5 Ways to Be Strong for the Stressed

Strength for stressedLife fluctuates. Sometimes we live in more struggle than victory. But sometimes, we get to bask in the mountaintop sunshine. Most of the time, though, we seem to live with a mixture of both struggle and victory.

Fortunately, for the most part, we each fluctuate at different levels and paces. For example, sometimes my exercise partner encourages me out the door. Other times, I’m forcing her to meet for a run. Sometimes my husband provides stability and help in my busyness; other times, he leans on me.

What relationships in your life reflect this same exchange of encouragement?

I remember a time when I did all of the leaning and needed all of the encouraging. I felt so buried in struggle I had no strength to lend to others. What others did for me during that time taught and prepared me for how to be strong for others later.

The following 5 ways to be strong for the stressed stand out as tremendous helps during my own season of needing to draw strength from my others:

  1. Encourage. While what encourages differs from one person to the next, finding small ways to encourage others helps them put one foot in front of another.  A “praying for you” text or even just a smile from across the room go a long way in encouraging someone when they are struggling.
  2. Listen. Simply listening to a person talk about struggles helps tremendously. Whether it just allows that person to vent or helps them find solutions, authentic listening truly relieves the intensity of stress.
  3. Create space. Find ways to help unload the person’s schedule. Take a friend’s kids for the evening or clean her house while she’s at work. Giving the gift of margin creates breathing room that might be just enough to encourage hope for more permanent relief.
  4. Pray. Often, someone who is overloaded got that way because they refused to allow others to help them. No matter what you can pray for them, and you can let them know you are praying for them. So many times, I could sense extra strength coming through the prayers of those who loved me.
  5. Create comfort. When stressed out, comfort seems absent and quite distant. Bring a friend coffee or make him a favorite meal or treat. Find out what brings comfort, even if only for a moment.

Strength for OthersFor the first time in 20 years, I’m less stressed than my husband, kids and most of my friends. A new experience, to be sure. Perhaps a better way to put it is that I am just balanced and in rhythm right now, and they are all going through times of intense struggle and less balance. I know this will probably change, that I’ll need their strength more and they mine less at some point. But for now, I can take what others did for me and pay it forward.

DISCUSSION: What other ways can you suggest to be strong for others who are stressed and overloaded?

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25 Replies to “5 Ways to Be Strong for the Stressed”

  1. Go hit someone! I kid. lol You already know one of my ways is riding my bike. I can tell when I don’t get enough exercise. Another way is finding alone time. I am an extreme people person but even i want/need a break from time to time. Glad you are in a good place right now Kari.
    My recent post Mundane

    1. Hey, I have a 100# punching bag in my workout area. Hitting something provides immense stress relief. Bike riding is a big one for me too (when we don’t have a ton of snow & cold). Your point – finding an outlet – is a big one for stress management. I know you probably cannot imagine this, but what if you are NOT social? 😉

  2. There is a give and take to healthy relationships. We all need the encouragement, grace, and comfort you're talking about and we were made to offer it to others too (when we are in that position and are able). Great reminder, Kari.
    My recent post Grace: Too Familiar?

  3. Great tips, I'm not sure what to add to the list.
    But I will say I've been blessed by friends who didn't take my "no" or refusal for help. They realized I needed help even if I didn't (or refused to accept it).

    One instance that stands out to me was when I came home from the hospital from having my son- my friend had come over and made us a feast so that we would have good food to eat and not have to worry about it! That was awesome. She took the initiative and I was so thankful!

  4. I think we can help the stressed if we communicate we beleive in them and we know they will get through whatever is stressing them and will do well.

    To me another way to encourage is to write notes to people.

    Another one is just showing up and being there even if you don't do anything if you take the time to go be with them I think you communicate that you mean enough to me for me to go out of my way to be here.

    1. Great additions, Mark. Lending them our confidence and being consistently present go a long way in helping others through tough times. You definitely live that out too, my friend.

    1. Excellent point! Do you think a lot of people think they have to be the strong ones? How big of a culture issue might this be? I know it's an issue for me but wondered what you thought of it as a larger issue.

        1. Hiding is definitely rampant for both men & women, and I don't think this is being "strong." Do you think actual strength is a willingness to be vulnerable & let others help?

  5. Kari, I am so glad you are in a place where you are strong and able to encourage your family, friends, and us in the blog world. I think sometimes we need to be reminded that God loves us and will not fail.
    This blog made me think of my dear neighbor and how we lean on each other in so many ways.
    Thank you for sharing helpful words once again.

    1. I hesitated sharing that I was less stressed & in a good place because it seems not cool or acceptable to be that way. \”I am stressed,\” seems to be as in style as the latest clothing trend.

      1. It is good to show that God can give us peace. You have shared that you struggle from time to time and I am sure you will when it comes again. Honesty is what makes for good posts. I hate it when everyone is just a know it all…I quicklyunsubscribe. You are just showing us that God is able to give victory. thanks. Be not afraid!From: notifications@intensedebatemail.comTo: pastormj1@hotmail.comSubject: Kari Scare replied to your comment on 5 Ways to Be Strong for the Stressed

          1. That my dear is Satan at work. You are making a difference in people’s lives. You are showing God’s glory and that is making him angry. Oh I see this in my own life over and over, try to do what is right, make a difference, move forward in obedience, get one area under some sense of control and up pops another. That is life, so please keep up your good work. You are God’s beloved! Do not give in to discouragement. Your friend, Mary

  6. I've been through a lot stress within my existence that everybody states how strong I'm which i ought to be dead. Because of your inspirational post it makes me strong! 🙂

    Definitely will share this to blogoloola blog, so that many will know about it. Many thanks!

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