It’s how we define ourselves. It’s how we describe our lives. But should it be this way?
Whether it’s because life is spinning too fast with no margin built in, or because of circumstances that are out of our control, stress is what we feel. We might say it’s even unavoidable. But that doesn’t mean it’s not manageable. We can, and should, take steps to manage and reduce the stress in our lives.
10 Stress Management Tips
1. Leave it at the Cross
You may not feel like you have the time to slow down and meet with the Lord, but hit the pause button on life for five minutes to simply leave at the foot of the cross the burdens you feel weighing you down. Close your eyes and visualize what it looks like for the Lord to carry this load for you. Read a passage from Scripture and meditate on that truth instead.
2. Know Thy Self
Spend time getting to know your God-given wiring so that you can come up with healthy ways to manage your emotional and physical response to stress. Take the time to discover your personality, core values, and core beliefs, in order to identify healthy ways for YOU to respond according to your wiring. (If this process seems daunting to you to do alone, we can tackle it together in a couple of coaching sessions.)
3. Sleep is Sacred
Staying awake longer will not bring perspective or resolution to your stress, whereas a good night of sleep will give your body the best type of rejuvenation it needs. What can you do to turn in a little earlier? How can you make your evening routine more relaxing? Maybe clearing the clutter from your bedroom? Getting off the screens an hour before going to bed? Using essential oils to bring about relaxation? (Feel free to ask me about the oils I’m using!)
4. Food is Fuel
Whatever junk goes in will do more than lead to junk in your trunk (ahem, backside). A sugar loaded, high-fat diet will drain your energy supply and affect your ability to concentrate. So choose whole foods over fast foods when stress is chasing you down.
4. Move it, Move it, Move it!
Yes, exercise will reduce your stress. No, you don’t have to start an abs of steel workout this week, but get up and walk around the block. Skip the elevator and burn off your stress heading up the stairs. When you engage your body, you actually engage your mind and reduce your level of stress.
5. Skip the Screen
If stress is making your heart and mind race, step away from the screens of endless information. Skip Facebook for the next 24 hours, walk away from Twitter, put a hold on Instagram, stop browsing the internet, and turn off the TV. Avoid your usual online and entertainment habit, which only numbs you out and causes you to fall behind on life. When you feel stressed out, replace unnecessary screen time with an activity that causes your body to move or rest in silence.
6. Silence the Noise
Speaking of silence, turn off the noise. If you’re a smartphone user, turn off the notifications. If you’re on the computer for work purposes, shut down email for the time you’re concentrating on a project to minimize the distractions. Minimize the input to reduce your stress level.
7. Simplify the Schedule
When “stressed out” describes your state, put the brakes on your schedule and look for places to simplify. Ask yourself, “What does NOT have to be done right now?” If you feel guilty, put it on the calendar for another day. Then leave it there and move onto the essentials.
8. Cultivate Community
Are you stressed out because you’re functioning all alone? Please don’t be afraid to ask for help! We are designed by God to need one another. And we each have a deep need to be needed. Yes, that’s a lot of needing! So let go of your pride and need to be in control, and let others step in to help you and serve you the best they can.
9. Create Healthy Boundaries
Have you said yes too many times to too many people? Oh sister, we all struggle with this and find ourselves stressed out as a result. It may be too late to back out now, but put a “no” policy in place for the next three weeks until you can re-evaluate whether that seemingly important thing is really so urgent or truly in desperate in need of you after all.
10. Check Your Beliefs
Did you know that often our stress level rests in our beliefs? Yes, ma’am. See, we get this idea in our head about a standard we must achieve, a level we must keep, a behavior we must display, and in our attempt to measure up to this invisible bar, we stress ourselves right out of emotional health. When are you feel stressed, ask yourself, “Where is this coming from? Is it a matter of my mindset? Is this feeling true according to Scripture?” Don’t be afraid to ask a mentor, friend, counselor, or your life coach to help you process through your beliefs in search of God’s truth. You might also want to consider enrolling in the Infuse Life Transformation Course, built on the principles found in Meet the New You. This course will help you get your beliefs in line with the truth and discover habits that lead to experiencing an abundant life.
Stress isn’t your identity. It’s your experience. And you can change your experience.
I pray these simple but practical steps bring a sense of peace back into your life.
If you need help in cultivating the kind of skills and habits to manage your stress, I’d be happy to talk with you about how life coaching can help. Together we’ll pick a coaching program that works best for you.