How to Detox Holistically

Because we are connected – body, mind and spirit – what affects one part of us affects the whole. During a recent Intensive workshop at GateWay, we talked about the process of detoxing the body, the mind and the spirit.

Detox the Body – presented by Lorraine Oberholtzer, RD, LD

Numerous methods are available for a chemical and physical detox of the body, but each of us has to know what is good for our own body. The idea of a healthy and effective detox is to free the body from anything that may be causing physical stress.

The best detox involves a two-pronged approach:

  1. Remove toxins
  2. Strengthen the body’s own defense mechanism

Toxin removal may include water filters, air filters, fasting from certain foods, buying organic foods, avoiding GMOs, cooking more meals at home and avoiding food additives.

Most toxin removal begins by reducing inflammatory foods such as processed sugars, dairy and gluten products.

We can begin to detox the body by simply eating less. This lightens the load on the digestive system and the all-important gut which contains immune strengthening properties.

Other important tips include:

  • Drink more water
  • Add a good probiotic
  • Increase the omega 3s with fish oil, salmon, mackerel, tuna and trout
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Choose healthy fats such as coconut oil, nuts, avocados and extra virgin olive oil
  • Increase exercise time and fiber consumption

Detox the Mind – presented by Kiersten Adkins, LPC, MA, Exec Dir of Pathway to Hope

The way we think determines our behaviors and can also affect us spiritually and physically. The mind truly regulates the flow of energy and information we receive and pass onward.

As we become more comfortable with who we are, our mental health is underscored by fulfilling relationships, well-being, healthy energy and a more impactful life.

Our basic functions such as eating, sleeping and breathing affect the feeling parts of the brain which also determine how we think about ourselves and our lives.

So our behavior is determined by how we emotionally respond to a situation. If we continue to think about something negative and feed that negativity, we will respond negatively. This can lead to self-sabotage and additional stress – which also affects the body.

Our goal, mentally, is to reduce the chaos and stress and become a more balanced, synchronized individual. The idea of balance, aka moderation, can help keep our emotions in a more steady, healthy place rather than swinging all over the place from despair to disgust to shame to fear then back to happiness and joy.

Some of the important questions to ask ourselves include:

  • Am I mindful of myself?
  • Who am I made to be?
  • What am I going to be?
  • How will I achieve this goal?
  • When will this happen?
  • Why will I invest myself in this goal?

As we determine to be proactive with our minds, we protect ourselves from emotional bankruptcy. Then, a healthy mind leads to a healthy spirit.

Detox of the Spirit – presented by Rebecca Thesman, CLC, BSE, GateWay Program Director and Life Coach

We know we need a detox of the spirit when we are out of alignment with God. For some women, that means they will feel directionless, unable to pray and/or feel as if they have no peace.

One way to return to alignment with God is to focus more on him than on ourselves and our problems. Keeping a gratitude journal is an effective way to discipline ourselves for more thankfulness.

But we also need to detox ourselves away from harmful attitudes such as:

  • Self-doubt – based on fear and focused on the “I can’t” or the “I’ll never” statements
  • Self-sabotage – when we procrastinate or feel paralyzed with no joy
  • Stress – when our energy is drained and we no longer set healthy boundaries
  • Settling – for what we don’t truly want – for what is second best

Some practical tips to help us avoid these dangerous “S” words might include:

  • Ignore the “shoulds” – when other people or even our own minds try to “should” us into doing something we don’t want to do
  • Set healthy boundaries, especially around the things that drain our energy
  • Plan for a day of play and/or a special retreat away from everything
  • Fast from anything that takes us away from God
  • Increase more of the stress-relieving activities: coloring, singing, walking
  • Remember we are made in the image of God – body, mind and spirit
  • Pay attention to the inner nudges of the Holy Spirit
  • Realize who we really are and appreciate our true value

As we work on these issues, we can move into more balance with our bodies, our minds and our spirits. Then we will be healthier and able to use our giftings to impact the world and make a difference.

©2017 GateWay of Hope – Hope, Healing and Wholeness for Women

Hope Sets Healthy Boundaries

Isn’t it interesting how we can tell others what to do but not apply that same wisdom to ourselves?

