I have always worked.
Once, as a nine-year old boy I went door to door with my dad’s old shoeshine kit, looking for neighbors who would pay me to shine their shoes a quarter per pair. As I got older, I mowed lawns, worked in my parent’s restaurant, you name it, I did it! Needless to say, I have always worked.
This didn’t change as I became an adult. For a long time, I made myself be “that guy” who was the first to come to work and the last to leave. I never took vacations. I never got sick. I worked, and I worked hard, and there was no that anyone was going to out work me!
But this pace caught up with me. Stress began to show. I began to develop symptoms like involuntary eyelid twitches and short bouts of depression. I would get pretty sick with colds because of a decreased immune system. And I gained weight. Oh boy, did I gain weight!
Thankfully, as I got older, I knew that I had to do something, and that to be able to serve Christ fully, I needed to watch my stress levels and take better care of myself. That said, here are some ways that I destressed- maybe this can help you as well:
- Be devoted. Spend dedicated, focused time with the Lord. Allow your prayer life to be a time to escape the worries of today as you trust the Lord of tomorrow.
- Be physical. Exercise with some intensity 3-5 days per week. I workout at an awesome place, but when I’m not there, I’m running or doing some other kind of exercise. Exercise will help you to destress, without a doubt.
- Be sleepy. Get enough sleep- go to sleep earlier and wake up a bit later. It’s that easy! If you have trouble falling asleep, find out if you had any caffeine intake during the day. Sometimes I have found that even having a Coke Zero at 2 pm will affect my sleep that night.
- Be fun-loving. For crying out loud, get out and do something once in a while! Take your spouse on a date, catch a ball game (Go Reds!), or do something different that you normally wouldn’t do. And yes, take vacations!
- Be smelly. In other words, smell the roses. Stop and thank God for what you have. Enjoy life and appreciate your family. Most of all, love them while they are close.
I have been practicing these things and have had lots of long-term success and have been more effective with less stress. Let me ask you to share- are there any other ways that you destress?