Managing Stress in a Simple Life

by Merissa on January 30, 2014

in Simple Living

Managing Stress in a Simple Life - Little House Living


Managing Stress in a Simple Life

Read that title again. Does it make sense? How can one be living a simple life and still have so much stress? I'll tell you how.

If you are following our story you know that our life is anything but stress free right now. Between moving, mortgages, and more, we are pretty much stress maxed out at this point.

But if we are really living a simple life then how can we be so stressed out? I'm sure you know the answer to this one....

Things happen.

Unexpected things. Things you don't plan for. Things that throw your world for a loop and then a backflip. They happen in all lifestyles, even a simple one.

Fortunately there are some great ways to help with managing stress in a simple life and I'm going to share them with you today. Make sure you add your own stress relieving tips in the comments below as well.

Go take a walk.

Sometimes you need a cool breeze and some fresh air to clear your mind and to put things in perspective again. Take a walk down the road, around your yard, in a park, or in any fairly quiet place. Stop every so often and take a deep breath. Research shows that fresh air helps our brain feel an improved sense of well being. Take a deep long breath in your nose and count to ten, then exhale through your mouth. Do this a few times to help your mind and body get to a more relaxed state.

Clear out the clutter.

One thing that I tend to do when I'm in a state of panic or stress is forget to clean. But clutter around our homes can increase a sense of urgency and stress and therefore only adds to our levels of distress. Instead of going into commander of cleaning mode (like I can do sometimes!), just start by picking things up and putting them where they belong. Then grab a rag and wash the floor or the dishes. Doing so will give you a chance to cool down, think about something else, and help remove the clutter.

Discover what is really bothering you.

Once you've done the first two steps, it's time to sit down and find out what is really bothering you. Are you really mad at the dog or are you mad at the neighbor that confronted you when your dog was in his yard? When I found out that we weren't going to be able to travel and we didn't know what we were going to do, I thought I was mad that our plans went up in smoke and I couldn't enjoy the lifestyle we had dreamed about. But truth be told, when we sat down and talked about it, my real stress was that I didn't know where that left us or where we would go and that thought scared me.

Ignore the ignorant.

I get upset when someone tells me "Well it could be worse." for a couple different reasons. 1. I feel like that means they think my situation isn't so bad. 2. I feel like they don't care so are brushing you off with a quick comment. 3. I actually start to think of all the things that could be worse and could happen, which induces more stress. Luckily I'm a glass is half full person and I dismiss those comments by doing these things.

  1. I remind myself that they are not in my shoes and truly do not understand what I'm going through.
  2. I remind myself that they probably don't know what to say.
  3. I refuse to think of what could be worse and try and think of the perks of the situation. Sometimes that can be the hardest thing to do but to every storm cloud there is a rainbow.

Remind yourself how blessed you are.

Now I'm not saying that we should ignore what we are going through completely. I believe that facing trials and tribulations in our lives is what makes us stronger for each new situation that we come up against. But it's good to stop and think about the ways you ARE blessed every so once in a while. Here's my little example...when we first figured out we would move into the farmhouse I spent a day being upset that we sold all our furniture and wouldn't have money to buy things to fill our home for quite a while. The next day I remembered that old card table that I had received when my grandma passed away. It only has 3 chairs but there are just 3 of us! And even though it's not pretty I know I have some pretty table linens I kept in a box that we can cover it with. Topped with a nice candle and we have a dining room table! I even was a little excited by the fact that I could use some of my scrap fabric to sew new tablecloths and change it up as needed. I did that with every piece of furniture I was "missing" until I had convinced myself that this is going to be a great adventure. It's all about perspective.

I'm not a therapist or a doctor or anything of the sort. But I am a county girl that's trying to live a simple lifestyle and these tips are what works for me to help manage stress in a simple life. I hope that they might help you in whatever you are facing today and give you encouragement for a better tomorrow.

What are some stress tips you have or that work for you? How do you handle managing stress in a simple life?

merissabio

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6:00 am

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elise November 22, 2013 at 10:12 am

Clear out the clutter… that’s probably the single biggest help for me. And discovering what’s really bothering me – that’s the hardest. Thanks for these tips!