In my life coaching ministry at GateWay, I often ask women, “What are you doing for fun?” We track their progress and talk about the importance of setting healthy boundaries.

Sometimes we refer to an emotional boundary as setting a fence around the heart. fence-autumn

Likewise with my writing clients. I may ask, “What are you doing for an artist date?”

They tell me about roaming through bookstores, writing morning pages at a quirky and fun coffee shop or choosing a new journal.

Terrific success for my coaching clients. Not such a good job by their coach.

I find it increasingly difficult to schedule artist dates and/or find some time for fun in my busy schedule. Am I too busy? Yes. How can I remedy that? Hmm.

One of my friends recently asked me, “What are you doing for Rebecca?”

I had to stop and think about that question, because we often define fun as something we do that costs money.

But I need to consider other things that are just as relaxing and important for me – activities that cost little or nothing. Fun might include playing the piano, banging out chords that help release some of the pressures of a stressful day.

Walking through crunchy leaves or strolling through colorful chrysanthemums at a garden store. These joys remind me of the creator and how he blesses us with an autumn Kansas.

Other possibilities for fun:

  • An occasional movie
  • Watching the baseball playoffs with my son
  • Jayhawk basketball and OU football
  • Pulling out my coloring book and finding a quiet moment on the deck
  • Singing
  • A new color of fingernail polish
  • The turquoise and corals of a Kansas sunset
  • A haircut
  • One of the autumn craft shows
  • A new journal or reading through the old one with an attitude of praise

These are some of the things that bring me joy, however I need to work harder at getting away and forcing myself to relax. Is that an oxymoron? Forced relaxation?

Even now, I feel the need for some time away to reboot my soul and refresh that creative spirit in me.

I write better after a break when I feel more energized to connect sentences that form paragraphs, outline chapters and introduce new characters to the world.

So I need to be more proactive about using my time off. I need to actually schedule a writing retreat and a personal sabbatical – wherever and whenever I can – soon.

As 2017 approaches, I need to discipline myself to do the same thing I ask of my clients – to find that special place of inner rest, to plan an artist date, to find my own creative boundaries.

Hope asks accountability of others but also demands spiritual nourishment of the self. Even as I help others, I need to do a better job finding myself and define that fence around my heart.

Anyone else want to join me in the search?

©2016 GateWay of Hope – repost of RJThesman.net.

Why We Should Slow Down

Whoops… I did it again.Molly Totoro

I was about 95% recovered from my January accident, when I tripped over the dog in the kitchen and broke my right shoulder.

We sat down to an Italian anti-pasta dinner and a glass of Chianti, but I decided we needed plates. I hopped up from the table, took two steps towards the cabinet, tripped and fell.

In hindsight, we did not need the plates.

I love symmetry, but this was ridiculous. The break was almost identical to the shoulder break in my left arm. The second I went down, I knew I had done it again. I didn’t hear a pop, I didn’t feel the break, I just knew this was the worst possible déjà vu.

Fortunately, I wasn’t home alone. My son helped me off the floor and into the car. We drove to the ER just like we did five months ago.

While waiting for the inevitable news, I asked him, “What could I have done differently?”

His first comment was kind and consoling: it was just an accident. Then he thought for a moment and added, “Maybe you could’ve slowed down.”

Two weeks later, those words continue to ring in my ears. Out of the mouths of babes they say. They are right. My son was right. I need to slow down.

I have studied time management for years. I am an organized person by nature, and addicted to busyness. “I don’t know how she does it all,” is the highest compliment.

My daily challenge is to complete as much as possible in as little time as possible. Efficiency is the name of the game.

It wasn’t all that long ago, a decade perhaps, that I was in the thick of life. I was a full-time teacher, a full-time parent to three teenage kids, the caregiver of my aging mother. My day began at 5 AM and I collapsed in bed around 11 PM.

Nearly every minute of every day was filled with responsibility. I could barely take a step without looking at my planner. I felt as though my life were a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle. My planner provided the guidance to fit each piece.

I wouldn’t run an errand, even take a trip upstairs, without taking the time to consider if I could combine activities for greater efficiency. Life was hectic, and my brain was on constant high alert.

