A note from Kelly King: Need a few practical ways to de-stress your life? Look no further! Kaye Hurta gives us seven tips we can start practicing today. We can all use a little less stress in our lives.
Inherent to the life experience is an expected, normal level of stress. Most of us can navigate these daily life stressors and stress levels pretty well. However, with crisis and pain come increased levels of stress. We feel it in our bodies through increased levels of adrenalin, chest pains, difficulty breathing, and more. We feel it in our souls through foggy thinking, unrest, or relational inattentiveness. We feel it in our spirits by either being drawn into the presence of God or finding ourselves disconnected from Him.
To help us offload and navigate our stress, the Bible says in Philippians 4:6-8, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (NIV).
This is a particularly stressful time in my own life for a variety of reasons and to picture God’s peace as a guard around my heart and mind is very reassuring. However, some find it difficult to connect with God in times of stress. Be mindful of that as you are helping women; they may need some very clear, written instructions on how to connect with God and exchange their stress for His peace.
There is no shortage of research on helpful ways to manage stress. Here are a few of my favorites:
1. Pray/Meditate. Staying connected with God through conversation and His Word is the very best way to navigate stress!
2. Listen to music. Music as therapy de-stresses, calms anxieties, and improves sleep.
3. Exercise. I know. it’s hard for me too, but it helps.
4. Read. According to a study by Sussex University, even six minutes of reading (not work emails!) can reduce stress levels by more than two-thirds.
5. Engage with or create art. Any kind—visual, performing, literary, culinary, or media arts.
6. Soak in sunshine and spend time in nature. My go-to spot for stress relief is the beach. What is yours?
7. Turn off social media. I had to say it.
These are just a few suggestions to help you and the women you care for manage your stress. If you are experiencing an avalanche of stress right now, I am so sorry. As I write these words, I am praying for you!
Kaye Hurta has a Masters Degree in counseling from Liberty University and is a crisis counselor for Women’s Events through LifeWay Christian Resources. Whether speaking, singing, or listening, Kaye’s passion is to help others find intimacy with Christ and soul transformation through the living pages of His Word. Kaye met and married her husband Chris in Austin, Texas in 1987. They have two daughters through the miracle of adoption, Madison and Cami. They live in the Chicago burbs where they are both on staff at Willow Creek Community Church. Kaye is also a contributing author for the LifeWay resource, Women Reaching Women in Crisis.