by Linda Goldfarb
Too often we are frantic to speed things up, determined to cram big things into small spaces, and forever trying to be everything to everyone, only to realize it’s an impossible task, leaving us frustrated and stressed out. Let’s look at some principles of Christian emotional wellness.
I’m reminded in Isaiah 58:11, “The Lord will guide you always… You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” We are to lean on God in all things, as He will provide all of our needs. I wanted to share these “stress reducers.”
(1) Pray often, multiple times a day. I have found, if we limit our relationship with God to a once or twice a day experience we miss out on a continual flow of His Grace and blessing. Prayer is communication with God, a way to develop a relationship. If we only speak to Him once a day, how can we truly know Him?
(2) Make your daily resting-goal a minimum of seven hours of uninterrupted sleep. We don’t need studies to prove lack of sleep results in a less than desired effect on our health, work, and relational habits. We must be refreshed to be refreshment to others.
(3) Say “No” more often. Burning the candle at both ends has become an acceptable pastime for all “Good Christians.” But living a multiple-wick life leads to early burn out. Getting our priorities straight — God, family, job, and other – will help in choosing which wicks to light.
(4) Delegation makes others stronger. Sure, you can choose to make yourself solely responsible for every detail of life in your house, or you can delegate tasks to capable others; your strength is seen in your weakest link. Teach the kids to set and clear the table, fold laundry, water the garden–any chore appropriate for their age and ability. Most important, don’t stress out if they don’t do it exactly “your” way.
(5) Simplify and downsize your life, office, and closets. Keep, store, or give away – repeat every six months.
(6) Stop using credit cards. It’s easy to whip out a credit or debit card for all those little purchases in life, but the statements at the end of the month can be major stressors. Instead, designate a cash amount for your weekly quick-spends (maybe $30) and leave the credit/debit cards at home.
(7) Do something just for fun at least once a week. Movies, fishing, time with the grandkids, garage sales, date night, the zoo, painting furniture — whatever works.
(8) Incorporate at least 30 minutes of accumulated physical activity a day*. I really believe stress can’t live in an active body. I don’t have scientific proof, unless you count my soon to be 97-year-old mother-in-law: Cancer survivor, avid gardener (used a powerless push-mower for more than 50 years), walks one to two miles a day, and plays one mean piano for church, for her apartment complex, and for family.
(9) Journal your thoughts. Use a journal to reflect, share, and recognize the positives God is doing daily in your life. Stress can consume our thoughts with what if’s and why not’s. If we make a conscious effort to pen the positives, we can loose the grip of daily stress.
(10) Talk less; listen more. We have two ears, one mouth – there’s a reason.
Allowing these simple changes to incorporate positive choices in your life will open doors of opportunity for you to shine as a child of the King. This is your time of change – embrace it!