I’ve just reached the end of a pretty crazy term. My husband started studying (two courses simultaneously), I picked up a few extra hours at work and, on top of that, had an important deadline to meet for some writing submissions (I have appointments with a couple of publishers at a writer’s conference in a few weeks). And it was the winter term at school, when fatigue was high and illness common. Despite all that, I’ve reached the end of term healthy, happy and (mostly) at peace. Finally, it seems, I’m learning to be more strategic in the hectic times.
Here are my nine top tips. I hope you find them helpful.
- Remember Your Creator
Make time to still your heart in God’s presence—daily. Remind yourself He is the only source of life and hope. Worship, give thanks, feed on His Word and listen to His whisper. He knows all your day will hold and wants to show you His way through.
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” Psalm 91:1-2.
- Remember Who You Are
You are a child of God, created for a purpose. If you’re putting Him first and seeking His direction, every season you pass through—even the crazy-hectic ones—are being worked together to equip you for what He has ahead. You can be confident He will work even the hardest of times for your good.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
Cut back on the extras. Weigh up your options carefully. What are your most important relationships? The crucial activities that can’t be compromised? Consider putting aside surplus involvements for a while, so you don’t run yourself dry. God’s priorities come with firm conviction and peace. ‘Extras’ push us into stress and striving.
“The Lord makes firm the steps of the ones who delight in Him; though they stumble, they will not fall, for the Lord upholds them with His hand.” Psalm 37:23
- Nourish Your Body
Eat food that makes you feel well and gives you lasting energy—physical and mental. Do some form of exercise that you enjoy and get those happy endorphins flowing. And put yourself to bed early when you can. A good sleep makes everything look brighter.
“In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat, for while they sleep He provides for those He loves.” Psalm 127:2
5. Slow Your Mind
Put your tasks and technology aside, turn off the background noise, look around you and breathe. Spend time outdoors. Drink in the beauty of nature. Quiet your heart and savour stillness. Just slow down—even for a moment.
“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:2-3a
- Embrace the Sabbath
Right from the beginning God planned weekly rest days for our good. Try to set aside a whole day where you put aside the usual busyness, refocus (see point 1) and do something that refreshes you. As we recreate, we are re-created ready for the week that follows.
“For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, holy to the Lord.” Exodus 31:15a
- Be Creative
If you have the desire, make something beautiful or purposeful—take some photos, pot a plant, compose some music, transform a piece of furniture. As God’s image-bearers, each of us has some inherent form of creativity. Perhaps the joy we feel when we create something special is because we’re reflecting our creator.
“God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27a
- Be Spontaneous
Those busy seasons can become very monotonous, as they are for the mouse in the wheel. Try to be a little bit spontaneous and break out when you have opportunity. For my husband and I, that meant a last-minute dash to the cinema to watch a light-hearted movie on a day that was looking very task-focused. Good fun!
“See! The winter is past . . . Flowers appear on the earth . . . Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.” Song of Songs 2:11-13
Don’t be afraid to acknowledge your limits and accept help. Even if there are tasks you see as your responsibility, if you’re under the pump and someone is offering a hand, say yes! This doesn’t make you a failure, rather it grows you in humility and gratitude. There are sure to be times when you can pick up the slack for someone else when they’re under pressure. It’s all part of being a body.
“Now you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:27.
Photo credit for sunset trio to Laura Eastley.