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5 Ways to Destress in this Mess

The world may feel like it’s spinning even faster these days, but your mind doesn’t have to.  At a time when there’s so much going on, no one has been immune to the varying degrees of stress.  I know recently I’ve had to take several of these tips into consideration and they worked, which is why I can confidently share them with you!

When life feels heavy, when unknowns feel daunting, here are just five things that hopefully will help turn your day, week, or even hour around!

1. Read What’s True.  

2 Corinthians 4:18 says, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  Need to read that one again?  When we go to the word we are reminded with truth that allows us to cling to what is true, focus on what matters and bring life into perspective.  When I go to the word I often start in the Psalms.  I like the reminder of knowing others have called out to God and I love the promises I read there too.  Psalm 73 has been a long time favorite of mine and with great conviction I can read verse 26, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

2. Worship

When my heart is overwhelmed here’s what happens: “Alexa, play Praise and Worship.”  I’m not living a life that lets me take a day off and my guess is that you aren’t either.  People depend on you at work, at home, or both.  Vacating when we’re feeling stressed while on paper may sound like the ticket, in reality it is not.  So, I sing.  Much to the embarrassment of my kids I lift my voice and worship in the car.  I turn it up and let the words others have written become my prayer when I’m not sure where to begin.  In a lot of ways worship is our battle cry.  It’s a plea for help and after a few good tunes my heart is in a much better place.

3. Exercise!

Whether we want to hear this one or not, we know it’s true!  Raising our heart rate and getting some endorphins going easily lifts our mood.  We feel ready to tackle life again and often with a much clearer mind.  My husband likes to take to his road bike for a ride while I enjoy a long pilates session.  Whether you love to be dripping in sweat or would rather have a long meditative exercise time, work it into your schedule.  Make it a priority once a week, then twice, then three times.  Our bodies are funny things.  You’ll find yourself coming back for more because we were made to move and it helps our stress levels so much when we do!

4. Talk to a friend

Connection!  Nope, not through your phone.  If possible, get together with a friend.  Go for a walk, have a cup of tea.  If in-person meetings aren’t possible, set a phone date, brew your coffee and do a video call.  We were made for connection.  Give yourself bonus points if during your time catching up with a friend you don’t talk about some outside sources that may be bringing you stress.  Be okay with having some subjects be off topic!  I know for me not all of my friends share the same religious or political views but there are far more things that we can talk about!

5. Hit Pause.  

It’s okay to turn off notifications for a day, maybe even a weekend.  

Did you read that?  You can turn off all the notifications on your phone and I’d recommend that you do!  Maybe you don’t need to see all the news pop-up onto your screen.  Maybe you need to set nighttime mode to start much earlier than when you go to sleep.  Maybe you need to turn off notifications for your favorite social media apps.  Less pings means less demands on you.  Get this; you’ll find out that things can wait.  You can let your mind truly rest and re-train yourself that you don’t need to be reaching for your phone every few minutes.  In his book The Tech Wise Family, Andy Crouch reminds us that it’s possible to take a break from technology one hour a day, one day a week, and one week a year.  Recommendations like these remind me how good the 90’s were.  Take me back!  

Whether you choose to do all five or just two, don’t skim over these tips. There’s much rest and revitalization that can happen when we take a break, connect with others, praise, read the truth, and yes, move our bodies! 

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