On somedays, it is easy to find what is going on and where. It is fun to pick out and walk through the day in the season with our family and loved ones. Other days, it is much harder. When I take time to connect with God, and others, my days are much better.
Working with neurodivergent people, in a setting of all sorts of people and children, it is easy to see stress levels rise and fall. There are many ways to deal with stress according to the experts.
My favorite ways to deal with stress are through eating and drinking something warm. The temperature and feeling it within is important. It can be tea, or coffee, hot cocoa or soup. Choosing healthier proteins and liquids helps keep unnecessary calories away, but sometimes, if the situations that have led up to the well-deserved mini break in a cup, or “hug in a mug”, the sweet is not always a bad thing. Like a teacher said in my student teaching placement, “I can’t eat my feelings away.” With everything there is balance. If someone has a loved one in the hospital, bring them a casserole. If someone is celebrating a birthday, bring them some cookies or muffins. If someone is celebrating an accomplishment, having a drink is common. Anything done in excess is unhealthy, but things done with moderation are helpful. Drinking tea at the end of a long day, is a great way to unwind.
I know that walking twice a day has helped my life. I enjoy picking up brilliant maple leaves, and oak tree leaves, ash and little fiery red leaves from burning bushes, and using them as bookmarks. Over the years, I have sent them to family in places like Florida and Arizona, where the change in seasons isn’t as colorful as here in Wisconsin. The others, placed in books, or marking my place in my planner, remind me of when I was grounded, and the beautiful world that is outside of the walls currently that I am within, dealing with the situations at hand. Some people use rocks, or flowers that they dry out. When reduced to indoor walking, like in inclement weather, walking with Leslie Sansone, on You Tube, who is super positive and fun to walk with is a joy and an option. You choose how far, but changing our physical state can help our mental and emotional state!
Deep breaths are always in abundance, but seldom used. My goal is to use more of these the rest of the week. Inhaling calm and peace and exhaling every ounce of stress, every little bit of negativity, or feelings that are undesirable, releasing them to God. Sometimes our worries overwhelm us and we don’t even see the situation for what it is because we have anticipated it. Clearing one’s body and mind to accept what is right in front of them is a great way to assess the reality of the situation and respond in a positive and proactive way! If you ever go to Adoration, listen as people come in and kneel down. I have heard that universal exhale…that often occurs when one can finally give everything to Jesus! It is beautiful…so many people use the strategy and don’t even know it!
Be mindful of our words. Communication is not only verbal, but also non verbal. Keeping our thoughts to ourselves, and remaining mindful and kind in our words is important.
Keeping some strategies as the holidays are coming up is a great way to make sure that we can keep our eyes on what is truly important and let go of what is not. God knows us, much better than we know our selves. He knows what we need even more so than we do. Trusting in Him and letting go of every detail brings peace to everyone. Just loving those right in front of us, listening to their words and feeding their needs for acknowledgement and affirmation, can make all the difference in the world.
Lord, who is it that needs Your Peace? It is not just in Israel or the Ukraine, it is right here, and begins within our hearts. I ask you, to sit in silence. 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, whatever your heart needs. Open your heart and mind to the Lord and let Him stir with in you what needs to happen today. Reflect on the Readings and listen to what God is asking of you. Do that one thing. Let that be what you hold onto. Knowing that He loves you, immeasurably! We don’t earn His love, or do things to get it, He just bestows it upon us, and we need to receive it. If we are ambassadors of God’s merciful love and grace, the things around us will flourish. It is a gift that is free and abundant…to be in His presence is a joy! If it motivates what we do throughout this holiday season, our family will want to be together (and with us).
Thinking through the years…all of the times that were stressful and hard…one thing I always wanted was to be a good witness. Perhaps, if I had a little more peace, my objective would have been a little more attainable. Perhaps, in reflection learning about myself and my family, I have changed to not take everything so very personally, and I can let go more. Perhaps, all of this learning was in preparation for right now…work, and family. Thank You, Lord for today! Thank You, Jesus, for your merciful love. Thank You Holy Spirit for Your inspiration and guidance throughout the years. May my heart be open to being an instrument of Your peace, like in the prayer of St. Francis, as we head into this holiday season. Thank You for the gift of life and family. Thank You for this time in my life. Mary, please, intercede with me and for all my intentions and those of my family and friends as I lift up this Rosary for peace today! Amen.