How to Destress…and Stay that Way

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. 2012-01-09 14.58.22As 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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?

Pastor Fran

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