Last Sunday I co-hosted my church’s online worship and conversation as usual. Everything went smoothly, but afterward I felt agitated and stressed out. Not because of any technical glitches. Not because of anything anyone said or did. Not because I was thinking about anything in particular. But just because.
And I know I’m not alone. Whatever our particular situations, many of us find ourselves struggling, striving, and stressing out. To de-stress we can pray; take some slow, deep breaths; have something to eat; drink some water; go for a walk; take a nap; watch a video; call a friend—and I did all those things last Sunday afternoon.
Today I’d like to share a few more ideas to de-stress from a new ebook: 21 Five-Minute Soul-Rest Practices For When You Find Yourself Comparing, Striving, Stressing Out, or Generally Feeling Like a Failure by Sharla Fritz. Thank you, Sharla, for permission to share this excerpt, and dear readers, just click here to get your free ebook with all twenty-one soul-rest practices.
When You Find Yourself Stressing Out
Excerpted from 21 Five-Minute Soul-Rest Practices by Sharla Fritz, used with permission
Write down every aggravation, worry, and pressure point. The act of emptying out your overactive mind onto a piece of paper will release some of the stress. But you can do even more. God’s Word invites us to bring every problem to Him: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). Pray over each item on your list, unloading each challenge and difficulty into the Father’s hands.
Call a friend. God asks us to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). Text or call a friend and share whatever is weighing you down and frazzling your soul. Ask her to pray with you. Just a short conversation and a time of prayer can calm your spirit.
Clean clutter. Sometimes clutter can be the source of stress. Set a timer for five minutes and use that short time to clear your desk or pick up toys. With each item, thank God for the person or work that item represents.
Slow down. Proverbs 19:2 warns against the danger of hurry, “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.” When we feel stressed, we often operate at the fastest speed possible in order to get everything done. But that can lead to more tension, anxiety, and even mistakes. So for your next task, slow down and practice being present for a few minutes. If you’re at work, truly pay attention to the person you’re talking with. If you’re chopping vegetables for dinner, notice the colors and textures God created. If you’re folding laundry, thank the Father for providing clothes and the person who wears each item. Staying in the moment can change your perspective and lower your stress.
Make a list of small treats that you enjoy. God has given us many wonderful gifts that improve our lives in small ways. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” Make a list of simple joys that uplift your heart: a caramel latte, a cup of white peach herbal tea, a piece of dark chocolate, listening to a worship song, reading a psalm, coloring in your journaling Bible. Make a point of enjoying one of these simple pleasures every day, thanking God for His good and perfect gifts.
I’m grateful for Sharla both as a friend and writer. You’ll see from some of her books on my site that we write on some common themes: Enough for Now: Unpacking God’s Sufficiency and Waiting: A Bible Study on Patience, Hope, and Trust. Her newest book is an eight-week Bible study, Measured by Grace: How God Defines Success. For more on Sharla and discovering soul rest, check out her website, where you can also get your free copy of 21 Five-Minute Soul-Rest Practices.
Writing/Reflection Prompt: What helps you de-stress?
For more on writing and other acts of faith,