‘What stresses me? How about weight, cancer, and kids. And, oh yeah, bank robbers.
Other than my husband what causes me stress is just the stuff of life. Will there be enough money? What is coming? Keeping up with the Joneses causes me stress especially when the Joneses can’t even keep up with themselves.
For 22 years I worked in a bank. One morning at about 10:50 a man entered the bank wearing a balaclava, pointed a gun in my face, and told me that he wanted all the money. I watched the tellers on either side of me hit the floor. I thought to myself, “I’m wearing a new dress and if I get blood on this dress, I’m going to be really angry.”
You do what you’re trained to do.
You give him the money. He didn’t have a bag so as he was trying to stuff it down his shirt, I said I’ll get you a bag. I just wanted to get him out of there. That’s what you’re trained to do. Don’t try to be a hero. Get rid of him.
Someone said to me you must have been praying. I told her there wasn’t any time to pray. When you give your life over to God you don’t know what you’re going to face every day. None of us do. So, you believe that God is for you, that God will protect you. I had a calm confidence and assurance that Jesus was with me, and I really had no reason to be afraid. I went to bed that night and slept.
I’m grateful not to have that experience scar my life forever and to be able to move on.
Being diagnosed with cancer was another stressor. The very word cancer puts fear in your heart. To live in the in between of the diagnosis and treatment plan. Dealing with cancer doesn’t happen overnight.
So, there are days, weeks, maybe months where you’re just waiting. That is stressful. But you let your mind and your heart be at peace once again because you know that God has got this.
Chips and Moms
How do I deal with stress? Chips. I eat my stress. I’ve never met a chip I didn’t like except for roast chicken chips. Nobody should eat roast chicken chips.
There have been multiple stress relievers throughout different stages in my life. When my boys were younger, I was part of a Bible study with young moms. That was an opportunity to have adult conversations. We had 22 kids under 5 so it was situational chaos with all the kids there. But as moms we got to talk to each other and share with each other. We learned from each other. That was de-stressing for me.
When we moved from Montreal to Edmonton, I got a dog. Animals can relieve stress. I could pour my heart out to something that is not going to judge me or talk back to me. My dog just let me talk.
We had two Golden Retrievers, Sprite and Silver. They carried my secrets and my stress.
I decided that I wanted to be more fit.
My boys were very active, and I couldn’t keep up with them. So, I took up running. Because I’m a person who is all or nothing, I did a 5K, then a 10K, then a 12K, and a 15K. And then I thought, “Well, I’ve gone this far, why don’t you try a half marathon?” So, I ran a half marathon. Then it was, “Well, why don’t you do a full marathon?” So, I ran a full marathon.
What I’m saying is running takes discipline and that discipline was for me a way to de-stress. To be out there is good for your heart, it’s good for your mental health, it’s good in every way. At one time I ran 8km every day for over 100 consecutive days.
Unfortunately, I developed plantar fasciitis and that derailed my running.
So, I decided to memorize books of the Bible. That was de-stressing. The words in the Bible are life giving and when you read them and commit them to memory it makes a difference in how you think and how you respond and how you act. Once again it was the discipline of doing it.
Since I couldn’t run, I started walking. My practice now is to try to get in a 5K walk every day. While I’m walking it allows me to pray, talk to myself, and I can appreciate the world around me. I notice the tiny Violet that is pushing its way out through a crack in the concrete. Or especially in the winter to notice animal prints in the snow. There is life all around me. I listen to the birds sing. Every one of them has a different song.
Its calming to just take time to notice the small things in life.
I think about what I might do differently if I had a do over. I would give myself more grace or learn how to give grace to other people. All my life I never felt free to fail. Now I wish I had tried more because failing is not the end of the world.
Eat less chips, take more risks.
That’s my two calories worth.
How do you deal with stress? Join the conversation and post a comment below. Thank you.
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