Any kind of ministry is stressful. There is always something waiting to be done, someone you need to contact, a schedule to prepare, a meeting to attend, and the list goes on an on. When you add to that the normal stresses of life and family, you can easily feel overwhelmed. For me, there is an added component in that I have a neuromuscular disorder that will flair up if I am under too much stress. So believe me when I say that it is important that you find ways to relieve stress because it can do a lot of damage to your physical and mental well being. I am not a doctor, but because of my own situation, I have had to find things that help me relieve stress in order to be able to function normally. So below are a few things that have helped me to keep my stress levels at a reasonable level. Perhaps they can be of use to you as well.
Remember Who is really in charge
We often try to do everything ourselves. We want all our ducks in a row and when things don't go according to plan we can get very put out. But, here is the thing, no matter how much we try to control everything around us, there is always going to be something else that we wish we could change or that we wish were different. Keep reminding yourself that God is in charge and you are a tool for Him to use, but you are not the whole toolbox. You are not meant to do everything. Keep up with your devotions and prayer time so that you keep your focus on the right things. This one thing, in itself, will do wonders for keeping your stress levels at bay.
Take your day off
I have mentioned this is other blogs, but it is too important not to repeat. You are not superhuman and your body needs time to rest. So, make sure you take your day off. And make sure that at least part of that day is indeed restful. I know people who pack so much into their "day off" that it's actually more busy than a work day. Those are fine sometimes because, after all, there are things that must be done, but being overly busy on every day off is not giving your body and mind the rest it needs. If nothing else, set aside a couple hours for something that you enjoy and find restful. That will be different for everyone. Some people love gardening and find it refreshing and rejuvenating to do so. For others, being in a garden is just hard work. Similarly, for some sitting down and reading a book or watching a tv show is relaxing, but for others, they need to be moving to be able to relax. The important thing is that you find something that you find restful and make sure to include that into your schedule regularly.
Laughter is a great stress reliever. Take the time to laugh with your family and friends. Life is a serious prospect, but don't be too serious. Have fun.
Find a hobby
This sort of goes back to taking your day off, but it is important that there is something you like to do that is outside of work and family. Whether it is bicycling, reading, fishing, playing a video game, or some other activity, it is important that you have a hobby that you can do to unwind.
Our friends are an important part of our lives. Don't let your friendships continually take the backseat in your life. There are three or four women in my life who are my confidants and supporters, but are also willing to tell me what I need to hear even when I don't want to hear it. It is important that I stay connected to those women. You don't have to see people every day to keep a friendship strong. Two of my very closest friends live literally hundreds of miles from me, but because of phone calls, texts, and social media, we are as close as we ever were. Don't let friendships fall by the wayside. They are vital to our well being.
Everyone deals with stress a bit differently, but hopefully these tips are as helpful to you as they have been to me.
Until next week!