Stress Stress Go Away…
Don’t Come Back Another Day!

by | Apr 16, 2024

The stress in my life finally caught up with me.

I find myself at a point of having to take action on the stress in my life, before it creates damage that can’t be undone. Thankfully I’m at the place where I believe  it can be turned around. (And my doctor agrees with that.)

I have never been on any type of medication that is due to lifestyle. Any medication I have been on up until now is something I would have to be on forever unless God healed me. None of it is anything I could ever do anything about, of my own accord. I could lose weight, and exercise faithfully, and none of it would make a difference with all the medication I have taken for many years. All of those medications were due to conditions that were of my control. Until now.

I do not feel hopeless, nor am I giving up when it comes to trying to address the problem through changing my lifestyle. I am simply disheartened that I am to a point of having to take a medication because of something that may be manageable that I simply allowed to get out of control. But I’m  hoping all that is about to change.

Interestingly enough, my doctor put me on the same medication my birth father Gus was on. I find that I have more in common with Gus health wise than I did with my birth mother. I take solace in the fact that Gus lived to 92 years of age. There is a chance that my current condition is hereditary and no matter what I do, the medication will be needed, however, I’m still going to make changes.

Just a little sidebar…

I’m not going to turn this into a “one of the problems with adoption is…” blog post, but I do want to make the point that health information adoptees are given about their birth parents at the ages the parents conceived/birthed them is not good enough. It is woefully inadequate for adoption agencies to give adoptive parents a health history of birth parents and believe that is enough for adoptees.

Think about it…most people don’t have a lot of health problems in their young life. The majority of serious health issues come later in life. All of the things I have suffered with as an adult that my birth parents also suffered with came in the later decades of their lives. All of the information I received from the adoption agency about my birth parents health was from when they were young people. If I would have not reunited with my birth parents, I would know none of the medical history that I really needed.

This is just one of the reasons it’s so important for adoptees to have up to date health information about their birth families and for there to be no secrets. Now that I’m off of that little soapbox for today…

On with the story…

A few weeks ago I thought I had pink eye and asked my eye doctor if I could come in and get some antibiotics for what I was sure I had properly self-diagnosed. Nope. He informed me, this was not pinkeye, it was a blood vessel that had burst due to a blood pressure spike. He said that he was hopeful it would not happen again but if it did we would have to take steps to address it. It cleared up but just a week later, another blood vessel in my eye burst again. This time I not only went back to the eye doctor but to my primary care doctor who discovered that my blood pressure was high (for the first time in my life) and that I would have to (at least temporarily) go on medication for it. During this time I also began to have constant headaches.

I took the prescription and began taking the medication but I also had a little talk with my family to let them know of some changes I needed to make and hoped they would understand. They did. I also began a quest to address stress. I’ve done it before,I just need to get more serious about it now.

CONFESSION: I’m not where I need to be.

Frankly, I feel a bit like a baby starting out.

I’m not an expert.

I’m a fellow traveler, on this life’s journey trying to figure things out.

But I thought I’d share a few things I’m doing to help the situation.

I am reading devotionals based on themes that address stress. 

The You Version Bible App has some great plans that address stress, rest, soul care, etc. I highly recommend it! To find the plans, put words like “stress” or “stress relief” in the search bar. The devotionals have scriptures you can focus in on, in moving forward.

I take short breaks to breathe deeply.

Specifically, I’ve learned to do what is known as breath prayers. These are not “new age” as some might categorize them. They are Biblically centered, and solely focused on the Lord. As I deeply breathe, I recall various scriptures and sometimes softly say them as I breathe in and out. Sometimes if I am overwhelmed too much to call up Scripture, I just say, “Jesus.”  I don’t know about you but I feel better when I just say “Jesus.”

I am faithfully taking the medication prescribed.

I am the type of person who takes my doctor’s advice as best I can. I don’t rebel against professional advice. They have letters behind their name for a reason. I’m doing all that I can to help the situation but unless and until what I’m doing actually works, I am faithfully taking the medication.

I listen to a Christian sleep meditation app.

This helps me to get to sleep faster. I notice the older I get the more help I need to get there. I know it’s not necessarily more stress (because quite frankly life has always been stressful) but for some reason falling asleep is harder for me these days and I need some help. I listen to something called Abide Sleep Meditation and it really works for me. These are Bible stories and scriptues, spoken in a soft tone with relaxing music and they help you relax.

I’m drinking more water.

My doctor has been trying to get me to drink less Strawberries & Cream Dr. Pepper ZERO, and I guess she’s won this war because for the last several weeks I have hardly consumed it. It’s a real treat now, as compared to the two I was drinking every day. I mostly do unsweetened iced tea and water now, with the occasional Strawberries & Cream Dr. Pepper Zero thrown in. I didn’t think two was really thaaaaaaat bad to begin with but my doctor keeps talking about how zero-calorie sodas still impact your insulin levels. Not that there has been anything wrong with my insulin level now, but she doesn’t want it to start. So I’ve cut back to one or two of these a week versus one or two a day. Getting older is really a beast, isn’t it? We can’t even drink our zero sugar sodas in peace anymore.

I use a massage chair pad.

I ordered this Massage Chair Pad from Amazon and I put it on one of our chairs at home and use it whenever I feel myself getting stressed at home. I get regular massages from Hand and Stone, and this is not anywhere near that level of course, but it is good for in between. I will usually do at least two 15-minute cycles with the massage pad, daily.

