At one of Parakaleo’s early training events, we came up with a mnemonic device to help us remember some components of healthy living for a profession that can suck us dry. Obviously, we could add more, but when living with stress we need simple. So here you have it. Our Five S’s that can be listed on one hand.

Sun

While you might enjoy a good tan, we’re referring to the effects of light. Are you happier in the summer? I am! If you struggle with seasonal affective disorder, you know the impact dark winters can have. When you’re under stress, ask yourself if you’re getting enough sun. Apply the sunscreen and get outdoors for ten to twenty minutes a day.

Sleep

Learn how much sleep you need to function optimally. When living with stress, recognize that you’ll need more sleep. During radiation treatment for cancer, I slept 14 hours a night! I struggled with the reality of that need then, and now, seven years later, I still need about 9 hours a night. I’ve probably always needed more sleep than most people, but I tried to tough it out and I burned out instead. My reasons for working too hard and not taking care of myself came from my idolatries. Success was too important to me. While I blamed my lack of sleep on season of life (raising babies), the truth was that I had to do it all and be all for all people.

Silence

Regardless of the season of life, this can be especially hard to find. I had young kids in a big city. Consider pockets of time where you can be quiet, without media or others talking. As a young mom, the bathroom was my solution, and if I had five minutes of quiet, that was amazing. I instituted nap times for all our kids regardless of age. They didn’t have to sleep but were supposed to entertain themselves silently. The ticking alarms worked until our youngest figured she could just turn the handle and tell me her time was up. At three years old, she removed the screens from the windows and tried jumping. This is when I broke my promise of not raising my kids in front of a screen.

Solitude

I have plenty of options to find silence and solitude in this season of life, but I most often choose to keep working, keep talking, and filling my quiet spaces with media. My desire isn’t to follow a rigid plan but to practice rhythms of silence and solitude that keep me rejuvenated. With silence and solitude, prayer and scripture reading become a two-way conversation.

Sexercise– okay, that’s tacky. But we couldn’t think of an S word that increases endorphins. Sex and exercise does both so we’re sticking with it.

Even mnemonic devices don’t serve my memory as well as they should. Still, I thought I had this one down until I decided to make a recording while we were on vacation. Check the blooper version at the top of the page.

So how about you? What keeps you rejuvenated when living with stress?

Shari