Old habits die hard.

I am retired now. We are officially empty-nesters. I am no longer the caregiver to aging parents. Yet I still strive to be as efficient as possible. My planner is still my guide.

When I stood up from the table to get those plates, I was in a hurry. It was time to eat and I had to keep to the schedule.

Be efficient, Molly. Get it done, Molly. Don’t dillydally.

In reality, how much time did I save? One second? Five?

I’ve been looking at life all wrong. It is not the time I save that matters.

It is the time I savor that is important.

No one cared about the plates but me. We could have eaten without them. I could have taken my time to bring them to the table, and no one would have thought less of me. The meal would not have been ruined. The relationships would still be strong. And I would not be out of breath and mentally exhausted.

How much of life have I missed by rushing around trying to complete the tasks on my to-do list?

I find satisfaction in checking off the task rather than joy in doing the task itself. In fact, I’ve been known to add tasks to my list just so I can check them off.

stress - relaxWhat do I gain by living life in a constant horror of motion?

I may accomplish much, but at what cost? The accident taught me this frenetic lifestyle is harmful — physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

It is time to get off the self-made roller coaster. I can no longer believe the lie that busyness is next to godliness.

Busyness, in fact, robs me of God’s peace.

There will always be chores to do, responsibilities to accept, and people to serve. God has equipped us to accomplish His purpose. But He has also given us adequate time to complete that purpose.

Each day is a gift from the Lord, and He desires we find joy and beauty in every moment. We can’t do that if we treat life as a sprint, rather than a marathon.

It is time to slow the pace: stroll a little, linger a while, take a few extra moments to savor the joy in the everyday. Saving a few extra seconds is not worth the sacrifice.

©2016 Molly Totoro for GateWay of Hope

Molly Totoro is a writer who has a heart and passion for authentic living. She firmly believes “Everyone has a story to share.” Molly helps others write their stories to impact future generations. Follow Molly’s new blog series, “How to Journal” at Revising Life after 50.

How to Be a Martha

For those of us who are the Type A-git-er-done women, the passage comparing Martha and Mary can be a problem.stress - relax

In the book of Luke, Jesus is visiting in Martha’s home. That description itself is a clue for what is to come.

This was Martha’s home. She wasn’t living in her brother Lazarus’s home with her sister, Mary. This was her place and they lived with her. So either she was a wealthy widow who inherited the house and the grounds or she was a hard worker and wisely invested her money.

Martha was a woman who knew how to get things done.

In the Luke 10:38-42 passage, Jesus travels to Bethany and Martha opens her home to him. Obviously, she also had the gift of hospitality, and she knew Jesus was an important figure in her culture. She became a disciple and a follower of Jesus.

Because she knew who He was, she wanted everything to go smoothly. She probably ordered her servants to bring the best wine. She planned a generous meal with some extra treats – something she knew Jesus would love. She made sure the house was clean and in order for this important guest. She changed into her best tunic and fixed her hair, slipped on her best sandals and probably spritzed some type of aromatic oil on her skin. She was ready to meet the Messiah.

Because she was an organizer and a planner, she wanted everything to be just right. But her sister, Mary, wasn’t helping much. Mary was spending her time listening to Jesus teach. She was right in the middle of all the guys, sitting at the feet of Jesus and learning all she could. For a woman, in her culture, it was a gift to be included in this special teaching moment.

Then Luke records what happened next, “Martha was distracted – anxious and worried – by all the preparations” (Luke 10:40). She wanted Jesus to tell Mary to come help her.

Jesus reminded Martha he didn’t really need anything, and her worries were keeping her from the most important part of the day – listening to him teach. He reminded Martha that Mary had chosen well and he would not take that choice away from her.

Several important points can be taken from this passage:

  • Jesus is including women as disciples who can learn from him.
  • Mary recognizes this gift and takes advantage of it.
  • Martha is caught up in the worries of making everything perfect for Jesus.
  • Perfectionism is not how we honor God.
  • It isn’t Martha’s work ethic that’s the problem here – it’s her lack of balance.