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2 Life Breath Present November 22, 2013 at 10:53 am

These are good tips. I, too, try to change my perspective. Sometimes that’s all the difference I need. And, breathe! That just might be the best and only thing I can do at times πŸ™‚

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3 Mary Foerster November 22, 2013 at 10:57 am

I try to do most everything you suggested above, which really helps. I also remember a bit of advice a very good friend said to me, “Things will be quite different one day…” It sure pulls me through the rough patches & I smile & carry on.

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4 Barbara White November 22, 2013 at 12:44 pm

I first pray for increased faith. Then I start looking for Plan B, which brings change, mostly good change, outside the box, if you will. Your comments are wonderful, as is your site. I look forwward to reading anything you post.

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5 snookie November 22, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Just remember there are always going to people saying rude things and not thinking before they speak and as long as you and your husband are happy and you are living under Gods word nothing else matters πŸ™‚
God bless and good luck on your new home I know its going to be so awesome and you will be so happy there keep God always 1st and the rest will work and I did not say would be easy but will work out πŸ™‚ God works all things good for those that love him πŸ™‚
Hope your in there by CHRISTmas !)

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6 Sue Davis November 22, 2013 at 2:41 pm

It saddens me to learn that there have been alligators snapping at your ankles with hurtful and rude comments. Just tell yourself that while they are snapping at you somebody else is getting a rest. Those types of people are always trying to make others as miserable as they are. I don’t think they understand that what they dish out to others will eventually be served on their plate. The sad fact for them will be at because they have driven all their friends away there will be no one there to hug them while they are hurting.

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7 Becky November 22, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Cleaning out clutter always makes me feel better!!

I love that you are looking at your new phase as an adventure. Its all about how you see things! πŸ™‚
Ps- we ate at a card table when we first moved, too! πŸ™‚

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8 Audra November 22, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Take an Epsom salt bath. Literally detoxifies you! Or magnesium spray … Homemade of course. Or a drop of vitamin d in your water. Any of these help you see the sun through the clouds.

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9 Merissa November 22, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Oh I love a good warm bath when I’m stressed out, great tip!

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10 sandy November 22, 2013 at 7:17 pm

I do many of the things you mentioned. Have always tried to see simple living as a challenge that excites me. I also will sit down in my chair and just look around at all I do have, many items given to me, or things I have made or repurposed….. count my blessings at God’s provision and regain that contentment.

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11 Mindy Lou November 22, 2013 at 7:22 pm

I had a strong country girl melt down today. For our family right now things seem to keep sliding down from a mountain top to a ravine. In the last two years: we have moved twiced, had a daughter bullied to the point of attempting suicide, my husband got brain damage from getting crushed by a 30ft. piece of steel(now his brain don’t tell his heart to beat), all my husbands assets of 25 years of business have been embezzled, my health has been poor for years(MS) now…cancer. But today I had the dreaded “mama meltdown.”

Last week I had a local religous business call and offer our family a Thanksgiving dinner. Overjoyed is an understatement! (My weekly grocery budget is $4.25per person per week…with the moves there wasn’t any gardens to suppliment this year.) I spoke to this person three times, the last time was Wednesday. Today, Friday, I drive into town, get lost, so I call for instructions on how to get the business. The business owner informed me that since I didn’t keep in contact with her she gave it to another family on Thursday. I sat in my car in sobbed great big cow turd tears.

Then I started laughing because little did that religous business owner know it; we were still blessed by her, and she probably doesn’t even know it. She blessed us with an experience that built our character, strengthening us to be better leaders, neighbors and christians. Will we starve?no. Will this weaken us as a family?no. So, my husband,three children and I will continue to be the best people we can be. My husband will bring continue to know no strangers, my daughter will keep working on their scholarship,community goals and I will continue to be the strength that helps everyone and everything run with grace and thought.

That is until I have another “mama meltdown” in about three years.

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12 Merissa November 22, 2013 at 7:51 pm

That’s an amazing Thanksgiving gift! Isn’t it crazy how in our most down times something happens that just blesses the socks off us? πŸ™‚

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13 Lynne November 22, 2013 at 8:21 pm

I have a quote on my fridge that helps me. I can’t recall where it’s from but it says, “Everything is all right in the end; if it’s not all right, it’s not the end.”

I know that when I’m stressed it can feel so powerful and defining – like this is just ‘what my life is like’. Thinking about that quote helps me get out of my head long enough to get some perspective and realize that life goes on, and that this is just one stressful moment/day/week/year in a lifetime.

