Deadlines. Papers due. Tests not studied for. Messy rooms. You guys are getting stressed just reading this, aren’t you? Same, girls, same. It is way too easy to get stressed out, whether it’s school assignments, sports, friendships, or just life being life. There are so many things that we need to do, and not enough time to do it... it can be overwhelming to say the least. But the thing is, God does not want us to live our lives with all this stress. He wants us to enjoy ourselves, to be at peace. If we’re busy with deadlines and dates, we typically don’t make time for devotionals or just sitting in His presence. So, I am going to be outlining some of my tried-and-true tips of managing and minimizing stress.
7 Ways to De-Stress Today
1. PUT THE PHONE DOWN!!!!
Okay, guys, this is probably one of the biggest tips I can give: put your phone down! Put it in another room, shut it completely off, bury it outside; just whatever you do, keep it from being a distraction. I’ve done it a thousand times where I’ll get on just to check something quickly on Instagram or e-mail…. then an hour later I end up on YouTube watching videos from the X-Factor. Bottom line: if you shut it off and put it in another room, taking that distraction away, you will be able to focus on what needs to get done. Besides, if you can get all your stuff done sooner, then you’ll be able to choose what you do with your time (i.e. watching a movie, getting together with friends), rather than losing your time to distractions.
2. Make a List
For me, I’m a list person. While making a list of ALL you need to get done can be a little overwhelming, it feels good and gives you confidence as you cross off each completed item. I list things according to category (English, Math, Misc.) or according to importance. Whichever way you prefer, just write down what you need to do; you won’t forget it!
3. Hard > Easy
Sometimes I get in the habit of ignoring that big project or paper that will require a lot of hard work; DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. When you avoid doing that thing and wait to the last minute, you’re still stressing about it just knowing that you have to do it. Then, it’s mega stress time when you actually have to work on that project with barely any time… let’s just say, I’ve pulled a couple of all-nighters. It’s better just to face it head on, get it out of the way, and then not have to worry about it.
4. Morning Bird
We’ve all heard the saying, “the early bird gets the worm”, which is definitely true in the case of stress. We’ve all had those nights where we stay up until 2am on our phones or finishing school work, and then we’re exhausted the next day. While we may be able to pull this off every now and then, this should not become a habit. Your primary REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is between 10:00pm-2:00am. The sleep that you get during this time is the best quality sleep that you will receive and will give you the most energy. So instead of staying up to get your work done, get to bed early, get a good night sleep, and then wake up early and get your work done.
5. Start Your Day Right
Make God your priority. I know that this has been drilled into us, and I’m just another one on the list, but it really is important. There’s a huge difference when you start your day off in the Word. It’s kind of like tithing; if you trust the first of your money to the Lord, He will bless the remaining 90%, making it go farther. If you give the first of your day to the Lord, He will bless the rest of your day, giving you strength and joy, helping you to get things done. When we are filled with the joy of the Lord, there is no room to be filled with stress.
6. Five Feet
In our house, we have the saying “Just five feet”. Every time I start to get overwhelmed thinking about all the things I need to do, future plans, etc., my mom always reminds me to just focus on “five feet” in front of me. We have to take each day, each task, one by one, step by step. If we focus too much on everything that’s going on, we’ll get overwhelmed, sometimes even to the point where we are paralyzed. So just focus on the very next thing that needs to get done, work on that, and once you have completed it, move on to the next. This allows you to tackle and focus on each thing individually.
7. Take Time for Yourself
While this tip does not really line up with the whole “get stuff done” theme, it is vital in keeping stress at bay. Just taking a moment for yourself, even if it’s just five minutes, can help you reduce stress greatly. This could be a quick workout (which is a great stress reliever!), a cup of tea, reading a chapter in your favorite book, or even just listening to music. Whatever it is, it will give you a break, refuel you, and get you ready for your next task at hand. Just be careful when you use this though, if you have an assignment due by midnight and its 11:00pm, it’s probably not the best time to workout.
I hope this post helps you guys with managing your stress. The biggest thing we must keep in mind is that the Lord ultimately has all of this in His hands. The little things that stress us now, while important, are much smaller in the grand scheme of things. You’ll be looking back 10 years from now, laughing that you stressed so much about a certain situation. Just remember that the Lord is in control of every situation, every relationship, and every issue. I’d much rather have Him been in control than me!
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” -Matthew 6:25-27
Raelene Harris is a spicy as they come- in her faith, her hobbies, and her style! A lover of the arts and aesthetics, she seeks to use her passions such as photography and music to glorify God and build relationships. As a 2017 intern, she is thrilled with the opportunities to expand His kingdom.