Sometimes Martha is used as an example of a woman who is more concerned with the work and the appearance of her home than Mary – who is content to just sit and listen to Jesus.

Sometimes Martha – and women like her – are shamed for being hard workers.

It’s not the work ethic that’s the problem. It’s the fact that Martha has become worried, anxious and distracted.

It isn’t wrong to be a planner and an organizer. In fact, without planners, much of the world’s business would never be completed.

It isn’t wrong to care about our homes and to make fabulous meals for our friends and family.

It isn’t wrong to be efficient in our work and do our best.

The problem comes when we’re stressed, overwhelmed and can’t get anyone to help us. That’s when we’re too tired to sit down for a talk with Jesus.

Finding the balance in life is the one of the most important things we can do for our mental, emotional, spiritual and even physical health.

Stress is a killer and when we don’t set healthy boundaries around our time – the world and other people will take advantage of our work ethic.

Check out this article on the effects of stress on the body.

Even something that sounds good can be an over-the-top-stressor and we need to say, “No.”

So let’s not vilify Martha, but let’s learn from her experience.

Let’s organize our time wisely so we CAN do our work effectively. But let’s also make time for joy, for some fun and for that special time with the One who loves us most.

©2016 GateWay of Hope – Hope, Healing and Wholeness for Women

How to Interpret the Proverbs 31 Woman

All women need hope

She is held up as the perfect standard for women everywhere – this incredible female who keeps her family together, works outside the home, keeps her husband happy and is respected by the entire community.

Many of us stressed-out ladies tend to avoid studying Proverbs 31. We know we can’t measure up to this biblical powerhouse and we don’t want to.

But maybe we’ve believed a lie.

Maybe King Lemuel, the writer of this proverb, didn’t intend for us to think we have to be this kind of woman every day for the rest of our lives.

And if good old Lem wrote this proverb as a quote from his mother – which is the indication in scripture – then maybe she’s making an important point.

She’s actually telling Lemuel to be careful about the relationships he builds with women and to look for a woman of noble character.

Then she lists some of the qualities of that woman – not telling us we all have to be this type of woman all the time. In fact, during different seasons of life, our focus may be on the family and the husband – but in another season – we’ll focus on the workplace or a type of ministry.

Surely Lemuel’s mother understood how we women need to set boundaries around our hearts and our lives so that no one takes us for granted and we don’t find ourselves stressed out emotionally, physically or spiritually.

What if Lemuel’s mother told him the following:

“Listen, son – pay attention to the women you’re dating. A woman of noble character is worth more than any amount of money.

“Look for a woman who knows what she’s good at and uses her talents and gifts well.

“Find a woman who either likes to cook or knows how to buy healthy pre-packaged stuff.

“A woman who can budget money well is valuable. She’ll help with the household monies and she might even buy herself some land.

“Hopefully, she’ll be a woman in good health, but if not – then be sure you help her out and you treat her with compassion.

“Support her gifts. If she likes to sew, buy her the best sewing machine. If she likes to knit or crochet, make sure she has the best yarns. If she likes clothes, give her a gift card to Saffee’s.

“A noble woman will research ways to be a better parent and wife, but she’ll also take care of herself. She’ll make sure she has friendships outside the home. Coffee with girlfriends is important.

“Listen when she talks, because women of character speak with wisdom.

“If she wants to work outside the home and even if she is gifted to be a leader – then let her do that. God has created her to use her gifts, so support her in them.

“Treat her with honor, cherish her all your life and be faithful to her. She’s obviously a fabulous woman.”

Maybe Lemuel’s mother was trying to make the point that women can do a variety of things, but WHO they are is most important.

So let’s not draw a box around ourselves and think we have to be superwomen or that we need to follow this Proverbs 31 woman to the land of stress.

Use the gifts you have and the time you have for whatever season you’re in right now.

For a humorous take on the Proverbs 32 man, check out this Facebook post by James Watkins:

https://www.facebook.com/ipastor52?fref=nf&pnref=story.

