When we’re serving, it can be easy to spread ourselves thin trying to do all that needs to be done. Here is part 2 with 5 additional tips can help you refocus and keep stress at a manageable level.
1. Stay flexible. Remember your to do list is a “suggestion” and not a “law.” To do lists are meant to be helpful, to help us organize our days. When our to-do lists become a ball and chain or a reminder of the ways in which we fall short of perfection - that is when it is time to simplify our to-do list into what is humanly possible to do in one day and remind ourselves that our to-do list is there to serve us, not the other way around. On the field, it is easy to have a plan for the day and have that plan be scrapped the instant we wake up because of a more pressing need. Remember to give yourself grace to be flexible and change your to-do list as your circumstances change.
2. Keep an eye out for the Creator at work in the little things and for the little glimpses of beauty and good that He has placed all around us. Sometimes we can become so stressed and busy that we get tunnel vision and miss out on the little reminders our Creator has placed around us that show His love for us and control over every aspect of our lives. Plus, a walk in nature can break us out of a rut and help us look at things from a new perspective.
3. Be patient with yourself. Learning takes time (often more time than we would like), and you only truly fail when you refuse get back up and try again. Life on the field can be stretching to say the least. Giving yourself grace is like giving yourself elastic during those tough times to help ensure you stretch and don’t break. When we find we continue to forget to give ourselves patience, sometimes a visual reminder can help. Put post-it notes where you can see them with verses or reminders to give yourself patience and grace throughout the day.
4. Realize that rest is not optional. It is essential. It is easy to sometimes think of rest as the one truly flexible slot of time in our day, and to shave off hours of sleep or rest when the to-do list seems too long. But if we continue to ignore our need for rest, we will not get as much done with the time we do spend. When we are low on rest we tend to have trouble focusing on tasks and problem-solving becomes extremely difficult. We may also find even the smallest task seems overwhelming or that we seem to snap more easily at those around us. One good way to test if you are getting enough rest is to examine how often you end up getting sick when you do end up taking a break. If vacations are mostly spent getting and getting over being sick, your body may be trying to communicate that it needs more rest more frequently in order to keep running without breaking down the moment you take a break.
5. Plan “Decompress” time. This is a time in between serving to momentarily unwind, relax, and transition to the next thing. Transition or decompress time can be as simple as staying in your car to listen to a whole song before heading to your next meeting, pausing midday for a tea/coffee break, or planning a sightseeing stop on the way to your next task. These mini breaks help our brains to switch more easily from task to task and give us a small bit of refreshment that can help re energize us and help us focus more easily on the next task.