While on a weekend getaway together, Celia backed our SUV over a boulder. In her defense, the large rock was covered in snow and could easily have been mistaken for a snow drift. The car’s exhaust tank was mounted on top of the boulder which caused the right rear tire to be almost completely off the ground. It took some coaxing, unrighteous language, rubber mats and a snow shovel to get the car safely off the rock without any more than a scratch in damage.
Of course this situation caused both of us a lot of immediate stress, and all we kept telling ourselves throughout this 45 minute ordeal was that “it could be a lot worse, right?”
Stress is inevitable and it will always exist. We’ll even go as far to say that it’s just a side-effect of the human condition, but it’s how we process and interpret our stress that causes it to “stress us out.” Stress can be something that we live our lives bracing ourselves for, or it can be something that we give permission to exist but not control our emotions.
We need to limit the amount of stress we experience. These tips might be helpful:
Change the Environment Sometimes doing something completely out of the ordinary helps to recalibrate and put into perspective what matters. A change of environment doesn’t completely distract from the stress, but allowing ourselves to hit the reset button gives us clarity and a lot of times defuses the level of stress we’re experiencing. We like to go for a walk, a drive, or do something that we would normally enjoy when we’re not stressed.
Identify What You Can Control
Social media, money, relationships, and jobs can cause a lot of stress. Figure out what you can control in the situation even if that means giving up on how other people might have reacted. We can’t control other people. We can only control ourselves.
Don’t avoid It
Avoiding our stress only prolongs it. A therapist once told us that “procrastination is anxiety.” The more we allow stress to simmer, to go untreated, the more intense it will get. Facing stress takes some courage, but the outcome of solving the problem will always be more beneficial than waiting for it to go away.
Worry and Stress Aren’t the Same
A lot of times we mistake worry for stress. Worrying is something we do when the circumstances are out of our control. Stress is more of a build-up of a lot of circumstances that have snowballed into one giant, sticky pile of worries and anxiety. Again, identifying whats‘s in our control allows us to accept whether or not we are able to do something about it.
Social Media Never Helps
The last thing we want to do when we’re stressed is scour through social media because comparison is already the thief of joy. Take a minimalist approach to social media. Unfollow the people you find you most compare yourself to. Only allow yourself to see the people who you most care about in real life on social media. We promise you won’t have any fear of missing out when you’ve only allowed the people who add value to your life in your digital circles.
I’m Stressed That I’m Not Stressed
A lot of times we don’t even know why we’re stressed and it can be the most aggravating feeling when we can’t put your finger on it. Our advice - cut yourself some slack. This is a good thing! Instead of searching through our brain’s file cabinets to find SOMETHING to add to a sticky pile of stress, we need to be thankful that we have the realization that life isn’t so hard after all and stress always turns itself around - it just takes time.
Stress is Good
Can you imagine living your life completely void of any worry or stress? Sounds pretty nice, but the reality is that if we want to grow, we need to have the rubber hit the road once in a while. We need to experience some friction or else we won’t know what our lives could be like when we change and grow. Stress can be a good thing when we allow it to always remain in our control.
One of our pet peeves is seeing 23-year olds acting as life coaches on social media. So after we don't follow them, we’re reminded that we also have a heck of a lot of life experience ahead of us (Lord willing) and we just want to give some practical dialogue about what helps us as we walk through life as christian minimalists. Our recipe might be different than yours, but one ingredient we have in common is that we share the gift of life and can always learn from anyone we encounter on the day to day.