I have always been highly strung. I could get my knickers in a knot about something when I am relaxing at home, watching TV. Yeah, folks, that’s me. So, while for me personally the “reduce stress” may not be that applicable (although I could always do with some reduction in stress), I need to focus my energies on the living calmly part. I know, that for myself, I could be in the most tranquil setting, and still feel anxious because anxiety is an issue that I battle with.
I cannot let that get its ugly grips into my family life.
So, I need to focus on living more calmly.
And putting my anxiety aside, we live in a fast paced, hectic world today, and we are all trying to be superhuman in what we do – whether at work, or at home, or parenting our children, or being the perfect wife to our husbands… Sometimes it is all just too much. And we need to learn just a little to accept things as they are. I mean, dropping my daughter off at holiday club and arriving about two minutes late for work is not the end of the world. And it actually couldn’t be helped. So stressing and feeling all anxious about it isn’t going to help the situation or myself.
How do you feel most days? Calm, focused and purposeful? Stressed, scattered and distracted? Or something in between? Many women yearn for calm but feel stressed, as if they’re being pulled in a dozen directions. They aspire to a peaceful home, an organized office, a manageable schedule and a little time to relax with their families, but instead find that they’re running on empty, trying to do entirely too many tasks each day. If that’s the way you feel, here are some ideas for reducing stress and living more calmly.
- Infuse your day with prayer. Spend some time just being quiet before God – calming your soul, refreshing and rejuvenating your spirit.
Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our High Tower and Stronghold). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! —Psalm 46:10–11
One of the reasons so many of us are burned-out and stressed-out is that we don’t know how to be still—to “know” God and “acknowledge” Him. When we spend time with Him, we learn to hear His voice. When we acknowledge Him, He directs our paths. If we don’t spend time being still, getting to know Him, and hearing His voice, we will operate from our own strength in the flesh. We need to learn to be quiet inside and stay in that peaceful state so that we are always ready to hear the Lord’s voice. Many people run from one thing to the next. Because their minds don’t know how to be still, they don’t know how to be still. At one time, I felt I had to find something to do every evening. I had to be involved and on the go, being a part of whatever was going on. I didn’t want anything to go on that I didn’t know about. I was not a human being; I was a human doing. (Joyce Meyer)
Lord, teach me how to be still before You and actually “know” that You are God. Help me to be quiet inside and hear Your voice. Amen.
- Set priorities. Even in the most hectic and busy of households, there is always opportunity to weedle out what is not important and to focus on the more important issues. For us, it is very important to me that we have time together as a family, and for hubby and I to have some alone time at the end of the evening.
- Calibrate your expectations. Once you’ve identified your priorities, set realistic expectations.
- Manage your family’s schedule. You can’t do everything. Somethings are a go – and some you just have to say no to. It is very important to hubby and I that Baby Girl has friends – being a singleton, we need to make sure she grows up with peers around her that will make being a singleton easier for her. So our schedule largely involves activities that will allow that (including going to Cape Town so that Baby Girl can play with her cousins who live there).
- Organize the things that create stress in your life. I feel so much more stressed when I don’t have things in an organised way that makes sense to my little brain. For example, I need to clear out Baby Girl’s cupboards. They are a mess and I need to clear out old toys (after all, Father Christmas is coming soon, isn’t he). Do it all one little step at a time, but make sure it gets done. It will help reduce those feelings of stress.
- Practice health habits that reduce stress and increase calm. The way you treat your body influences your stress level. If you treat your body poorly, you’re more likely to feel stressed and worn out. And your risk of getting sick increases. So take care of the body God gave you! Exercise regularly – walking 30 minutes a day improves your fitness and reduces your stress. Eat more real foods – processed and fast foods don’t provide all the nutrients your body needs, and they introduce chemicals and preservatives it definitely doesn’t need. And get enough sleep. Almost everyone needs 7-8 hours each night. Try these healthy habits for several weeks – I think you’ll feel more relaxed and energetic.
Fawn Weaver on her website, Happy Wive’s Club, has a series called 21 Days to a Happier You – I would highly recommend you read and follow that series as well. You will find it most beneficial and it will give you practical habits that you can incorporate into your daily life that will aide not only you, but your hubby and family as well.