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14 Bruce Savage November 22, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Don`t even think of what you DON`T have. Think of the blessings you DO have. When you are at your greatest stress, go helpout someone worse off than you, they are out there! Know that all is temporary, everything changes and evolves. We will never fully appreciate the “good times” if we don`t have the “down times.” Exercise, even if it`s going for a walk, cleans out your head `n thoughts. If stress is holiday related, remember what the holidays are about! Remember to be the eternal 6 yr old in their pajamas for the holidays, not the worried one about $$, put though in your gifts and you don`t need to put as much$$. And remember to tell people you love, “I love you.” Happy holidays πŸ™‚

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15 Patricia November 22, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Clearing clutter…the best advice I could receive in my stressful life right now. Glad to know I’m on the right track when it comes to thinking about what is stressing me. Unlike you, I do think about how things could be worse…sometimes it helps and sometimes not- especially, if I know someone going through a tougher time than myself. That DOES make it worse…we can’t fix everyone’s problems. But then, I think, hey I may be able to help this person by giving them this or that– and THAT helps me.
Lots to think about here… I’m glad I read this post.
Pat

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16 Linda Davis November 23, 2013 at 8:55 am

I do many of the things you suggested, especially cleaning the clutter. When we feel helpless about one situation, it helps to do something we can control like deciding where to put items or what to throw away. I guess the thing that calms me the most is to write in my daily journal (also a prayer journal). There I can say things that I want only God to hear. Prayer works, too; but for me, writing my prayers, fears, what is angering me, or what is keeping me from sleeping works better than just saying the prayer. I can gather my thoughts more coherently when writing. Sometimes when I am unable to sleep due t a worry I can write it in my journal, close the book and fall right to sleep. Thanks for your great posts. I have found many helpful suggestions here.

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17 Pamela November 23, 2013 at 9:09 am

Thank you so much for your post. I really love everything. I love this kind of lifestyle of appreciating what I have, being grateful, resourceful and creative.
I also appreciate how to deal with stress ideas from time to time. I like to knit little 100 percent cotton washclothes/no pattern for use mostly to wash my face at night. I have used them in the shower with special soaps too. Just for me in my baths. They are so.. soft. Knitting them with no pattern is easy and comforting. Because it is a small project, I can take it anywhere and fit in a few stitches at any time. Ignore the gossipers and those who speak ill will. I know this is harder to do when a person is going through a low period in life. I will pray for you and yours.

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18 Andrea November 23, 2013 at 2:20 pm

These are great tips for reducing stress! I love going for a jog when I feel super stressed out. Deep breaths also help! Thanks for the tips!

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19 Pam November 23, 2013 at 11:50 pm

I have a very stressful life at times, usually because unexpected things happen.. You have some great tips. I especially love remind yourself how blessed you are because it can really turn things around when you need it.

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20 Eliza November 24, 2013 at 5:14 am

First of all I’m sorry to hear there are stinkers out there who are being unkind. You have been a big blessing & encouragement to my family…..when I get discouraged I try to find something to give thanks for about the situation. 1Thessalonians 5:18 say to “give thanks in all circumstances”. It doesn’t mean it’s easy or that I’m not scrapping the bottom of the “ridiculous barrel” to come up w something but its usually enough to help my heart to change my perspective which gets me back on track. Hang in there. You’re doing great!

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21 Lorae November 24, 2013 at 7:34 pm

This is really simple one. Sitting and savoring a steaming hot cup of tea, breathing in its vapors…no rush. Preferably a “tea time” everyday with a family member. I do this with my teenage son. A very special time…

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22 Cynthi l November 24, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Great things to think about. At times, I feel super stressed, but don’t know why. Talking and sharing with someone I am close with helps. I clean my house to go to a “no thinking” zone and that helps also.

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23 Kelly November 24, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Everyone gets stressed sometimes! Living is hard at times no matter how you live. Decluttering or cleaning makes me feel better. Also completing a task I’ve been putting off. When I start to feel the stress in my body (tight neck and shoulders), the very best thing is a good workout, especially one that combines stretching with cardio. I feel so much better afterward.

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24 Lushena Newman November 26, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Thanks for all the wonderful things you post. I have had some stressful moments in my life, and I have to say, I sure dislike how that feels. Especially when the world feels like it is crashing down on you. Sometimes the best thing is a good cry, and then when I am done with that, I try to think of all the things that make me happy. I also started this last year doing daily gratitudes. It amazes me how much less stressed I feel just by doing that. Good luck in your new adventure!!! Can’t wait to hear all the wonderful stories about living in your farm house!

