I don’t know about you, but as a Christian involved in both business and ministry and with the usual responsibilities of family life, I can often find the pressures of life mounting up. It’s all too easy to let those feelings of overwhelm take over!
Lately, (and strangely just as I’ve been in the middle of a 40-day period of resting in God and intentionally carving out extended periods of time to wait on Him), I have felt the physical effects of stress in my body more than I have in quite a while. It’s been an uncomfortable reminder to employ some of the simple strategies I’ve learned over the years to manage those pesky feelings and stay focused on what God is saying to me.
Do You Worry?
I’m not a worrier and don’t tend to think of myself as one who gets easily stressed, but I’ve heeded the early warning signs that often show up in physical form and it’s helped to get back on track. On that topic, we’re nearing the end of World Mental Health Awareness Month and this time last year I wrote about how I finally gave myself permission to quit playing Wonder Woman and how I learned that admitting you’re struggling doesn’t make you a failure. You’re welcome to go read it HERE. It’s a great reminder to us all.
It doesn’t take long to get bogged down with all of the tasks we have on our plate and all things vying for our attention. I wrote an article yesterday about how to clear the mental clutter and live with more purpose and clarity. If you’re feeling like a de-clutter is in order, you should check it out HERE. There’s a link in there to a FREE downloadable ‘Chaos to Calm’ resource I created too!
3 Simple Strategies
There is no one-size-fits-all answer here, but here are three daily practices that have worked for me. If you’re going through a stressful period in your life, then I think they’ll help you too:
#1 — Practice Intentionality
This is all about living with purpose and making sure that you’re spending your time, energy, and resources wisely. It’s about being conscious of the decisions you make, the commitments you take on, and how much time you’re devoting to certain areas of life. Set aside some time each day to check in with yourself and be honest about what works and what needs adjusting.
I’ve noticed that when I’m intentional about taking steps to reduce stress, it doesn’t take very long for me to feel the effects and make progress. It doesn’t have to be a hugely complicated plan or even a set routine of activities; just some simple steps, like taking a few deep breaths and reciting some verses of Scripture, can make a big difference.
#2 — De-clutter Your Mind
This can be a physical de-cluttering as well as mental! It’s easy to let our thoughts become overwhelmed with to-do’s and worries, so it’s important to get rid of the mental distractions and create space for those more calming and peaceful thoughts. I do this by writing down in black and white everything that’s on my mind; that way I can get it out of my head and onto paper, where I can review it with a clear perspective.
Another way to de-clutter my mind has been to be very intentional with my prayer life. In recent weeks this has been vital! I always start by praying through my anxieties and worries, asking God to provide clarity on what needs to be done each day. Then I go through my schedule and work out the best way to manage those tasks in the most calm, stress-free way possible.
A prayer journal is a great tool to help with this, as it helps you to write down your worries and concerns, take them to God in prayer, and then refocus back on the present. I can highly recommend this Prayer Journal for Women: 52 Week Scripture, Devotional, & Guided Prayer Journal . A friend bought me a copy last Christmas as a gift and I love it!
#3 — Rest
This is one of the most overlooked illness prevention tactics! And yet it’s key for managing stress and avoiding burnout. We live in a world that loves to celebrate hustling, but after learning the hard way I’m really not a believer in the hustle-and-grind mentality. Instead, I’ve realised the importance of taking regular breaks and making sure that I have enough rest. And, I firmly believe that God honors rest as part of a committed life centered around Him. With Him at the center and time spent with Him given priority over all else, I find that everything else falls into place and I can live in a place of ease and flow rather than stressing and striving!
As Christians, we were created to soar — not to strive. It’s a much better way to live and it leads to far less stress and overwhelm in life, as well as yielding much more fruit.
You can read more about that HERE.
Over To You
Have you found yourself in a situation of overwhelm or stress?
Are there any strategies that you have found helpful in reducing your levels of stress and overwhelm? I’d love to hear more about what’s worked for you so please do leave a comment and let me know.
I hope the strategies I’ve shared today prove to be helpful to you, and that you find yourself in a more peaceful place as a result. Remember — keep it simple. Just a few small adjustments can make a huge difference!
Until next time, I pray for God’s peace to guard your heart and mind.
Take care! :)