Lives don't only get busy through the holiday season, although that certainly doesn't help in managing your schedule. When you feel as if your calendar is out of control, you get stressed. What can you do to keep your life from spinning out of control? It's called self-care. This is about maintaining balance between the demands, expectations and stresses placed on you by your job, your family and your activities. Faith sets other expectations and demands on your life. If you don't set boundaries with your religious life and practice self-care, you could very easily burn out. Burnout is the result of frustration and exhaustion. You feel hopeless and cynical because you forgot to manage the stress caused by busyness.
Take Care of Yourself
Eat right. Think about your food before ordering and eating. When bodies get stressed, it's easy to eat a whole pizza without even thinking about it. Then you feel bloated and uncomfortable for hours, making you even more stressed. If you do order pizza, set limits on how much you eat. Eat slower and try to include a salad or fruits with the pizza.
Get enough sleep. Easy to say, but not always easy to accomplish. The American Psychological Association reports that even a slight case of sleep deprivation affects your memory and judgment. The problem is that stress makes it more difficult to sleep, which leads you to feel even more stressed. Find a way to break the cycle and get the rest your body needs.
Exercise. Practically everyone tells us that more exercise is needed. There are so many benefits to moving more that we just can't list them all. Find a sport or activity that you enjoy and make time in your schedule for it. Put it in your calendar to make it a priority.
Managing Stress When You Don't Have Much Time
When you don't have a lot of time, you feel more pressured by deadlines and schedules. It can seem counterintuitive, but it's when you're under pressure that you need to take moments that reduce your stress. This lets you concentrate and focus better. Here are a few ideas for when you are pressed for time.
- Stretch at your desk. Every hour, get up and take five minutes to move your muscles. Get a fresh drink of water while you're up.
- On your commute, look for five or six new and beautiful things.
- Do a small kindness every day.
- Ask for help. Tell someone you're overwhelmed and get assistance.
- Take advantage of conveniences. For example, buy cookies at the bakery instead of baking.
- Play with your dog or cat, then spend some time massaging and petting your four-legged friend.
- Make a date with yourself. Spend one hour reading, going to the art gallery or shooting hoops.
Self-Care Isn't Self-Centered
When you are a part of a church, generally, you're expected to serve in some capacity. You end up going to meetings, making coffeecakes for the reception hour or serving on communion. Instead of watering your own faith, you are so busy taking care of everyone else's needs, you forget to remember why you come to church in the first place. Self-care isn't selfish. Self-care is a practice that allows you to manage all the stresses you face.
Put yourself first and make a commitment to managing your daily busyness. God rested on the seventh day after creating the heaven and earth. In Matthew 22, Jesus told his followers, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"