Reducing Stress — Take a Look at Your Activities
Shopping, exercise, and religion are things that can relieve stress or add to it. You need to choose what benefits you the most.
It’s a stressful time of year. And even if it wasn’t, life can be stressful.
Today, Black Friday, as it's been called, is a prime example. For reasons of tradition or for the monetary advantage of saving a few bucks, thousands of people headed to the stores in the wee hours this morning.
I’ve only done this twice in my life, both a long time ago. Why? Because it was stressful for me. How did I know it was stressful? I didn’t enjoy it. I stopped doing it and am happier without going. I can save a few bucks in other ways with much less angst.
In talking to one of our sons yesterday, he revealed that he is finally enjoying going to the YMCA. His membership is less than a month old but he said that the first few times he went he was stressed about going. He was new, learning new routines, visiting a building he hadn’t been to since his own swimming lessons twenty-four years ago. This caused him stress. He was going to de-stress, not add more stress to his life. Finally, he got to the point where he was enjoying it. Now the de-stressing can begin. He stuck with it long enough for that to happen.
The act of going to the YMCA to exercise usually brought me stress, too. It never fit in with my schedule and always became harder and harder to keep going. Now, although I’m still not great at keeping an exercise routine, I know that attending a class — aerobics, pilates, etc. — is not the right thing for me, personally. If it works for you — great! Taking a walk in the woods or even through the prairie grasses is a better fit for me.
But sometimes you can stick with an activity for years, have it be stressful, and still keep doing it. Because you think you SHOULD — even though you know it’s causing you stress instead of relieving that stress.
Going to church was like this for me. When I was a child, I enjoyed church. I liked the music, the predictability of the service, the people, and the camaraderie.