Few things stop you in your tracks like a flat tire. Several weeks ago, I went out to my car, list in hand, ready to tackle the day. The orange warning light on my console let me know that my plans were on hold. My husband took my car in and a large nail was lodged in my tire – slowly allowing the air to leak out. Deflated! The tire shop patched it for free, but recommended that we replace with new. Hoping to avoid the cost, we decided to wait.
How often are we faced with “warning lights” in our life? We seem fine, then we are snapping at a family member over the dirty dishes in the sink (the dishwasher is right there!). Is it really about the dishes? Maybe we are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, but trying to ignore those feelings and that was just one more thing on our plate. We look like we have it together on the outside but are slowly losing air. Unfortunately, anxiety often builds if left unchecked.
Last week as I was leaving for work, I was once again faced with that warning light and a change of plans. The free patch failed and my quick fix didn’t last long!
We think we can ignore a problem or attempt a short-term solution and believe everything is ok. Now we are lashing out at whoever is unfortunate enough to come near us. It’s not really about the dishes or “insert trigger here” (Am I the only one who does anything around here?). Built up stress and anxiety can leave us gasping for air. Trying to ignore or push it down only makes it worse for us and those around us. Time to put in some work!
Here are a few coping strategies from the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America):
- Take a time out – pray, read, have a cup of your favorite warm beverage
- Eat well balanced meals – it doesn’t have to be fancy but fresh is good
- Get enough sleep – make a routine for a good night’s rest
- Exercise daily – even 15 minutes of yoga or a quick walk can do wonders
- Take deep breaths – really filling your lungs and getting a good cleansing breath is restorative
- Do your best – progress not perfection
- Accept that you cannot control everything – hard for us all, I get it
- Welcome humor – laughing is one of the best ways to change a mood
- Talk to someone – call a friend you trust
My husband took my car back to the shop and got two new tires. It was expensive and time consuming but now the problem is fixed!
Life is a work in progress. Two steps forward and one step back, but what is important is to keep moving. Sometimes the warnings catch us off guard, we think that the work is done and we are in the clear just to be stopped in our tracks again…
Then a few days ago, the dreaded light was on again. (Seriously?!?)
When things start to feel stressful, don’t give up hope. Stop – breathe – reach out for help! We don’t have to do face it alone.
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Philippians 4:6-7 The Message