I can’t sleep!

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dessert spelled backwardsWe get asked a lot about managing stress and then also about how to turn your mind off so you can fall asleep or get back to sleep if woken up. These are great questions and I am betting there is not a one of us who hasn’t had stress and trouble with sleep at some point in our lives. We also have children who need to learn these skills as well and parents can provide great life tools to their children to learn to relax.  We all have ups and downs, we are all trying to do more in less time and we all feel challenged to figure it out…after all everyone on social media seems to think they have the answers!

The thing is much of the time instead of taking a step back and seeing our stress, we forge ahead ignoring our bodies and the signs.  Instead, we need to take a break. We think to ourselves, other people have figured it out, why can’t I…what is wrong with me? The first thing we need to do is listen to our own inner dialogue and pay attention to our bodies, what signs are indicating we are stressed and need a break. We are our own worst enemies, we expect perfection. We would never expect the same out of others around us, we give them breaks…we need to give ourselves a break too!

So, how do we actually manage things differently, paying attention to our bodies, reducing the tension we are experiencing?

According to Elizabeth Scott, M.S. a stress management expert at about.com, sometimes stressful situations seem to culminate quickly, and we can go from feeling fine to overwhelmed in a very short period of time. When this happens, it’s impractical to stop your life to go practice yoga, get a massage, or try other effective but time-consuming stress relievers. It’s best to have a quick and effective way to turn off your fight or flight response and trigger your relaxation response.

Here are some simple tips to better manage stress.

  • Unplug before bedtime. Set a time at least an hour before going to sleep to limit texts, emails and social media.  Just looking at the screens can inhibit your ability to rest and relax.
  • Breathing Exercises

I like to use what is called square breathing.

square breathing

Click here for a video on another helpful breathing technique.

  • Progressive muscle relaxation

I like to use what is called Autogenic training. Follow this link to learn more.

  • Excercise

Start small, the important thing is to just get moving (if you have not been regularly exercising).  There is a euphoria that comes from the release of chemicals (endorphins) in your body that will combat stress and help you relax.  (Please consult your physician before engaging in physical activity).

The next thing you can do is take charge of our own thoughts, we cannot expect others to “make” us happy, we have to do that for ourselves. I believe this has a lot to do with perspective, do you naturally see the positive or the negative in a situation. So, change your perspective and spend time thinking about looking at the situation differently.  According to Elizabeth Scott, M.S much of what stresses you does not come from your stressors themselves, but from your response to them. More specifically, your interpretation of your stressors, as well as your approach to dealing with them, can make the events themselves feel much more (or less) stressful.

You can watch this music video if you want to identify with your kids through a pop song about stress.  These young adults are re-living how nice it used to be when they were kids and they didn’t have the stress of adulthood.

 

Contrary to the video you can’t go back into your childhood when things were simpler and less stressful!  Thankfully, you can choose your thoughts, even if you can’t choose your life circumstances. There are a few ‘tricks’ for gaining a better perspective for remaining relaxed under trying conditions: first, you can adopt the thinking style of optimists by interpreting certain facets of a situation in a way that brings hope and eliminates self-doubt. You can also adopt the view that you may have more power in a situation than you realize (called having an internal locus of control, which is also known to eliminate feelings of stress), and then looking for new solutions. Finally, be sure that you’re not already sabotaging yourself with overly negative thinking, and read over these common distorted thinking patterns, or cognitive distortions–do any sound familiar? If so, you can become aware of them and eliminate this type of thinking.

Here at Quakerdale we have several mental health professionals who can help you learn more about managing stress and how to take back control of your thoughts and moods.

So use these techniques if you need them or share them with your friends or children!

The Quakerdale Team

#MakingaDifferenceQ
#ExtendingLife – #RestoringHope – #EmpoweringWomen – #ConnectIt

 

Why Our Horses are a Member of Our Team

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EAThe equine-assisted work we do here at Quakerdale honors the natural behavior of horses and herds. We have learned horses are experts at keeping themselves safe and are adept at survival; their behaviors are a model for mental and physical health. It seems as humans we have lost our instinct to keep ourselves safe and healthy. We entrust horses to show us the way back to health. Work and observation in the horse world lends itself to extremely powerful metaphors into our own patterns, strengths, and the nonverbal messages we communicate. Unlike humans, horses are incapable of lying. They do not come into a WomenWithHorserelationship with hidden agendas. Horses hold us accountable for who we are in the relationship with them. Nonverbal communication is critical to all animals and while many humans believe we are primarily responding to verbal communication, we instinctually and unconsciously read and react to nonverbal signals in greater proportion than the spoken word. Horses are masters at reading subtle changes in body language, intention, emotions and energy. Equine Assisted Psychotherapy implements the power of equine-assisted philosophies and exercises to introduce therapy clients to themselves in a modality that has been found to be more efficient and less threatening than traditional talk therapy. (Credit to Greg Kersten)

 

#RestoringHope – #MakingaDifferenceQ

Where is your puck going to be?

