This month, as full as the last, left me in desperate need of a few soul-nourishing rhythms.
I oftentimes think, “I’ll be less busy then,” and push to-dos into an unforeseen—and often busier—future. It seems a slower pace eludes me perpetually.
Does this resonate?
Wondering how I would manage the stresses of the month, I was reminded that this is a matter almost entirely of focus.
What I focus on shapes my thinking, informing both body and soul.
With this clarity, I reflected on what life-giving rhythms and practices can help manage stress and anxiety this month and beyond. Continuing from last week’s list:
Life changed drastically after my youngest graduated high school. I found leaving the homeschool world a difficult transition. Finding my way into the next season has been a lonely journey.
I’ve prayed for clarity, direction, purpose, and community since the transition began.
One answer to my prayer—community—came through a Bible study! In January, I asked readers if anyone wanted to start a Bible study this year, and the following month, someone responded!
The study, presently indispensable to my spiritual and emotional health, brought new friends, wisdom, perspective, and a timely reminder that I’m not alone in my struggles.
I’m re-discovering the importance of community in new, profound ways, thanks to Jennie Allen’s new best-selling book, Find Your People.
If you want to do a summer study, grab the book, and let’s create community!
7. A Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep, profound in its health benefits, is hard to come by when anxiety meets me at my pillow, so each night’s restful sleep is a gift.
A few rituals increasing my chances of sleep are mediation, a bedtime routine, and reading. But consistency often eludes me after long workdays zap my remaining willpower.
Apparently, I possess an unhealthy mantra: “I’m not creative.” But my counselor reminded me writing is indeed a craft, and it’s healthy to acknowledge the good gifts our generous God gives for His Kingdom purposes.
As she wisely explained, creative outlets relieve stress and elevate mood.
What are your good gifts, and how often do you release them?
I began my counseling journey in 2018, and I’ve been occupying space on her couch since.
I’ve learned the multifaceted benefits of counseling the hard way, as I assume many do, and I’m certain it’s not only beneficial but necessary for most humans.
Why? Because we cannot objectively understand our engrained thoughts patterns, many of which are destructive. And these negative thoughts lead to a host of issues:
- chronic stress
- relational struggles—from minor to abusive
- suicidal thoughts
- deterioration of physical health
Now a firm believer in counseling simply because I’ve experienced it, I am becoming a new person from the inside out.
Jesus truly is transforming and healing me through the godly wisdom of my counselor.
My mind raced with worst-case scenarios regularly. But thankfully, my counselor introduced me to the soul-heartening practice of gratitude.
This worst-case scenario mindset took shape during childhood, and its stealth-like tentacles can slither their way around my thinking when I’m not mindful.
I don’t always do it on time, and sometimes not at all, but when I stay present with my thoughts and catch myself in “stinking thinking,” I can now quiet these anxious, soul-hijacking thoughts by grabbing my journal and penning a few gratitudes.
It’s both practical and powerful for overall health, being rooted in God’s truth.
…You’ll do best by…meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Phil. 4:8
Do you have any regular rhythms or practices bringing peace when you are anxious? Where is the most life-giving place for you in this season?
- On a date with hubby
- in nature
- soundly asleep in bed
- 15 minutes to yourself in the shower
- at the beach playing with your children?
Whatever it looks like, carve out space for the soul-restoring activities giving you maximum return on investment.
What’s life-giving for you will look and feel different, but these restorative rhythms of slowing and simplicity are vital for spiritual, mental and physical health.
If neglected, we become distracted and exhausted, depleted of willpower, turning to lesser gifts that further distract—and eventually numb us—to the joy and fullness Jesus longs to give.
Robbed of valuable time, we’re left spiritually emaciated, devoid of peace and frustrated with life.
And it’s ok to start small. Choose one rhythm that strikes a chord in your soul, and try it this week. If you miss a day, start fresh tomorrow. Be gentle with yourself.
So, how about that top 10 list of yours? Why not get started on one practice, then share it with me!
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Romans 12: 1-2