Monday, October 24, 2016

5 Easy Stress Busters For When You're Waiting

I think it's fair to say that most of us are not good wait-ers.  

We're oh-so-prone to impatience, tapping jittery fingers on jam-packed shopping carts as we cool our heels in understaffed checkout lines.  We drum on padded steering wheels at red lights that seem unwilling to make that switch to green.  Or restlessly bide our time in some kind of outer office holding tank listening for our name to be called as we perch in uncomfortable seats.




Our blood pressure slowly ratchets up as aggravation creases our faces.  We mumble and grumble to ourselves ... or to whoever happens to be unfortunate enough to be nearby.

When we're right in the middle of any kind of major crossroads, the waiting room can be an uneasy place to dwell as we spend our days with an eye out for phone calls, paperwork, emails ... all those responses, appointments, and decisions that are completely out of our control.

We do like to be in control, don't we.

and it's not a big stretch for 

waiting 

to morph into 

wondering 

and then make the easy leap to 

worrying  

which only leads to the domino effect of

 stress 

fear

anxiety

freaking out

If you're biding your time in life's waiting room these days, here's your opportunity to claim a few light-hearted responses as your very own.  Grabbing hold of one or two of these just might keep you from heading down that slippery slope that leads straight to freaking out.

Been there, done that.  You, too?

5 stress-busting responses ...

1.  Breathing Stress leads to shallow breathing which only leads to more stress.  It's a vicious cycle. Click here for the breathing exercise I've long practiced with my clients.  This simple little exercise lends itself to relaxation.  It works.

2.  Smiling ~ Not necessarily big toothy grins like our friend Alfred E. Neuman's here, but just a gentle upturn of the lips that keeps me from taking myself and my circumstances far too seriously.  Doing this reminds me that all will be well.  Muse on the beauty of this with me.

3.  Singing ~ Nothing formal or planned, mind you.  Just a simple launching into songs of thanksgiving or trust at the drop of a hat.  A few lines of an old childhood hymn lifts me straight up to the One who calms the storm.  I can't help but think He smiles as He hears a slightly off-key melody intertwined with my grateful heart.

4.  Walking ~ Once I hit the pavement, I truly enjoy finding that comfortable stride, feeling those muscles stretch, pushing myself to go just a bit further than last time.  It's getting out the door that's the challenge.  But it sure beats the alternatives, which often include mindless grazing in the kitchen and too much time wandering around online.

5.  Journaling ~  To stay sane, we have no choice but to unpack all that swirls and twirls in our heads.  Our family and friends get weary of our endless moaning and groaning, yet the need to process is strong and sure.  I know no better way to offload all that pulls at me than sitting still with God, sharing my heart just as it is, and releasing my very real emotions and concerns to the One who already knows what's going on in the craziness.  Here's a peak at some of my musings.

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What's your waiting room scenario these days?

Got some sane and healthy tips to share?




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visiting with

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56 comments:

  1. You've really caught the essence of my "waiting" strategy -- do the next thing. And, really, I have to make this a conscious effort in all kinds of waiting or I resort to some pretty unhealthy behaviors and attitudes. Thanks, Linda, for taking on this practical topic.

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    1. Oh how freaky ... I was commenting on your blog at the exact moments you were hanging out here.

      Serendipitous!

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  2. Love this phrase Linda: "biding your time in life's waiting room!" I get impatient and like Johnny Diaz reminds us, and as you have equipped us, we need to remember to just "Breathe!" Blessings!

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    1. Lyli Dunbar's 31 Days is all about 'breathe.' Be sure to check it out!

      http://3dlessons4life.com/

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  3. My stress buster has 2 wheels and requires pedal power...mine. I also like to go to the gym. When I am at home I love doing jig saw puzzles. It never ceases to amaze me how so very different we all are.

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    1. Let's hear it for pastors that pedal! You've carved out an ongoing plan for good health along the way, Bill ... and I always appreciate it when you join the conversation because you bear healthy tidings.