©2016 GateWay of Hope – Hope, Healing and Wholeness for Women

How to Counteract Stress

We all experience it in some form or another and sometimes – we actually expect it. Within our busy lives, we expect to meet some version of stress.depressed woman

Stress usually makes itself known as we react to it. We yell at the kids, kick the dog, scream into our pillows and tear old love letters into pieces. We write long passages in our journals, comfort ourselves with a half-gallon of Rocky Road ice cream and promise ourselves that we’ll never, ever do whatever it is that has caused the stress – again.

And even if we manage to take a refreshing vacation, soak in a lavender bath or finish off that half-gallon of ice cream – stress can reappear. We can learn how to manage it and find some relief, but living with stress on a long-term basis can be downright dangerous.

At GateWay of Hope, we deal with the issues of women in a holistic atmosphere. We know that emotional stress can cause physical illness and spiritual apathy. Studies have suggested that prolonged stress may be a factor in certain cancers or the onset of early dementia and Alzheimer’s. And stress can cause a number of joint ailments, headaches, stomach and digestive issues as well as affecting our social relationships.

In our American society, we focus on productivity. We work hard, play hard, exercise hard and expect our bodies to keep up with the demands. Talk to a woman who has flamed out from stress and she will tell you – it’s not worth it. Yet most of us continue to do whatever we can to keep up with all the busyness, sometimes not even realizing what we’re doing to ourselves – until it’s too late.

As insidious as stress can be, it can also lead to burnout – which is even more dangerous. Burnout often manifests as numbing. We’ve become so stressed by a toxic relationship that we no longer have feelings. Or we’ve worked so hard and so long, we can no longer think clearly and lose a job. Or we withdraw and isolate ourselves, wrapping our souls in a false sense of comfort that may lead to depression. Check out some of the signs and symptoms of burnout.

So what can we do to counteract stress?

At GateWay of Hope, we have several ideas:

  • Boundaries – this summer we’ll offer a class called “Beyond Boundaries.” Register now by calling 913.393.GATE (4283).
  • Group relationships – it helps to share with other women who are feeling the same type of stress.
  • Counseling – check out our website  for the counselor you would like to see.
  • Coaching – move over those obstacles that are causing stress and march forward in life.
  • Pay attention to your body – it will often tell you about stress, so listen and learn.
  • Break unhealthy habits – what can you do to eliminate some of the stress?
  • Set realistic goals – perfectionism often causes an increase in stress. Be realistic and practical but at the same time, reach for your dreams.
  • Develop new and healthy relationships – any time we’re in a toxic relationship, it causes stress. Check out the book “Safe People” by Cloud and Townsend.
  • The Serenity Room – we have a special room at GateWay of Hope where women can come to de-stress, spend some time journaling, read a book and/or pray. Our sign-up calendar is in our front entry.
  • Journaling – we’re beginning another journaling class in April. You can register now by calling 913.393.GATE (4283).

All of us deal with some type of stress, but we can learn how to counteract some of its effects. Let us know if we can help you find some peace and protect yourself from too much stress.

©2016 GateWay of Hope – Transforming the lives of women to create new legacies

How to Determine More or Less in 2016

Statistics show that most New Year’s Resolutions have already been broken.Coaching - where you're headed

We begin, determined to exercise more, eat less sugar and move toward new goals – then something happens. We realize how much we don’t WANT to change. Or we finally accept the fact that change requires some stretching and sometimes stretching hurts.

Rather than focus on resolutions, let’s pare the subject down to More and Less. Then, to make it even easier to manage – let’s focus on just one month – February.

This is how it works…

During February, I want to do MORE:

  • More exercise / week – any type of movement counts as exercise. Even walking in place while you’re watching TV is a type of exercise. Parking farther out in the parking lot and walking the increased distance counts as more exercise.
  • More fun activities – schedule fun into your life by including it on your planner or weekly events page. Set a timer on your phone, “Go browse through a consignment shop.” Determine to color on a certain day of the week. Take yourself to a movie and yes – buy the popcorn. Find time in February to do something fun.
  • More inner reflection – we can all learn from listening to our inner Spirit and spending more time with inner reflection. Journal more frequently. It doesn’t have to be every day, but how about once / week – maybe on Sundays? Write down how you want 2016 to look, what some of your visions are for this year and how you will feel when you see those visions come to pass.

