Self-Care: How I Relieve Stress


When I was a journalist, stress motivated me. I thrived off of it. But, now, I am one of those people who easily gets stressed. I easily feel overwhelmed. I also easily make a stressful situation far worse than it actually is, thus only making me more stressed. You know what I mean?

Simply put, being stressed makes me stress out more. In turn, I blow the situation way out of portion. Sometimes, it takes me a while to find my emotional balance. But, I do find it. Truthfully, I have to in order to function efficiently. It’s a vicious cycle, honestly.

Nevertheless, I’ve learned to combat stress. I am at a point in life (youthful, as it may be) where I have to give myself time to decompress and calm my nerves. I have to acknowledge I need to be my own encourager and helper. I have to acknowledge there is good in quality self-care. Then, I have to put these methods into practice.

One of the biggest ways I decompress is I envision a positive image or scenario in my mind. Usually, I flip flop between a few scenes. Either, I am at the beach surrounded by palm trees with a cool breeze against my skin. Or, I am walking a small dog on a sunny day.

Regardless of where I am or what I am doing, it is a warm sunny day. I am happiest in the summer and not just because of the extra vitamin D I receive then. But, because I absolutely love summer. It is my favorite season.

If I am able, I like to decompress by watching YouTube videos. I have an accumulating list of videos marked for watch later. I don’t know what it is about watching others’ lives or interviews that excite me, but I enjoy it.

My husband and I also help each other decompress by giving each other alone time. I know nearly every health professional says it’s important. Guess what? They are actually right. It’s a wonderful feeling to know the two of us have dedicated time to ourselves.

It is nice to get excited about being by ourselves. I don’t think that is the introvert in us either. Although, I am sure we prefer alone time more than others.

Still, it’s fun to not have a worry for an hour or so. Sometimes, I read a good book. Others, I simply close my eyes. The point is I am not productive. I do not attend to my never-ending mental to-do list.

I know that is not ideal for everyone. It works for us right now. It felt a little weird at first to block off “Renata time.” Nevertheless, over time, it became natural and now I yearn it. You have to get passed the awkward and be intentional. Simple as that.

The last way I try to relieve stress is to make myself walk away from the situation causing me a headache in the first place. Even if it means going on a small walk around my house or the workplace. Walking away from the situation for just a moment does wonders for your energy and overall mood.

Let yourself get past the incessant nudge that says you have to finish this now. Give yourself five minutes. Work and life can wait. Your mental well-being is far more important. Take it from me. I’m learning the hard way each day.

I challenge you to find a way to decompress. Find a way you can at work like I do with positive mental images and thoughts. Find a way you can at home like I do with alone time. Find a happy medium. The work will always be there. A calm, peaceful mind will waver. Do your part of nourishing it rather than drying it out.

Take care of yourself any chance you can, no matter what you may think is piling up. Stress is only as bad as you make it. Be realistic. Be fair. Be gracious. Be a work in progress.



Random Tidbits: Just Because


It’s been awhile since I’ve committed a blog post to just telling you a few things about myself. So, here we go.

Well, I love shrimp, crab, and lobster. Although, I don’t much care for salmon or tuna. Honestly, I don’t really like fish. But, I sure do love seafood. One of the reasons why I’d love to move to San Diego tomorrow is because of the fresh seafood. Nothing beats it. Believe me.

I am a clean freak. I would not consider myself at the OCD level. But, I cannot go to bed with a dirty home. I have to tidy and pick things up before I can unwind from the day. In fact, cleaning relaxes me. Seeing a dirty space gives me anxiety. At work, I pick up my area even if I am simply going to another person’s office. There’s something about being presentable and tidy that I deeply appreciate.

Although I like things tidy and kept together, I am a procrastinator when it comes to things that need to be done. In other words, I won’t start cleaning my home until the moment I should have been in bed 10 minutes’ prior.

You know what I mean, right? You tell yourself you are going to do it. You keep making a mental note. But, it just won’t happen until…BAM! You must do it at that moment. Otherwise, you won’t be able to do anything else, regardless of the time or other commitments you may have.

Although I am like this when I clean, I am not always like this in others of my life. Take, for example, I definitely procrastinate more on my homework now than I ever did. I used to be the person who did their homework as soon as possible so I would not have to stress later. Now, I start my homework much later than I intend. This happens almost every week, too.

I think that has something to do with being busier and having more priorities now. By the time I get home from a full day at work, homework is the last thing I want to think about or do. Even working on a blog can sounds exhausting…and I love to write!

I don’t think I was ever truly prepared for that part of adulthood—where some days you know you’ve hit your limit. You’ve done all your mind and body can handle. And it’s barely 6:00 p.m. I am hoping this will improve over time, but I honestly don’t know.

Truthfully, though, I should probably learn to say no to a few obligations and set realistic expectations for myself. I don’t mean I should lower them. I mean, I should honestly evaluate what I have to do in the allotted time. Then, decide what is most necessary.