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25 Jeni November 30, 2013 at 12:40 am

Ignore the ignorant! Yes. So important–thank you for noting that. True, true, true with a cherry on top. πŸ˜‰

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26 Antigone December 3, 2013 at 11:51 pm

I’ve had my world fall apart more than once…or twenty times…I don’t just mean a little bit either. I keep a gratitude journal, every night I right not one or five things I’m Greatfull for but everything. When things are really bad I read back a few days or weeks and remember that I have a lot to be Greatfull for even when I fell like I’m surrounded by darkness. I agree “it could be worse” is condescending, how about we all say instead, “can I help?”

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27 Sabs December 12, 2013 at 2:20 am

I really needed to read this today, thank you. Especially the part about ignoring the ignorant.

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28 Judy O January 30, 2014 at 8:20 am

I love the theory of a “simple” life but in truth all life is a challenge of sorts. When I find that the challenges are starting to weigh me down I head out to the corner market and start a conversation with some one. In a small country store there is always someone with a smile, a story to tell and a moment to share it. For me sometimes just saying out loud to another human that is not affected by my challenges………”Whew, this is a day I just can’t seem to get out of my own way.” Is enough to turn the day around.

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29 Mike January 30, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Thanks for a great blog. I was born with a birth defect, almost lost my leg last year, turn 71 this year and enjoy marriage with my country girl for almost 50 yrs this year. Enjoy the stress. It will help you grow in the Lord and give you wisdom as a mother. I enjoy following your life’s path.

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30 Heather January 30, 2014 at 6:33 pm

Things have been stressful here lately. I have been getting off a medication so that my husband and I can try and have another baby. The bad thing, the medicine raised my blood pressure and it will stay high until the medications half-life ends, which is about a month. It is upsetting to me that getting healthy is not going as planned. Now I have to take blood pressure medication for a month. But in these health issue problems, a wonderful billing aide at my doctors office pulled me to the side and said that it looked like I would qualify for their sliding scale, even though I have health insurance, which is through my work very expensive and terrible. She also urged me to apply for medicaid which I may be able to get and save my family $250 a month and have better coverage and complete coverage for when I get pregnant.
So as the most wonderful woman I have ever known would always say (my grandma), “this will all come out in the wash, just remember to start the machine and be thankful for the power to run the cycle.” Well I am still stressed, but I don’t feel so bad about it now.

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31 Korene January 30, 2014 at 10:56 pm

I have written over a dozen responses to “Managing Stress in a Simple Life”. only to erase them all. I realized in the end all of my posts came down to simply… without JESUS I couldn’t handle life. He doesn’t always solve my problems, but changes my attitude towards them. HE can do the same for you if choose to let HIM.

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32 Margaret January 31, 2014 at 1:32 am

I think stress and our reactions to it are endemic to who we are. I live in a country where violence is endemic. There are very few people who have not been mugged, been robbed at gunpoint, or we all know of someone who that has happened to – not to mention the rape statistics (especially the rape of babies and small children) which are totally horrific. As a result, most churches have trained their clergy and counsellors to do trauma containment, and most schools and businesses have resident psychologists – you have to have them. One of my friends emigrated to another, very peaceful country, and when she came back to see family, I remarked that it was a pity she no longer needed her considerable trauma-counselling skills. She said ‘Don’t you believe it. I had three sessions with a lady who was totally traumatised because the dog next door ran over her tulip bed.” So there you have it!

One of the things that came to my mind while reading this and many of the comments, and forgive me if I seem to be patronising, it isn’t meant that way, but for all your difficulties, you are NEEDED as people. If you don’t pull your weight and MAKE things happen, you won’t survive. So many who have everything are lacking a purpose in living. Some find this purpose vicariously through working for charity or taking up one or other political cause, and thank God for such people, but they have stresses too – the stress of having to MAKE their lives useful. You may not know where the next meal is coming from, and please God you always make it one way or another, but you know you are vital to the success of your lives, and when you reach your 80’s, what a rich adventure you will look back on!

