“Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn’t happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice.”
1. Pray. I find it helpful to start my day with prayer. Even if I’m on my pillow and don’t have the energy to get up. Let’s face it, we have days like that. I find that even if I’m in an angry mood, redirecting through prayer helps put things into perspective, sets my priorities, and reminds me of what little strength I really have. At the beginning of the Lord’s prayer, I have a ‘Father in heaven.’ Then I picture this, ‘by His word were the heavens created.” The heavens is a big place, and it takes a Big God to sustain it. Can I? This puts me in my place usually.
2. Go to bed on time. That’s something I need help on. I’m a night owl. I get depressed when I go to bed late and have to get up early. This is an easy point to talk about but hard to incorporate. If I don’t get to bed on time, everything seems harder the next day. Problems loom out of proportion, because I am working on my own and not seeking the help I need from the start.
3. Get up on time. There’s another one that I have a hard time with, but if I do #2, I have a better chance. Having time to read the Bible or helpful Christian books or literature helps me to start the day in a positive attitude.
4. Say No! to projects that won’t fit into your time schedule or that will compromise your mental health. Saying no to someone’s request because you have an overcrowded to-do list or requests that drain you mentally can be hard for a person who doesn’t have boundaries. I’m a people pleaser, one who feels my worth is based on what another person thinks of me. My good performance equals self-worth. I have learned it takes practice to say “no” when it is appropriate. The book above is an excellent help, using scriptures how God views what your mental boundary, where another person begins. Doing things for others is fine, but when it comes to not taking care of what God has given you and losing yourself in the process, it becomes harmful instead of helpful.
5. Delegate tasks to capable others. This applies not only to your children’s need to become responsible adults, but if you are in charge of others at work, etc. We are not God. We can’t do everything for everyone, nor should we. As many of you have noticed in the workplace, we are in short supply of laborers that do anything with ‘all their might.’ This is in many cases, the direct result of parents who try to do everything for their children. Here’s what one article says:
Because today’s moms are wearing so many hats, learning how to delegate tasks is a must. That doesn’t mean it comes easily. Obstacles and nagging doubts crop up: “What if it’s not done right?” “What if asking for help turns me into a nag or a burden?” “Isn’t it just easier to do it myself anyway?” 1
What we don’t realize is that we are actually hurting rather than helping them. We rob our children of the joy of accomplishing a task and feeling the satisfaction of a job well done. We are also negating the feeling of working as a team, the sense of being part of something bigger than self, belonging, feeling that they are a vital part of the family unit, of praise for their accomplishing a job for others (sacrifice – giving – sharing).
It takes time to teach the younger children – say two years olds or so. Have them fold clothes with you and praise them for it. When they creep out of the room, etc, you can always fix it for yourself. This may seem rather silly, but later they will do more and more around the house and will help you manage your stress levels more easily.
6. Simplify and unclutter your life. In the fast-paced affluent countries, we are deluded into thinking more is better – more clothes, entertainment gadgets, nicer car, etc. The only problem is having more than we really need equals more time away from home trying to pay for all this, adding to your stress levels. Do you really need the “latest” computer, TV, new clothes? Why not make a list to see what you “really” need and what just short-living luxuries are.
I hope that I may have given you some helpful tips where you can reduce your stress levels. We’ll be looking at other points that may be helpful in Part II and III.
For Today: Father, we pray that you will give us the wisdom to know how to reduce our stress levels according to your word, to find the balance between living a busy stress-filled life or a peace-filled one, as you have promised.
Matt 11:28 “Come unto me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’
Help us to discern what is needed to become like You, part of your very family, children who are learning Your way, which will produce the peace You have promised. Increase our awareness of what You desire and what we need to do to equip ourselves for Your kingdom, because we know that this is our calling. Help us to show our children the way. Thank You for Your word and steadfast love You have for us and Your unfailing presence to lead us and guide us. Amen