I allow myself some rest daily, without guilt.

I am just over being guilty about taking a break. I have been good with this up until now regarding a Sabbath Day or a day off, but not so much on an everyday basis. But no more. It’s happening. The days of hanging on for a “day of rest” are fleeting. There comes a point in every day where I need a break, and also a point where it’s time to hang it up for the day and forget about it. I have learned how important it is for me to stop ruminating for hours about what went wrong at work that day, or how to solve a problem that is going on at work. There does come a moment during the day when you have to hang up your hat and be done until the next day.

I watch a TV show or a movie.

I heard Jennifer Allwood (one of my favorite leaders) say that she can only relax during massages and movies. It’s the time when her brain really can shut off and get some recovery time. I understand this. It’s really hard to shut off the stressful thoughts and it’s a constant battle of taking authority over them. I have never been an excessive person with TV, in fact for most of the years of my life I could have done without a TV or cared less about it. But I do find that immersing myself in a show helps me to let go of what I am thinking about for a while. It’s helpful, to decompress.

I began walking again.

I had stopped for a few days a while back when i wasn’t feeling up to it and just never started again. That can so easily become a habit for me, after I get the flu or a bad cold and I stop walking a few days, I get out of sync. But, I’m back to it again now. It feels good to get out there, and walk. I enjoy outdoor walking and it’s therapeutic for me in more ways than one. I live in a beautiful area and although I can’t entirely consider it what is known as forest bathing, it’s better than being inside.

I am learning about slow living.

Friends have been telling me about the slow living movement. My friend and fellow author Jodi Grubbs is an expert on this. (Jodi is an author with the same literary agency as me — Mary Demuth Literary.) I know this is a key for me. It’s just so antithetical to how I have lived for over five decades, the switch is hard. Nevertheless, I know she and others like her are on to something. They point out — Jesus never hurried anywhere. I recommend Jodi’s book to you. I’m taking it in, too.

I’ve started researching burnout.

I’m pretty sure that is what I am dealing with, and you would think that by this point in my leadership journey I would know all about it, or what to do to overcome it. But, I don’t. So far, the things I am finding that they tell you to do seem unrealistic and I’m just keeping it real that I don’t know how to navigate it. But I figure some baby steps are better than nothing. So, that’s what I’m doing.Some of the podcasts that I am listening to that are helpful are Stress Relief in Your Pocket with the Wellness Theory by Charlotte and Jonathan; The Burnout Doctor Podcast with Dr. Jessica Louie; and The Chronic Fatigue and Burnout Recovery Podcast with Anna Marsh.

To to sum it up…

These are just a few things I began for starters. I am not going to lie and tell you I have done things I have not yet accomplished.

I have not revitalized my diet. (In fact, I’m on vacation this week and probably eating way too much.)Just so you know, this was written and set to publish before I ever left for vacation…I really AM resting this week.

I don’t feel like a new person with a new lease on life. I am not where I need to be. But I’m making steps and I’m on my way.

Maybe you find yourself in a similar place and are unsure of how to move forward. I encourage you, even one small step forward is still a step forward.

You don’t have to conquer the entire problem in a day.

Just take a step.

We can do this, together. We will find our way.


  1. Susan

    Seriously, your posts so often parallel my life. I am dealing with riding myself of stress as well. And some of these things are on my list.

    • Dr. Deanna Shrodes

      It’s not easy but we can do this, sis!

  2. Laura Elizabeth Flora

    Deanna I felt this So Much…..

    I to take after my dad on Alot of health issues …

    Not that I want health issues but if I had to take after one of my parents I’d rather it be Dad…
    I do not want Alzheimer’s like my mom, I have to pray I take after my dad, His mind is still sharp at 90 it’s amazing!

    Your life and My life have So many similarities minus the adoption.

    Whice BTW your side note Is Not A Soapbox, It’s Your life and Your Story, No soapbox about it!
    So that was my side not LoL ….

    I love how our dad’s are so close in age and both from Roanoke Virginia.

    I Love how your mom and dads ages difference is like my parents of 16 years apart……
    I wish my Dad and Gus had known each other They would have been great friends….

    I understand weight problems, I understand blood pressure problems. I was put on the same blood pressure meds as My Dad, SMH…. He didn’t need meds until his 60’s and here
    I needed them at 36
    I know it’s because of my health…. I have
    hypo thyroid issues and it maked it hard to lose weight but the meds they put me on for that made me sick and they had to take me off so
    I just have to fight weight on my own …

    As you can see I am finally doing good in that area now… with my 85 pounds I have Lost in the past 2 years, I am happy to say my blood pressure is finally stable after all these years and I have came off the medicines all together as of a few months ago and I’m doing extremely well without them,
    So It Is Possible ….

    Stress is no fun.
    I’ve been stressed over Alot lately, thinking about my future, worrying about my mom, and my dad…
    Working on and talking about my past, working on paying off my debts, working on my mental and emotional And Physical Health … it’s Alot

    But I don’t have a million other people to take care of like you do at times, I know a million might be stretching it but you do take care of Alot of people other then yourself so I can’t imagine what your stress levels get to at times….

    You are always in my prayers Deanna

    I love you,
    So much!


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