Again, I am working on it. I am a work in progress. I am still learning who I am in God, as a person, as a wife, as a working professional, etc. The list goes on. I am constantly trying to understand and learn from my surroundings.

I hope you enjoyed learning a little about me. I know I have so much more to learn about myself. I also know I am constantly changing. I am learning to be okay with this, too.

I challenge you to pinpoint some habits or random qualities about yourself. Evaluate them. Ask yourself, is this something I could change or tweak a little bit? Is this something I am proud of?

Ask yourself tough questions. Nonetheless, never stop giving yourself grace either.




God’s Graciousness: Finding Joy in My Passions


Earlier this week, I went to a concert. The concert was lovely. It was filled with great jazz music. But, a speech struck me the most. The speech wasn’t too eloquent. It was a “Thank you to you and you” kind of speech.

But, the word choice captivated me. The English major in me was truly impressed. Again, no, it wasn’t elegant by any extreme means, but it was genuine and thoughtful. As I listened to the speech and responded in my English nerd giddiness, I could not help but thank God for giving me this passion.

Mind you, though, someone did call me weird. And guess what? I am okay with that. I praise God that He instilled in me such a desire and love for all things words, vocabulary, and writing. I praise God I have a passion and a unique skill set.

I did not begin to realize the magnitude of the Lord’s graciousness in my life until I began to study communications. I did not realize it until my heart truly jumped for joy when I hear solid word choice and proper grammar. I did not realize how deeply rooted this gift was until I began to think about all the wonderful stories I have had the pleasure to read in my studies.

A joy and gratitude come with knowing God made you so intricately and intimately. If you don’t have that in your life, I encourage you to seek it out. I encourage you to ask God to plant desires in your heart. I encourage you to seek opportunities to discover your passions.

If you do know your passions, follow them. As cheesy and cliché as it is, follow them with all your heart. Seriously. You’ll know what I am talking about when you feel it. There is an abundant overflowing of wanting to know more and soak up the moment.

It is that moment even when you do something mundane, you can smile and say, “Thank you, God. Thank you for creating me.” It is that moment when you realize you are doing exactly what God intended.

Simply put. I love English. I love everything about it. I love reading it, hearing it, and studying it. I praise God for placing that desire in my heart and for continually giving me opportunities to make my heart jump with joy.



My 2017: Nearly a Year of Studies


The past month of my life has been such a blur—a joyous blur. A blur, nonetheless, as I am sure it has been for nearly everyone else. I love the holiday season. I love celebrating Jesus Christ’s birth, I love spending quality time with my husband, I love eating great food, and I love laughing with family.

Yet, because the holiday season is so busy, I often feel like I do not get a break. As much as I love the holiday season, sometimes it gives me slight anxiety as well. The holiday season can be stressful for the introvert in me. I dislike being around bunches of people and many obligations without time to recharge.

The holiday season can stress me out because I can go days without having some time to myself. I can go days with obligation after obligation. Sometimes, I feel as if, even though I am not in school, I am just as stressed as if I was in school. Sometimes, I feel as if I am trying to juggle the same load, despite having no homework.

I could go on, but I will not. I will simply say any true introvert will completely understand what I mean. For those of you who may not be introverted, consider those you know.

Now that the holiday season has come and gone, I still have some anxiety. It is not tumultuous. I knew it would come, too. By this time next week, I will be back in school. By this time next week, my month-long break from academics will be over.

By this time next week, I will begin going to school non-stop for the next 11 months. I will not have another extended break, i.e. more than a day for another 11 months. I knew this would happen when I decided to obtain my degree at my current university.

My current schedule, degree path, and university were all my choosing—with God’s guidance and direction. But, I chose to embark on my schooling in this manner. I chose to have a crazy 2017 to ensure I would get my degree sooner.

But, it does not mean I am not still slightly anxious. I think my current emotions and thoughts go to show that no matter how much we think we are ready for a situation, there will come a day when the reality of it all sinks in like a ton of bricks. There will come a day when we wonder why we were crazy enough to agree to such a plan in the first place.

In the middle of that, though, God will be there. God will be there to calm our anxious hearts. He will be there to say this is part of My perfect plan for your life. I will be with you every step of the way, just as I was when you first decided to go on this [academic] journey—or whatever it may be.

It is because of this truth in Christ that I gladly tell you my present anxieties. It is because of my faith in Christ that I know, although the journey will be long, stressful, and tiring, God would not have ordained it any other way. I want you to know where I am and what this year will look like for me.

I simply ask if you could say a prayer for me. Pray that I will remain diligent in my studies; pray that I may not lose sight of the journey set before me; pray that I may find my strength in Jesus Christ; pray that I may not let my studies take precedence over my relationship with God or my marriage.

Thank you for reading, dear friends. You have no idea how much this blog blesses me. I hope and pray this blog blesses you, too. I look forward to embarking in 2017 with you—slightly sleep-deprived, a touch stressed and deeply rooted in the love only found in the Lord Jesus Christ.