It’s crazy! The more I talk with people and get to know them, I find that everyone’s life is full. Our world seems to be more and more frantic. And as our peace is disturbed, we loose the little joys in the day. So I thought, I would put together a list of a few of my favorite tips for managing stress for you.
A Little About Me
I’m a perfectionist. I love making lists. I’m also pretty ambitious at times.
All those are great qualities to have and I’m proud of them! And most of the time having all those qualities works out pretty well.
The problem with that combo is that I set myself up to fail. On a good day, everything is checked off the to-do list. On a not-so-great day, my unchecked to-dos only show that I’m not perfect and leaves me feeling like a failure. Like I couldn’t even check off a few simple to-dos that should have only taken a few minutes.
A little more about me: I’m not a night owl. I get tired easily. And there is no way I can work on anything too thinky later than 8pm.
I feel like managing stress is something I can speak into right now. This is the last week before my busy season kicks into full gear and my daily to-do list seems to beat me up all the time.
I can easily feel stressed, overwhelmed, and defeated, when I think of all that needs to be done and all I didn’t do today.
Having been extremely sick and having tons of anxiety years ago, managing extreme stress is something that isn’t new to me, but it is something I have learned to deal with and have gained some healthy perspective on. And I want you to know how to manage stress in a healthy way too. A way that allows you to still feel peaceful, rested, and empowered to get things checked off so that your world can be peaceful even in the busy seasons.
Managing Stress Tips #1: ‘Self-Care’ Makes All the Difference
As Christians so many of us have different views on how we feel about the idea of self-care. Some feel that we are called to love and serve others, while taking up our cross and in a way sacrificing ourselves. The thought of self-care makes so many cringe and almost angry.
Nancy Ray just shared a podcast all about self-care (you can listen to it HERE). She does a nice job of addressing the controversy on whether self-care is right or wrong as a Christian. She looks at what the bible says and offers a new way for you to look at it.
I think when it comes to managing stress, how you take care of yourself makes all the difference. You can’t give from an empty well. So, to some degree self-care should be a necessity.
Your body was designed to need replenishing. Our bodies run out and need to be refilled. So often, we let taking care of ourselves fall to the sidelines. We focus on the deadlines, saying yes to other people, and getting things done, while feeling rushed and behind.
When we do this, we actually only add more stress to ourselves. We feel like there is no time to eat well, exercise, and sleep because we have so much, we need to do. Naturally, we feel like if we just pound through the things that need to be done right away our stress will be less.
But when you first make sure you are well rested and healthy; you take the physical stress off your body. And you are able to work through the to-dos much quicker and effectively, while avoiding complete burn out. It seems backwards, but you’d be surprised at how it works so much better than the other way around.
Managing Stress Tip #2: Eat Good, Clean Food
I remember studying late into the night and eating peanut butter m&m’s to try and keep me awake.
Looking back, I can see how ineffective the whole situation was. I was trying to cram studying in last minute (basically force feeding my brain information, it couldn’t take in), late at night (again, not a night owl), while eating food that was only adding more stress on my body.
I think it is a natural tendency to eat comfort food when feeling stressed. But eating food that isn’t good and clean food that your body can’t process, weakens your immune system. It adds physical stress, and doesn’t allow your body to optimize at its best. Especially when you already are busy, eating poorly only increases your chances of experiencing complete burn out sooner.
If you are looking for healthy recipes that support your body’s health, I would highly recommend you look into Danielle Walker’s recipes. Plus, she has some amazing comfort meals and everything of hers taste soo good!
Managing Stress Tip #3: Put it on the Shelf & Get A Good Night’s Sleep
I learned this years ago when life seemed completely overwhelming. I found that I would become extra stressed at night. And not just about big things that needed to be done first thing in the morning, but even simple little tasks seemed to stress me out. It felt like they were massive and there wasn’t enough time to do it all.
The problem was that my mind would race at night with all that needed to be done and my body was too tired physically to even comprehend it. This just created more stress.
Overtime I have found that I have great energy in the morning (which is one of the reasons I love waking up early). If I could almost set the stressful to-dos on a shelf in my mind and tell myself to stop worrying about them for the night, I would wake up in the morning well rested mentally. Not only that but my body would be physically rested and the to-dos that felt massive and so burdening the night before would become doable and simple again.
I think this is how I was able to manage keeping up with a full load of college classes while finishing up my senior year of high school. So many people would stay up late trying to get everything done last minute, while I would go to bed and get a good night’s sleep. I would wake up feeling good and was able to do all the work so much more effectively. And not only that but when it came to studying, my brain was so rested that it was able to take in the information so much quicker. (More sleep and better grades… sounds like a win to me!)
So, if you’re feeling stressed… Put all your thoughts on the shelf, if you will. Go to bed. Get a good night’s sleep. Everything is manageable in the morning.
Managing Stress Tip #4: Learn How to Manage Your Time Well
This blog was really more focused on how to keep the stress at bay and make sure you don’t burn out in the midst of full seasons. If you would like to know more of the practical ways, I get things done effectively, you can read all about my best time management tips HERE.
I hope this blog is helpful for you! There is a lot in this blog and I get it your life is already full. I would encourage you to try and implement just one of these tips at time. Micro changes lead to macro results. And busy seasons are just seasons, life will slow down again eventually.