Stress Relief Tips

James Hassell   -  

Last week seemed to last a month! I hope and pray however that you are feeling encouraged by the warmer weather. The light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be the sun rather than a train. In fact, we count it no small miracle that the church campus sustained no visible damage or burst pipes.

While we deal with the aftermath of one of the worst storms of our generation, it is important for us to consider some time tested and biblical paths of coping with trauma. We will likely feel the effects of the storm for months to come both physically and emotionally. Yet, there are ways in which we can manage in healthy ways those things that weigh heavy on our hearts. Below is a list of seven helpful stress management tools.

  1. You will experience stages of grief. This is totally normal. For instance, one day you will feel sad at seeing all the loss, but the next you may increasingly angry and “out of sorts.” Eventually we will come to a point of acceptance and work together to prevent what happened, especially the loss of life.
  2. If you feel absolutely exhausted, then keep in mind that this is totally normal, as well. Most of us were running on adrenaline during the height of the storm. When the adrenaline wears off, our bodies remind us of just how tired we are! Make sure that you are getting a proper amount of rest. This may mean turning off the news or computer for a while, reading a good book, going for a walk, visiting with friends, etc.
  3. Get back to a healthy routine as soon as possible. Our routines help us feel grounded. For example, go to bed and get up at approximately the same time. Make your grocery store run at a similar time as you do most weeks. Read from your Bible at the same time each day. The events of the last week have knocked us out of our routines. Getting back on track will help a great deal.
  4. Ensure that you are eating healthy foods and exercise. It’s easy in times like these to fall back on “comfort foods” that may not be the healthiest for us. Fresher foods however help our bodies to respond better to stress and will prompt clearer thinking. The “apple a day” axiom still works!
  5. Pack your patience. Sometimes we are not going to be able to get timely answers to our questions about insurance, burst pipes, and all the other fall-out from the storm. Some plumbers are scheduled all the way through next month. In the Bible, the word “patience” is described in terms of our being able to breath deeply and calmly. When your patience is running thin, take a deep breath. Things will eventually work out.
  6. Check on your neighbors. The small things add up quickly in a crisis. Don’t feel like you have to save the city at this point. Caring starts with checking on the one next door.
  7. Remember the Sabbath. The Lord knows that our bodies cannot handle stress and work 24/7. God even rested after six days of creation! Remember to take a day off during your week for rest, worship, recreation. For Christians, the most logical time to take sabbath rest is on Sunday as we celebrate the Lord’s resurrection regularly on the first day of each week. Worship and fellowship go a LONG way in helping us cope with very stressful times.