I sat back in my chair with a sigh and a smile. Finally, I’d finished that email that had been weighing me down for over a week. It was something that needed to be done and something I wanted to do, but I couldn’t warrant giving it top priority among my plethora of to-dos until that day.
I took a little break and went back to my computer, eager to move on to the work I’d put on hold to get that delayed task done.
A message notification blinked at me. Another job for me to do—another item to add to my crowded list.
The fact is, it’s a very, very rare day that I can actually complete my list of things I have to do. In all honesty, such a thing maybe never happens anymore. Instead, the opposite now seems the norm—my to-do list growing faster than I can check items off.
I know I’m not alone in this experience. Many of you have more tasks than I have to tackle every day. Perhaps your schedules are packed, as well, especially with fall and the school year coming up fast.
Amid our clustered calendars and insurmountable lists, anxiety and stress easily become our companions in life. But who has time to deal with the stress, right?
So we keep going, running in this rat race with worry and stress nipping at our heels, driving us to sprint in faster bursts until we reach the point of total collapse. Some of us have decided such stress is just a way of life, so we accept it as inevitable.
Two weeks ago, I shared what Jesus has to say about such stress. I also shared His solution to eliminate the stress and worry of busyness from your life. If you only make one change in your life to tackle stress, spend more time with Jesus.
But if you want to knock this form of fear out of your life with multiple tactics, then check out these four practical tips to beat stress.
4 Tips for Stress-Free Busyness
1. Do the Next Thing
Elisabeth Elliot famously offered this advice to people dealing with grief, but it applies perfectly to stress, too. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the length of your to-do list or your burgeoning schedule, stop looking at everything at once.
Instead, prioritize what needs to be done first and then focus only on that one, next thing. Repeat, and you’ll get everything done without the stress.
2. Get Reminder Help
When I’m in a busy season, the clutter around me tends to grow as I leave out files or other items to remind me I need to do something with them. The clutter only increases my stress.
If this is one of your tendencies, try putting away or disposing of the clutter and instead using more organized ways to remember your to-dos.
Notes work, but I find I reach a certain point when I don’t want to stick another note up on my mirror. My favorite way to reduce the clutter and stress is to use a phone or computer app that will send me reminders of the tasks I have to do.
Goodbye paper, clutter, and stress.
3. Take a Break with Jesus
This tip comes from Fear Warrior Blog reader, MJ (thanks, MJ!). MJ shared in a comment that, when feeling stressed by all that needs to be done, it helps to set a timer for five minutes and spend that time with Jesus.
This can be reading Scripture, praying, singing praise songs, worshiping…anything you can think of to spend time with Jesus and refresh your soul.
When the timer goes off, you’ll be relaxed and able to tackle your work with peace and joy instead of stress.
4. Take the Pressure Off
Sometimes the most practical help for fighting stress is a mental and spiritual realization. The stress-busting truth of my life comes from Ephesians 2:10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Remember that God created you to do these very tasks that are stressing you out right now. If you’re following His call in your life and striving to glorify Him in all you do (Col. 3:23), then you can relax in this amazing truth—He has already done the work for you! He has already prepared your tasks before they even made it to your list. All you have to do is walk in them. Pretty easy, right?
So breathe, relax, and remember that He’s equipped you fully for your good works (2 Tim. 3:17) and He has already guaranteed their completion, in His time.
Remember that, and you can walk away from stress forever.
Which of these tips might help you? Do you have stress-fighting techniques that work for you? Please share!