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When we’re serving, it can be easy to spread ourselves thin trying to do all that needs to be done.  Here is part 1 in a series on 5 tips that can help you refocus and keep stress at a manageable level.
 

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1. Remember, different people handle stress differently.  You may not react to a stressful situation the way your co-worker does and that is how it should be.  Our own comparison to others can be one of our greatest sources of discouragement and anxiety, so keep in mind that each of us is different – and that is a good thing.

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   2.   Since we’re all different, it only makes sense that we all recharge in different ways.
Know yourself; how do you recharge emotionally, physically, spiritually?  What are some things that you find relaxing, things that energize you?  Hanging out with friends?  Getting alone time to read or journal?  Exercising?  Watching a basketball game?  Try keeping a journal to track what encourages and renews you and what drains you.  Note what recharges you quickly and what recharges you more slowly.  Knowing how you recharge can help you make more time for those recharging activities.

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3. Make a list of what is stressing you out.  Preaching?  Preparing to teach?  Family situations?  Sometimes we need to put a name to what is stressing us instead of stopping after identifying that we are stressed.  This can help us to find ways to lighten the stress load.  Sometimes determining your priorities can help you determine what is currently causing you the most stress, because those priorities may be out of order when you examine how your days are playing out.  What do you spend money on, make time for, allow to interrupt you?  Those are your priorities.  Are they the priorities you want to have?  If not, what could be done to reorder your priorities?
 

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4. Determine a small way to cut down your stress level.  After determining your priorities and areas of stress, determine one small helpful change that can be made in each area.  It can be as taking five minutes to begin decluttering your workspace replying to an e-mail you have been meaning to get to.  If the step you choose at first still seems unmanageable, break the step down further into a smaller piece.  No step is too small if it is a step towards cutting down your stress level.  

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5. Don’t be afraid to be new at something.  Don’t be afraid to try and fail, and to make mistakes.  We all have to start learning somewhere.  And making mistakes is a major part of learning.  Once we start viewing mistakes as lessons or steps towards learning, some of the fear around trying new things and making mistakes can dissipate.  Sometimes those around us may wish they had courage to step out and our action in trying something new in spite of the reality that we will make mistakes can give those around us the final push of courage to help them step out as well.