The holidays season is here which can mean a ramped up schedule and more demands to manage before the end of the year. So I’m wondering if anyone is like me. Have you been a bit more irritable here lately? Perhaps easily annoyed, short tempered and finding it hard to concentrate? Well, these are tell-tell signs of too much stress. You probably already know that stress has been shown to exacerbate several health conditions from headaches and reflux to heart disease, asthma and accelerated aging. But before you get stressed out about being stressed out there is good news! And it’s all found in the #1 best selling book THE BIBLE!! So here are 3 Rs to eliminate stress, let go and let God be in control this holiday season and through the new year.
Refresh: In the busyness of the holiday season, rest is hard to come by. But, God encourages us to rest and be refreshed. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says “come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” and we learn in Proverbs 11:25 A generous man will prosper, he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. See, we are obeying the scriptures when we get refreshed. So simply start with conscious breathing. We generally breath very shallow breaths and deprive our bodies of much needed oxygen. Taking a deep slow breath can be very refreshing and calming in a moment of stress or anytime. Also taking a time-out. Whether it’s 5-10 minutes a day or an entire weekend, spending time alone with out distractions where you can meditate on a scripture, pray, sleep, or listen to music can refresh you enough to handle whatever is coming next.
Reframe your perspective. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” Romans 12:12 stress will likely happened at some point during the holidays whether you are running late, something goes arwy with a family member, budget shrinks, someone gets sick, etc. whatever situation you are in, reframe it to see what you can learn from it and what you can still be grateful for. Remember 1 Thes 5:18 in all things give thanks (family, sight, hearing, etc.) and how you can make the most of the moment you are in. e.g. traffic – crank up the music and sing; sick – take time to rest or spend quality time with the person you are caring for; almost anything – gratitude journal) Reframing your perspective will reduce stress.
Finally, let’s Reduce our schedules and learn to say “NO,” with a thank you and smile of course. How often do we get in trouble saying ‘yes’ when we mean ‘no’ and ‘no’ when we mean ‘yes’ then the STRESS that comes with it. Matthew 5:37 teaches us to Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. You can’t do it all and don’t need to do it all. We can also Reduce our expectations of others so we are not disappointed with outcomes we have no control over. We can Reduce any tendencies we have to compare ourselves with others, what they do, what they get, what their children can do, etc. Lastly we can Reduce our budgets and increase our outward focus such as how we can pray for others and share with others. These reductions and increases both lower stress.
So when stress comes, as it probably will, remember the three Rs: REFRESH, REFRAME & REDUCE!