Sure, everyone gets stressed from time to time – these days it’s often from moment to moment – but we don’t have to STAY stressed. Not if we have the right motivation and tools to decom-stress.
I was delighted when a faithful reader from Michigan called me a few weeks ago to request that I hop a plane to bring this very message of hope to a group of health care professionals comprised of facility administrators, clinical and operations leaders, executive directors, and DONs (Directors of Nursing). Sadly, previous commitments prevented me from going the day of their scheduled conference, but I snagged some studio time to record the message on video so I could be there in vinyl if not in person. (BTW, if you know of a group in your area looking for an inspirational speaker, please put in a good word for me – I do live whenever possible, prerecorded, or Zoom presentations!)
Okay, let me tell you, after ten takes just to get the Intro nailed, I decided I’d best not quit my day job to pursue becoming another Barbara Walters. Yikes! Talk about stressful – we have a hilarious outtake of me bursting into tears after yet another faux pas tongue twister. I prefer my quiet little writing cave any day over lights, camera, action!
Anyway, I thought you might enjoy an excerpt from my presentation relating three Stress Busters – I cover five in my presentation and even more in my book, but I like to keep my blog posts short and sweet. These Stress Busters are simple but effective techniques from my book Too Blessed to be Stressed: Inspiration for Climbing Out of Life’s Stress-Pool (*note the new cover!) – that help us find our limits, set healthy parameters, and boost our body’s stress resilience. I’d love to hear your comments below!
Okay, here goes:
Stress Buster #1: Add yourself to your daily to do list.
Schedule (yes, actually add yourself to your calendar!) fifteen minutes twice a day to revive, regroup and regenerate. Remove yourself from the everyday stress source, even if it means just stepping into the quiet bathroom or outside for a few minutes. (At work, I used to walk a quick lap around the parking lot; at home I hop on my bake or take a prayer walk.) Do something to distance yourself to decom-stress. Air out your brain. Sing along to your fave praise music. Read an inspirational novel or magazine. Simply suck in some therapeutic silence. Whatever helps you chill. And don’t take no for an answer when other more “important” activities try to crowd you out (and they will). Remember, you’re important!
Stress Buster #2: Simplify.
Does your to-do list overwhelm you? Do you continually take on new projects that require time and energy you simply don’t have? Are you always doing this, going there, getting that done? All that do-do-do only results in calendar constipation. Those squares on your calendar get plugged up, choked, clogged. And there’s only one surefire way to cure calendar constipation: An Activities Enema. To do this, you must first visit your He-and-Me place and ask Papa God to help you discern your top 3 priorities for this season in your life (your priorities will change as your life seasons change). Figure out the the most important 3 assignments He has given you as ministries and ruthlessly slash all activities not conducive to those 3 priorities off your calendar. Yes, it’s hard. Really hard. But simplifying your schedule will give you breathing space in the margins of your day and exponentially decrease your stress.
Stress Buster #3: Remember WHO is in control!
This is the biggest decom-stressor of all! Commit Philippians 4:6-7 to memory and recite it every time you feel the hot stress lava begin to bubble in your innards and threaten to erupt: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Honestly, since I realized this passage is the key to finding personal peace amidst the chaos of our world, the covenant it contains has become my ROCK.
Yes, I said covenant. A covenant is an agreement between two parties: If you do this, I’ll do that. In this peace promise, Papa God covenants with us that if we come to Him in: 1) prayer and 2) thanksgiving, He’ll give us: 1) His supernatural peace and 2) contentment. He’ll provide us with His powerful peace that surpasses all understanding and is not dependent on our circumstances. And in the midst of whatever mess we find ourselves, He promises to keep our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. That’s contentment, my friend. The kind of contentment in which we can access true peace.
May I share my acronym for peace with you?
A: Aggravation at
C: Christ’s feet,
Expectantly? What are we expecting? That Papa God will keep His part of the covenant He has offered us – to provide us with His supernatural peace, not the temporary kind the world gives while the sun is shining and birds are singing (although who doesn’t want that?), but the deeper kind we can’t really explain but know firsthand that is undeniably gifted to us when we need it most. When circumstances are at their worst and our stress is at its highest.
I absolutely know this peace promise to be true. I tap into Papa God’s supernatural peace all the time by intentionally fulfilling my part of the covenant. Then He does what only He can do. It’s the only thing that has sustained me during the past few years of illness, loss, fear, financial upheaval, social, political and racial unrest … when our world has flipped upside down. (I’ll stop here so it doesn’t get too long.)
Dearest BFF (Blessed Friend Forever), I hope that you’ll take the gutsy move to bust up some of your own stress by tapping into it too.
Say, what kind of stress are you currently dealing with, my friend? How can your community of BFFs pray for you?