This time of year is always stressful. You’re midway through the semester and all your teachers pile on extra homework in preparation for mid-terms. Your family is preparing for a Spring Break trip, your youth group is charged up for a Spring Retreat, prom or your Spring Formal are right around the corner and it seems like everyone needs you to babysit their kids or watch their dog over the weekends. So, what do you do when you start to drown in sticky notes of “to dos” and you can’t find any ways to relieve your stress?
The last thing you need to do is spend time organizing your to do list. It’s better to dig into your projects and get them done rather than wasting time placing them in order. However, it is crucial to prioritize. Know your deadlines and tackle each task accordingly.
But, in the season of stress, you can’t force yourself to plunge into each task without rest or rewards. This will only leave you exhausted and potentially sick. So, here are some ways to relieve stress to help you release your tension and gain back some peace of mind:
Be still and silent:
Going to the Lord is always a first priority. Thirty seconds of silence will allow God’s peace to enter your heart and give you the ability to hear His voice. He wants to help carry your load.
Change your mindset:
Don’t dwell on the stress of your to do list, but instead think about all you will learn and conquer when this season of hardship is over.
Having a clear and clean space can help you create a clear conscious which will help you open up to knowing your priorities, managing your time and seeing the results.
It seems juvenile, but coloring in a color book, doodling on a sketch pad or creating something on your computer frees your mind for a moment.
Turn up that music and rock out to your favorite song. Hop on your bed, do a little shimmy in the kitchen, or drum the steering wheel while stopped at a stop light.
Fifteen minutes to workout with release endorphins which help calm you down and keep you focused.
Express yourself with art:
Relieve your stress through artistic expression by creatively engaging in a way that helps you burn off some frustration and refreshes your spirit.
Focus on your breathing (inhale, exhale):
It seems simple, but this act can do wonders for helping you let go.
Get a massage:
Getting a professional massage allows you to check out for an hour and release some of the physical tension built up in your body. If you don’t have the time or money for a professional massage, enlist your mom, friend or sister to spend fifteen minutes rubbing your back. Be sure to drink plenty of water after your massage to flush out those nasty toxins.
Go on a walk:
Get some fresh air and enjoy the beauty in which God has surrounded you. The repetitive motion of placing one foot in front of the other as you explore the world opens your mind to hearing from the Lord in mysterious ways.
Use five to fifteen minutes to jot down some of your emotional struggles or express what you believe like the Lord is trying to teach you during this trying time.
Sometimes it’s important to force a laugh, especially when you’re stressed and overwhelmed. Laughter releases a chemical in your body that makes it believe all is well and you’re having a good time, which will help you enjoy the tasks at hand rather than being bogged down by them.
Listen to soothing music:
While accomplishing your tasks, create an environment that will help you focus by having soft, soothing music – such as worship, instrumental or classical – playing in the background.
A short fifteen to twenty minute cat nap is all you need to rejuvenate your brain, an easy way refresh yourself.
Play a sport:
Gather your team, friends or siblings for a quick game. Releasing these endorphins and engaging in a fun competition can put you in the perfect mood to get things done.
This honestly is the best stress reliever out there. Giving your burdens to the Lord is exactly what He wants, so tell Him what you’re struggling with. He always has a listening ear, a solution and strength and energy to share.
Scream into a pillow:
The pillow really isn’t necessary, but it might feel a little less awkward if the sound of your scream is muffled. Release your negative stress and tension with a loud scream – just let it all out.
Forcing a smile is such a small detail that can turn the rest of your day around. Trick yourself into believing that you’re happy and that everything is perfectly fine, then soon you’ll actually believe it and trust that life really is good.
Sing in the shower, in the car or in the privacy of your bedroom. Singing is another way to express yourself with your voice, plus some songs just seem to say what you feel.
Spend time in the Word:
The Bible is full of insight on how to cope with life’s frustrations and stresses, so open it up and see what God wants to teach you from the eyes of another struggling human.
While working on your tasks, stretch your muscles and feel the physical tension melt away.
Take a bath:
Especially with some scent-rich bubble bath, the warm water will release the tension in your muscles as they become warm and comforted.
Close your eyes and imagine all the physical stress of your body melt away. Pretend your stress is an ice cube that drips down your body as it melts away. Then visualize all your tasks accomplished and the freedom you feel after performing a job well done.
The key to relieving stress isn’t about minimizing your “to do” list, it’s about giving it to God and trusting that He’ll carry you in your time of need. Your life may always be full of stress, but by trusting in the Lord you’ll be able to order your life properly and begin to understand that the stress is worth it if it’s for God’s glory.