Check out this website which gives you a daily devotion: http://www.daily-devotions.net/. As we focus on the inner self, think about what the Bible teaches about the spiritual life and how important it is for our total health.

Think about the things you want to focus MORE on during February. Then take a look at the things you want to do LESS of in February.

  • Less sugar – most of us can eliminate a bit of sugar from our diets without feeling deprived. February is a difficult month to consider this idea – with all the Valentine’s candy in the stores. But we can save one day of the month for our sugar and chocolate fix, then determine to eat less during the other days of February.
  • Less negative self-talk – it’s easy to mentally put ourselves down, especially using those negative shoulds.  “I should have been more effective at that meeting.”   “I should have paid more attention to my children / my spouse / my family.”  “I should have been a better housekeeper, cook, teacher….”

Mental put-downs often focus on past behaviors and keep us from moving forward. We feel paralyzed in the fears that we’re going to repeat bad choices and everything will turn out awful. Not true.

We can turn the negative self-talk into something positive by admitting, “I am enough.” “I am not responsible for how other people think.” “I’m doing the best I can today as I let go of the past.”

Sometimes we need help with those negative voices. At GateWay of Hope, we have counseling, coaching and support groups to help you move past those lies and focus on the truth.

  • Less stress – by setting boundaries, we can eliminate some of the “I should do this” activities in our lives and focus on what is really important to us. In the More list, we included more fun activities. We can’t have that fun if we’re stressed out with too many activities. Attend a “Boundaries” class at GateWay, order one of the Cloud and Townsend books and begin to set healthier limits around your life.

Try the More and Less goal-setting plan for the month of February. Then let us know if we can help you with any of your goals. Let’s make February one of the best months of the year.

©2016 GateWay of Hope – Hope, Healing and Wholeness for Women

Hope Stored in Heaven

“Our marriage was made in heaven, but so was thunder and lightning.”heaven - by Web Design Hot

The tapestry on the pillow said it well.  Forever the funny man, it was a gift from my husband for our anniversary. Meant to be a joke, it still rang true.

Naively entering a business deal early in our marriage pushed us to the brink of bankruptcy. Dreams of becoming millionaires by age thirty were shattered and replaced with anxiety, stress and depression.

I wanted out; out of marriage, out of life. In fact I remember praying that I would have a mental breakdown, so I could escape the pressures of our circumstances. Instead, I had an encounter with God and I was saved.

I attended church all my life and would say that I believed in God. But it wasn’t until I realized I was a sinner in need of a savior that I came to know him in a personal way. It wasn’t until we had nothing that I gained everything. And it wasn’t until I surrendered, that I won the battle with depression and anxiety. Surrendering my life to the creator and sustainer of life was a game changer for me.

We’ve certainly experienced our share of storms in the thirty plus years of marriage. Wayward children, financial crisis, lifestyles altered by health issues, not to mention the everyday stresses that can wear on a marriage.

As I look back, I find one constant in all the stress, changes and heartaches; hope. Hope for emotional healing, hope for change in circumstances, hope for my future. Colossians 1:5 reminds us that hope is stored up for us in heaven.

When Jesus rose from the dead he went back to heaven to live. Ever wonder what he’s doing there? According to the Bible, he is praying for us.

“Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:34).

Imagine, the savior of the world prays for you.

So ask him to fill you with hope; for your circumstances, your emotional health and your future. Jesus gives hope that is secure – hope as an anchor for the storms of life. Hang onto Jesus and you hang onto hope. When you have hope, you can Hang Onto Possible Endings.

Even in the middle of thunder and lightning.

©2015 Cindy Richardson

Cindy Richardson began in women’s ministry twenty five years ago through her local MOPS group. She seeks to encourage, challenge, and inspire women in their journey of hope through Bible study, speaking and writing. Cindy weaves God’s truth and shares her faith with kindergartners at St. Joseph Christian School. Residing in St. Joseph, Missouri with her husband Tom, she enjoys the friendship of her three grown daughters and loves being Nana to six grandchildren. Visit richardson.cindy@outlook.com for more inspiration.

