Life can get so overwhelming and stress always seems to creep it's way in. I have been on the search to reduce stress and have found many helpful tips along the way! Here are 7 ways that you can combat stress:
1. Wake up early
I know mornings are a dangerous time zone for some and I understand the struggle. I was never the type to wake up earlier then 8:30, but recently I have been easing my way into waking up earlier and earlier. Mornings have become a special time for me, because I am able to exercise, meditate on Gods word, and not rush out the door. By waking up a few hours before you leave for the day, you can enjoy the day feeling prepared and refreshed.
2.Eating well and Exercising
Eating well and exercising in the midst of a busy schedule can be difficult, but it is so important to take care of yourself. If you are able to squeeze in some time to go on a hike or just take your dog on a walk. That small step in slowing down life for a little while could be exactly what you need to relive some of your stress. Eating well is so very important to me, eating processed foods can wear you down and cause more stress. Taking the time to feed your body and give it what it needs will endorse a more stress free life. Don't get me wrong, life is way to short not to eat a donut every once in a while. Everything in moderation!
3. Reward Systems
I teach preschool and I know the value in reward systems. Trust me, jelly beans are my best friend and I find myself constantly bribing my students. Recently it became apparent to me that I was placing a lot of pressure on myself and not letting myself reap the benefits God was providing. I am learning it's okay to rest and reward yourself. Find something you love to do, that doesn't take up a large portions of time, but gives you a few minutes to renew yourself. Grab a Starbucks tea, doodle and listen to fun music. Whatever it is for you, give yourself the time to breath and enjoy life.
4.Time for yourself
Although rewarding yourself can be time to yourself, it doesn't always satisfy your need for reflection. I, like many others was a "yes person". I constantly said yes to tasks that causes stress, fear and anxiety. I hardly ever took time for myself and I was burned out. I know you've heard it before, but it really is okay to say NO! You need to be able to give everything you have to what you dedicate yourself to. Taking time for yourself is an important way to refuel and reflect so that you can be the best version of you. Block out a time in your weekly schedule to evaluate where you are and to just be still. For me it is every Friday morning and I really treasure and keep those hours sacred, because I need that time to rebuild and be still.
5. Make it worth it
We all have those weekly tasks that we dread. I do not look forward to math homework, looking at my grades, and waking up my preschoolers from nap, but unfortunately these things have to be done. The feeling of dread is unpleasant, and not one that God designed for us to bask in. Instead of allowing yourself to dwell on the checklist items you find most displeasing, allow him to work through them. Pray for God to give you the patience and endurance to overcome. Try your best to accomplish these tasks with with joy, for this glorifies the Lord.
Sunday procrastination. Two words we can all relate to. Although I wouldn't consider myself a procrastinator, I always find myself stressed on Sundays. Church became another item on the checklist that I was just itching to finish. During service I noticed myself wanting to rush home study for my Monday quiz, do my laundry and sweep up all the last minute to do's. I realized that I was ignoring one of Gods commandments to take advantage of the day of rest he provided for us and changed my ways. I work as hard as I can to finish my to do list before Sundays. Although, I'm always scrambling to tie up loss ends, I have found such growth in my spiritual life by simply saving Sundays to glorify Jesus. I highly recommend it, starting the week out with a clear mind, a filled heart, and a joyful spirit is the best way to reduce stress.
7. Renew Your mind
Even though it may be obvious, the best way to release stress is to give it to Jesus. When you face extreme anxiety and fear, renew your mind. The evil one prides himself in your fear, don't let him have that glory. Meditate on Gods promises and peace, battle the lies that make you tremble with truth. A wise mentor in my life taught me to gather all of my fear into a ball, and physically throw it back to where it came from (which is no where I ever want to take a part in) . I can't tell you how many times I have been seen throwing an imaginary baseball in public, but the freedom in choosing to believe what is truth is worth it all.
I hope you picked up a few things that make life a little less stressful for you!