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33 Margaret January 31, 2014 at 1:33 am

I think stress and our reactions to it are endemic to who we are. I live in a country where violence is endemic. There are very few people who have not been mugged, been robbed at gunpoint, or we all know of someone who that has happened to – not to mention the rape statistics (especially the rape of babies and small children) which are totally horrific. As a result, most churches have trained their clergy and counsellors to do trauma containment, and most schools and businesses have resident psychologists – you have to have them. One of my friends emigrated to another, very peaceful country, and when she came back to see family, I remarked that it was a pity she no longer needed her considerable trauma-counselling skills. She said ‘Don’t you believe it. I had three sessions with a lady who was totally traumatised because the dog next door ran over her tulip bed.” So there you have it!

One of the things that came to my mind while reading this and many of the comments, and forgive me if I seem to be patronising, it isn’t meant that way, but for all your difficulties, you are NEEDED as people. If you don’t pull your weight and MAKE things happen, you won’t survive. So many who have everything are lacking a purpose in living. Some find this purpose vicariously through working for charity or taking up one or other political cause, and thank God for such people, but they have stresses too – the stress of having to MAKE their lives useful. You may not know where the next meal is coming from, and please God you always make it one way or another, but you know you are vital to the success of your lives, and when you reach your 80’s, what a rich adventure you will look back on!

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34 Kristin February 1, 2014 at 2:51 pm

Love this list! You are so right! We are all truly blessed and have so much to be thankful for. Thank you for the reminders!

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35 Michelle D February 1, 2014 at 10:37 pm

I needed this today. I needed to hear that I am not alone in this crazy journey. We bought an old run down 8 bedroom house for almost nothing expecting to spend years fixing it up before moving. Life had other plans. Luckily we moved at the start of summer to this lovely house filled with rubble, walls missing, missing floors, no heat, elec or plumming…..did I mention we have 8 kids (not all bio but still ours just the same) ages 4,5,6,7,12,14,18,24.
In the past couple months our income has slowly diminished to about half add to it that due to military cut backs it is costing us to be part of the national guard which started right after the hubby signed up for another 10 years.
Depression has kinda taken me over the past two months so here I am. I am not the only one in this boat. It was the suggestion of going for a walk that struck something in me. Me EYE OPENER I guess. Since we moved I have been so busy with kids, budgeting, trying to make meals out of nothing, home repair, etc…..I think I forgot about me!
Hubby has been doing all the shopping since the base is near the only shopping area over an hour drive from where we live. It saves on gas. I don’t remember the last time I left this house. Other than speaking to a teacher on the phone I have not spoken to anyone other than hubby and kids in probably 8 months or more. Currently wondering how I made myself so busy that I forgot my own existence. I think tomorrow a nice walk is in order along with just doing something for me……even if it is just 5 minutes by myself on the porch to clear my head.

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36 Lore Rosenthal January 22, 2016 at 7:04 pm

When you live a simple life, there are a lot of things that other people do that maybe you do not. Examples (a) fly to visit relatives, (b) send greeting cards, too much paper, (c) scrap booking (too much paper and clutter), (d) stitch little useless items for friends, (e) watch popular tv shows on netflix, (f) spend hours posting on facebook or instagram. It can be stressful to find fun things to do that do not involve money, travel (CO2), clutter, natural resources such as paper, electronics, popular culture.

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37 chatiwila loeto August 26, 2016 at 2:06 am

hi Merissa am thankful about your information.I am a country just like you.i was raised in a farm and i agree with u its wonderful.i have a house in town and i am not enjoying my stay there coz of difference reasons including too much spending, noise and stress.i want to move back to the farm that where my heart is.I fist want to drill a borehole for water supply which is too expensive.i will share and need advice from u.Merissa.bye! Chatiwila

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38 Ms. Ainee C. Beland December 27, 2016 at 8:40 am

I need to learn to clean the clutter that is in my head that keeps me awake at night; forever it seems like. I don’t drive or operate machines and so I am not a country anything since those women do and thrive for simply being able to drive and haul. So perhaps I am envious but don’t want to haul.
I have a cluttering of address labels near me on the desk that I keep meaning to go through and lessen; as well as that briefcase fill with old collections letters and other bills/mailings that needs clearing.

What do I do all day long? Keeping the apartment tidy, a little; making dinner; making sure there is stock of needed items and trying to pay what we can pay down while the outstanding interest keeps it going up and up.

The biggest clutter that needs clearing is that ‘dog chasing it’s tail’ being the husband and I (not employable) and one income that every one (utilities folks) want a part of and somehow feel they’re owed this.

Clearing of clutter is good thing; good luck to those taking on this challenge.

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