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  4. Great list, Linda! I hadn't seen singing on a list like this before, but it is so true. I put on my 'happy' songs and my state is changed. One song is Today is Beautiful by David Dunn. My state is more about waiting what to do next. I am taking small steps and seeing what transpires, and working on being content in the journey.

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    1. Yay, Lynn! Let's hear it for happy songs ... especially in this season when we're {both} waiting and wondering what God has for us next. I'm finding contentment to be a delightful companion in the waiting process ...

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  5. I'm still working on strategy #1, just breathing. Sometimes I catch myself feeling tense, for no reason, and have to remind myself to relax and just enjoy breathing and being. Thanks, Linda!

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    1. I never fail to be surprised what a few deep cleansing breaths will do ...

      ;-}

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  6. As a graduate of LaMaze Childbirth classes--the breathing is a great practice--also works when in pain! Great Post, My Friend!
    Blessings!

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    1. Oh goodness ... I don't want to go back to those days! That natural childbirth was rough stuff ...

      ;-{

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  7. yes! breathing and smiling help! as does singing! <3

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  8. Great post, Linda, and good, solid suggestions.

    I typically remove that for which I am waiting from my thinking, and carry on as if it doesn't exist.

    because until it's a reality, it doesn't.

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    1. Good point, Andrew. So much of what we dread never comes to fruition ... or if it does, appears in a way that is far better than what we anticipated.

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  9. Love your tips here, Linda! I had to chuckle as I've found myself doing each and every one of these when I feel my stress level rising. So helpful!
    Blessings!

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  10. I knit while I wait. I love to knit so, instead of being frustrated, I can actually enjoy the forced leisure time I gain while I am waiting.

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    1. Oh ... I like that! I don't knit but if I did, having that handwork to focus on would surely help ...

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  11. Linda, I love these stress-busting tips. And that walk out the door feels so good when I get there, but challenging to take that first step. Deep breathing is my favorite way to destress. I even have an app that reminds me. : )

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    1. I do believe there's an app for everything these days, yes?

      ;-}

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  12. Good suggestions, Linda. I have done all of them, but lately I've put aside journaling. I don't know why. I know it used to help me process and would usually end up in prayer. I keep putting it off. I wonder if it's because I'm afraid someone else might read it. I don't want anything I write to hurt anyone... Blessings and hugs to you!

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    1. I hear you about the journaling, Trudy. I long ago decided that my writings wouldn't include details that would hurt or offend others. Very very seldom are there names. God knows all the details anyway, doesn't He ... and the idea of unpacking and sorting through life's challenges has been super helpful along the way ...

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  13. I spend a lot of time in waiting rooms with my son while fighting his leukemia. That is where I discovered the power of songs to de-stress waiting and life in general. :) Great advice here!

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    1. You're right, Carol ... music brings something very powerful to our lives. Thanks for sharing that even during the trial leukemia, your soul was de-stressed by the beauty of song.

      I'm glad you're here ...

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  14. All I can think of is I am the odd ball here. I love waiting rooms cause I feel like I can just sit and read a magazine. While I wait in the grocery store line, I read a magazine. I never really get the time or take the time to read a magazine so I utilize those times for indulging in that favorite pastime.

    Big stess buster for me is lap swimming (boy, do the "dolphins" get revved up with that exercise)....

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    1. I love putting my feet up with a good magazine, too!

      {Check out Chip & Joanna's new The Magnolia Journal ... so gorgeous!}
      https://shop.magnoliamarket.com/collections/all/products/the-magnolia-journal-issue-1

      And you know I've always been a big admirer of your discipline in swimming those laps. Let's hear it for those endorphins, friend!

      ;-}

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    2. Save me your copy to read. This Magnolia issue is all sold out and a one time deal.

      I can thank my mom for my discipline and love of swimming.....

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    3. Speaking of moms, I bought the magazine for my mom ... found it at CVS. How 'bout Barnes & Noble? I'll see if I can scope out one for you around here if you can't find one ...

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  15. So familiar with the pains of waiting. I appreciate this post. And I agree these are helpful. Especially the journaling.