Photo Attribution: Web Design Hot

 

 

 

 

 

How to Recognize Stress

For some of us, stress is easy to recognize. We feel a sense of overwhelm, and we know we need to either change our direction or move away from the source of the problem.screaming woman

But sometimes, stress sneaks up on us and we may not recognize it so readily. That’s when we can check out these symptoms:

  •   I’m exhausted yet I can’t sleep.

When you know you’re tired and you catch yourself saying, “I’m so tired.” You may be stressed.

When you lie down at night but your mind is racing with a million things to do, you may be reacting to stress.

  • I keep forgetting things.

This is a scary place to be, because sometimes our minds immediately go to, “Is it Alzheimer’s? Is it dementia? Oh God – I hope not!”

It probably isn’t something as drastic as a brain problem. When you forget where you’ve laid your keys or you can’t pull up someone’s name – it may simply be an overload of stress.

Sometimes, all you need is a day off.

  • I keep getting sick.

Stress can affect the immune system and leave us vulnerable to the germs and bacteria all around us. If you’re constantly fighting a cold, you may be stressed.

Stress is particularly adept at attacking digestive issues. When your stomach feels wound in knots and/or you’re visiting the bathroom every thirty minutes – your body may be reacting to additional stress.

The best way to remedy this symptom is to rest. Force yourself to take a day off from work. Find a quiet place to rejuvenate. Drink lots of water and eat veggies.

  • I’m self-medicating.

Have a craving for chocolate? Ice cream? Potato chips? Just started a nice bottle of Merlot and now it’s empty?

Stress can often chase us toward some type of coping mechanism and usually, these aren’t the healthiest choices.

So if you’re mindlessly eating or drinking, if you’re compulsively buying more clothes than you need, if you’re searching for any type of self-medication – you may be stressed.

  • I’m overly emotional.

As women, we tend to think and react emotionally, but when we find ourselves overly emotional – crying at the simplest things – we may be stressed.

Tears are an important release and we often need to cry, to unload some of the pressure and/or to grieve in a healthy way.

But if you find yourself crying at every commercial or yelling at someone who doesn’t deserve it – check the stresses of your life.

These are some of the possible symptoms, and the ways we deal with stress may determine how we overcome the root of it.

So be aware of how stress may be affecting you. And when it seems to overwhelm you, read a Psalm, phone a friend or contact us at GateWay of Hope.

We can help.

©2015 GateWay of Hope

Watch Out for Stress

Most of us know when we are stressed-out. We feel overwhelmed and tense or we have a great desire to just run away – anywhere!screaming woman

Sometimes stress manifests in our bodies with tense shoulder muscles, headaches or digestive ailments.

Did you know that insomnia or the desire to sleep too much are also signs of stress?

Teeth grinding, skin rashes, heart palpitations and reduced productivity are all indications that our bodies need a rest or a change of scenery.

Our bodies cannot tell the difference between real or imagined threats. So if we are stressed-out with anxieties, our bodies will react just as if we are faced with unemployment or a life-threatening illness.

The minor annoyances of life contribute just as much to stress disease as major life traumas. We tend to face major traumas with more endurance, ask for prayer and believe God will help us. But then a glass full of milk spills during supper and we scream.

Sometimes all it takes is a little spilled milk, a flat tire or a broken fingernail to send us over the edge.

So how should we deal with stress?

First, realize that life on this earth is going to involve some stress. Nobody’s life is completely perfect. Even the richest, most beautiful people sometimes get zits.

Second, pay attention to the signs of stress and don’t ignore how serious they are.

Third, be proactive in dealing with stress.

• Rest. Find a way to relax. Schedule a massage.

• Go somewhere for a brief getaway. Even a one day trip or a two-hour shopping excursion might help.

• Take care of yourself. Eat well. Sleep at least eight hours each night. Eat dark chocolate.

• Use your journal. Whether you do a webbing or write long paragraphs, let your stress escape onto the page.

• Read Scripture. Start with the Psalms in The Living Bible paraphrase.

When we remind ourselves of the dangers of stress, we take better care of our bodies and ultimately our souls.

What are some ways you deal with stress?

©2014 GateWay of Hope – The Helping Place for Hurting Women