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gretzkyquote

Wayne Gretzky was the greatest hockey player of all time. He famously said his secret was that he didn’t skate to where the puck was… he skated to where the puck was going…

At Quakerdale we’ve always worked hard to make the right choices before we are forced. We must bravely move toward where we think things are going instead of focusing on the difficulties of the urgent or the now. This matches the quote by the great Hockey player Wayne Gretzky.

Over the next six months there will be choices to make based on decisions and vision determined years ago. I thank God for the wisdom and direction the Quakerdale board through the ages. This is what drew me and my family to ministry at Quakerdale years ago.

Thank goodness God knows where the “puck” is going more than Wayne Gretzky!

Through many counter intuitive historical events God’s message has emerged through the ages. It didn’t matter if it was through activities like an escape through the Red Sea, or a 40 year journey in circles in the desert, a young shepherd who dominated a giant, a church persecutor turned missionary or a King who conquered through death on a cross and resurrection. God moves his people for his plans.

What is it that you need to do to follow through with the plans God has for you and your family?  Your choices may not look smart to your friends or our culture.  Where is your “puck” going?  Are you called to sacrifice your budget and take a ministry job?  Are you supposed to bring in a family member in distress or a foster child?  Are you willing to sacrifice your personal time for something bigger?  Are you willing to sacrifice in a way that might hurt?  Do you need to make a career change?  Do you need to make an attitude or relationship change?  Do you need to make an eating change?  What do you need to do to get where your puck is going?

David, before his battle with Goliath, had to convince King Saul to let him fight.  Saul couldn’t motivate anyone in his whole army of experienced soldiers (including Saul himself) to trust in God and fight the mocking giant. After 40 days of ridicule and challenge by Goliath the shepherd boy couldn’t take it any longer and petitioned Saul once again to let him fight. King Saul, the mighty warrior, was afraid and desperate enough to approve the perceived mismatch.

David, however, was different. He rested his fate in God instead of the odds. David believed God had a plan. David felt he had a role to play even if it didn’t make sense in human terms. So the whole country of Israel rested on the fate of a young shepherd boy. It was counter intuitive.

Two armies diminished to one shepherd boy against the experienced soldier killing giant.

I guess what I see here is how things got more simple. We can make our lives, jobs, and relationship with God very complicated. Sometimes big things must get more simple so they can become focused razor sharp. Israel and their whole future diminished to a shepherd boy! We know how the story ended for David and Goliath!  David defeated the giant with one smooth stone from his sling and the whole Philistine army dispersed. Immediate victory out of faith and obedience.

That’s a pretty dramatic story. I won’t go into all the others in the Bible that are comparable, but I will not bypass the fact that all those Bible stories culminated with Jesus singularly carrying the sins of the world … alone to the cross. How inspiring right? Often things become simple and razor focused before the “next”  happens.

Simplicity is a Quaker value. Our faith and our journey with Christ is simple and requires our focus…but simplicity is not easy.

I encourage you to enjoy this great worship song below as you focus your faith and future. As for Quakerdale… we put our faith, “In Christ Alone.”

The Quakerdale team

#MakingADifferenceQ – #ExtendingLife

Never stop growing in your marriage… your kids deserve it!

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Amy-Grant

The more you invest in a marriage the more valuable it becomes.            –Amy Grant

I guess this could be true with anything in life, but when you think about it in terms of your marriage it takes on a different picture.  In the past my husband and I have attended three different marriage retreats.  When I tell people that we are going, the automatic thought is that we must be having troubles. Don’t get me wrong.  We do have ups and downs like any marriage, but that is not the reason we go to these retreats.  We go so that we can keep our marriage going!  I try to explain it to people that you read things to better your brain, why not do something to better your marriage?

If you will, think back through the years and see if you can come up with a couple that have a good solid marriage.  A couple that you would want to model your marriage after.  What stands out about this couple?  The couple/couples that come to mind for me have a great faith in God, work together as a team, and work hard at their marriage.  When I say work hard at their marriage, not only do they keep communication lines open, but they do little things like dropping their wife at the door of a restaurant. Sugaring their husband’s tea when the waitress brings it because she knows that is the way her husband likes it or holding hands in the car when they are driving to get groceries.

Our family has just recently expanded to five, and I want my children to know without a doubt that their parents care about their marriage and are devoted to each other.  I want them to see how doing things together makes us a stronger couple.

An important part of a stronger relationship is learning how to disagree and move through problems.  This is a fun (and short) video that gives some simple ways to avoid those fights that turn personal and result in saying things that we really don’t want to say.

 

 

So my invitation to you is to look at doing something that enriches your marriage. – even watch a video on Youtube!  You could attend a Marriage Retreat, read a book together, or simply schedule a date night.  We encourage you to do something that reinforces the importance of the commitment you made to your spouse because your kids will better thrive when you have a healthy marriage!  Oh, and don’t think that if  your kids are all grown and training their own kids that your marriage doesn’t matter.  Your marriage is an important part of your legacy for adult children and grand children!

If you think you could use some help in your marriage or if you are facing a challenge with one of your children don’t hesitate to give us a call at Quakerdale!

If you have any comments or ideas to share with others please leave a comment!

The Quakerdale Team…