Al-Anon describes alcoholism as a family disease. In fact, each alcoholic is said to affect five other people. Most of the time these are family members.
Our lives are so busy, sometimes it can feel hard to breathe. Add a person(s) recovering from addiction in the mix and we feel like we are drowning.
As moms, caregivers, possible codependents, we spend our days running around multi-tasking, doing endless errands, cooking and cleaning, working and taking care of our families and the household.
Doing all the things all the time without a break in sight can take a toll on your mental wellbeing. You may find yourself more emotional, irritable, or depressed. Plus, you may struggle to stay focused.
Healthwise, stress can trigger chemical reactions in your body and constant stress can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system. This can ultimately lead to illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.
Learning how to manage stress can help alleviate symptoms, prevent illness and addiction. Self-care in families in recovery is not selfish; it is self-preserving.
Stop Feeling Stressed
Here are six simple habits you can start practicing today to feel less stressed.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
Starting your day with simple prayers sets the tone to scare away stress. God welcomes us to cast our cares on Him. We can leave the anxiety of care for our loved ones on his shoulders.
Try three simple prayers–Help, Thank You, Wow.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
My life began to open up when I became grateful for my experience with addiction. Really? You might say Really! There was gratitude for the opportunity to learn more about myself, my relationships and God’s grace in healing me and my family.
There are so many good things we can be grateful for; but when our lives feel chaotic, it becomes hard to see them. Learning to make gratitude a practice rather than a response can help relieve daily stress.
Try every morning to think about one thing you find remarkable or beautiful. Think about the bright blue sky or a stunning sunrise. During the day, pick one way to express gratitude such as smiling at someone or letting someone get in front of you in line. At the end of the day, choose one thing you are thankful for such as a kiss from your partner or the 5 minutes you spent connecting with your child.
3) Sweat it out
Physical activity can increase the production of endorphins which are your brain’s feel-good chemicals. It’s the perfect way to de-stress and work out at the same time.
Try a long walk
Play outside with your kids
Dance along with an exercise video
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7
Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress. When you breathe deeply, you signal your brain to become calm and relax.
You can try this morning breathing technique. You start in a standing position and bend forward at the waist, letting your arms dangle freely. As you return to standing, inhale slowly and deeply, rolling up one vertebra at a time–breathe all your air out (repeat a total of 5 times).
Laughing at difficult situations lightens the burdens, and releases the tension. Recovery comes with a lot of trial and errors. Laughing at our mistakes takes the edge off them for the whole family.
Similar to exercise, laughter bumps up the release of endorphins in your body and promotes a general sense of wellbeing. It also decreases stress hormones and strengthens your immunity.
Try: If you’re feeling stressed, take a couple of minutes to look up a joke to share with the family at dinner.
6. Eat minerals
Ever heard of the Daniel Plan? The prophet Daniel chose his food wisely. By doing this, he not only served God; he was recognized by the rules of the country in which he was held captive.
Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. Daniel 1:11-14
Captured and brought to a strange country, somehow Daniel knew that eating all the rich food would leave him feeling stressed.
Daniel choose foods rich in minerals such as zinc and magnesium which can reduce anxiety and irritability.
Try eating foods like greens and seeds regularly; these can provide essential nutrients. Pumpkin, flax and chia seeds plus spinach, kale, bok choy and cabbage are great additions to a healthy diet.
Feeling Stressed Check Your Diet
Man! I sure feel better when I stop eating junk–try slowing down on the processed foods. You can add a few of these above items to your diet when you feel stressed about an issue in your family.
Keep a mental journal of how you feel after eating a big meal, a sugary meal or a meal with a lot of processed foods. See if this spikes the stressed-out feelings you get during the day?
Making a Change for Peace
Jesus said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” John 14:27
When you are feeling stressed try incorporating one of these six simple habits into your routine. Go seek a few minutes with Jesus to relieve stress as you work through difficult issues in recovery. Maybe you can even pick two to try this week.
What do you do to relieve stress? Let me know in the comments.