple of years ago I accidentally deleted my entire website. Yeah, ‘File Not Found’ stared at me in the eyes. My stress level went from a three to a hundred in a matter of milliseconds, to say the least. As a result, about 5 seconds later Worry settled in, and in a matter of 60 seconds, Pressure found it’s the trigger point.

woman stressed out at computer

Fix it, please

Furthermore, because I did my own website work, I couldn’t just call a web person and say, “Fix it please”. All this hard work…GONE. The “undo” button or back arrow was pointless in this case. I tried it. Do you ever have times like these? When you ask yourself, “Why did I just do that? Did that really happen?” Wishing there was an “undo” button?

It’s funny when these stressful mistakes occur and we believe for a split second, maybe it will go away and fix itself, or everything will go back to normal if I just close my eyes. Tell me I’m not the only one who thinks this.

Above all, what really put the icing on the cake was that this website disaster occurred right before bed. Like sleep was going to happen! My brain was fried. Knuckles locked. Fingertips deaden. The courage to push the keys on my keyboard was in deep jeopardy. As a result, when I did find the strength to push buttons, I immediately checked my backup. Well, guess what, it wasn’t working! My ears got hot and gut started to cramp. I needed help.

Just gotta vent

My husband was sleeping already…not that he knows anything about websites…but I needed someone by my side, to listen to my predicament. Through the years I’ve found healing when I talk to someone about an issue. When we “vent” it’s like we release the problem from our minds and put it out in the world for the world to figure out. Maybe the listener can relate to how to deal with the subject. I see “venting” as a pressure cooker. When there is too much pressure, we need to open the cap to let some steam out. Anyway…I needed to vent.

Believe me, many lessons learned here. But my biggest lesson I learned was the gift pressure gave me. Uh? With no one available, I folded my hands and closed my eyes tight, “God, I’m freaking out. I made a mistake and I’m not sure how to fix it. Please help me dig deep and figure this out.” And then I prayed again.

The size of my problem.

All I wanted to do was escape, to get out of the room, away from the keyboard. In the black of the night, I slide on my slippers, grabbed a towel and walked outside. The dark sky peppered with a twinkle. It was a welcoming reminder of how small my problem was and how big the world stands. “Was anyone else in their backyard stressing-out like me?

As I folded my towel into a neat square, I anticipated sitting on it to just be. The shadowy trees surrounded me, but not in an intimidating way. No bugs, no noises, just stillness. I watched my breath let go. The quietness blanketed my shoulders. The earthy air filled my nose. And I felt a peace embrace my soul. There at the moment was the gift.

man standing looking at night sky

Selective Perspective

The value of this stressful night revealed to me perspective. If I didn’t get stressed out, then I wouldn’t have prayed, I wouldn’t have felt the nudge to go outside, I wouldn’t have encounter nature in its nightly glory, and I wouldn’t have experienced the healing powers of my backyard.

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, spending even just five minutes around trees or in green spaces, like your backyard, helps lower blood pressure, reduces stress, improves mood, instills focus, accelerates healing, increases energy, and improves sleep.* And you wonder why I craved to get outside…

The article goes on to say, “Numerous studies show that… simply sitting looking at the trees reduces stress-related hormones.”

Focus on the calm

Consequently, I know this is hard, but when you encounter pressure or a stressful situation, I challenge you to focus on calming down immediately. In doing so; you will gain a better perspective of the issue and will respond in a wiser manner. After a good 15 minutes, I wasn’t worried anymore. Whether I had to start from scratch or come up with a different solution, it was going to be alright. I stood up, shook my towel out, and walked back inside. My feet slid out of my slippers and I went to bed.

My Take-Away: 5 Habits to Break Free from Pressure

  1. There are gems hidden in stress if you look for them outside the situation.
  2. Back-up everything that is important to you.
  3. Pray without ceasing.
  4. Go outside and take a breather.
  5. Rest to be your best.

The next morning, after a good night’s sleep, I got up extremely early to mend my mishap. With a well-rested body and mind, I was diligent to figure this out. Hence, venturing into the back-end of my website was scary but I succeeded and found an older back-up. Thank the Lord! Later that day I took a long walk amongst the trees while being grateful for my state of being.

By CT Copyright © 2019 More Than Existence, All Rights Reserved

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