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    1. 'The pains of waiting.' Yes, yes, Lux ... sometimes it can be a most unsettling season ...

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  16. So many practical suggestions which truly do work. Music does it for me every time. The louder the better :) So glad we were neighbors his morning!

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  17. Linda,
    We are not good wait-ers -- yes, that is so true! But isn't it interesting that God gives us opportunities to improve in that area - to grow, mature and gain perspective. I've actually come to see that waiting is sort of exciting. {Sort of -- since I'm still learning how to enjoy it!} To wait expectantly to see what God will do can be the most invigorating, soul-stretching time of our lives. Sometimes I don't even want it to end! {Almost!} xoxo

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    1. 'To wait expectantly to see what God will do can be the most invigorating, soul-stretching time of our lives.'

      Indeed, you named exactly what I'm experiencing right now. I'm content and at peace because I know He has something coming 'round the bend ...

      http://www.lindastoll.net/2016/07/for-when-you-just-know-that-something.html

      For sure, something good is in the wind ...

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  18. Thanks for the reminder. Waiting gives us such an opportunity to do something different while we wait.

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    1. I like your reminder that we have a choice in how we walk through this season, Patty ...

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  19. Hi Linda! I love that progression you have here, of how waiting can lead to 'freaking out'. That is me to a 'T' sometimes. I do think it's all about control. I love to be in control, but once I'm in it, I get overwhelmed too. What a dichotomy.
    Just leaning on the Lord will help me relax, I know that.
    Wishing you a peaceful day my friend!
    Ceil

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    1. I'm glad that progression worked for ya', Ceil. Sometimes it's really helpful when we see something in black and white so we can understand what we need to do to keep on falling down the deep dark hole to freak out.

      Been there. Done that!

      I'd like to stop at wondering before worrying kicks in and down down down from there.

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  20. I thought of Lyli's series as soon as I saw your first point. I love all your strategies and try to use them all the time...

    Because I AM impatient and don't like to wait!

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    1. Ah ... impatience! I knew I couldn't be the only one!

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  21. Truth there in the waiting. It is much easier today waiting at a restaurant or a doctor's office with our phones. I laughed. This was a fun post Linda.

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    1. For sure! Let's hear it for those phones! Love 'em or hate 'em, they have become a lifeline on many levels ...

      I'm glad you laughed, Deborah!

      ;-}

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  22. Great tips! Waiting is not easy and I agree that a lot of the time it's down to wanting to be in control. Music, walking and journalling are some of my favourite ways to de-stress and I love your description that journalling "unpacks all that swirls and twirls in our heads."

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    1. Hey Readers - be sure to check out Lesley's 31 Days of Songs and Stories.

      https://lifeinthespaciousplace.wordpress.com/

      Music touches the deepest parts of who we are. She's got some wonderful hymns for you ...

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  23. Yes to all those! Oh if only I could be better at waiting....

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    1. I hear ya', Sarah ... and you know what they say ... be careful for what you pray for!

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  24. During a recent period of waiting a friend of mine and I joked that she was in the "hallway" of life. Moving from one room to the other. The challenging thing for me about the waiting is to not miss the the blessing in the moment. So often we're focused on what is past, or looking forward to what is to come. I don't want to miss what He has for me in.this.moment. Great post, Linda!

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    1. The hallway. That's it, June. A passage from one living room to the next. Profound!

      Thanks for the gentle reminder not to be so absorbed in what's behind or before that we completely miss out on what God's doing in the here and now.

      Amen, friend.

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  25. I agree with you... waiting is never fun, and especially if you are in a doctor's office or waiting room, oh my. I liked all your stress busters, they are great ones. Hugs to you today Linda, praying you hit a smooth sailing spot soon!

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    1. Ugh. Waiting in the doctor's office. Second only to waiting in the hospital.

      I'm so very grateful He's sitting right there keeping company with us ...

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'I want the people in my life to know that when they come to me, with whatever is on their mind or heart, they will be heard. I am dedicated to hearing the hearts of those around me.'
~ Adam McHugh, The Listening Life

Linda