Most people I know want to live “stress free” lives. The problem is that most of us are working our lives away to achieve our own idea of freedom. I live in a place where it is trendy to be busy, to “hustle,” and to always be going. The thought is that the harder I work now the more I can relax later in life. I’m habitually giving time to things that aren’t gratifying, while giving away all of the freedom I currently have. What I’ve realized is that living a “stress free” life isn’t real. Stressful situations can present themselves at any moment. I find that when I change my life in these 5 easy ways, I am able to live with more balance and intention.
Take Time to Pray
This may sound cliche, but it honestly had to be my number one. Prayer is simply the best way to stay in personal communication with our Lord. I have personally found that without prayer I lose perspective. When I am not communicating with God there is a greater chance that I will get caught in a whirlwind of drama and stress. Starting and ending my day with quiet moments of prayer helps me keep my life together.
Take a Vacation
Even God had a rest day. It is easy to get sucked into a routine that keeps us working. Overloading our lives with work is a temporary way to feel purposeful and meaningful. I’m not saying everyone should quit their jobs to go on a pilgrimage, but clocking in 60+ hours a week isn’t healthy either. It’s ok to rest and rejuvenate. I know that when I take time to go on vacation, whether it’s a weekend or a couple of weeks, I feel refreshed. When I come back I’m excited to get back to work and often times my mind is clearer and I have an easier time seeing the big picture.
Vacationing and resting provides the sense of “stress-free” freedom that we’re all looking for.
Maintain Your Sense of Humor
“A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” – Ecclesiastes 3:4.
Laughing really is the best medicine. Constantly being stressed, upset, angry, and sad is exhausting. Keep yourself from being consumed by the negative and allow yourself to laugh each day.
From another angle, celebrate the good times with the Lord. I know I personally always turn to Him during the tough times. Then I think about how if someone only turned to me when their life was difficult, I would feel taken advantage of and irritated. Building relationships includes the good and the bad, so don’t forget to celebrate the fun times with your Savior.
Literally Count Your Blessings
When I lose perspective I tend to focus on all of the bad things that are going on in my life. I have to stop, take a step back, and find the positives. My life is filled with many blessings. Some days I can list them endlessly, while other days I can only think of a few. Take the time each day to literally count your blessings. Whether you’re counting them out on your fingers or writing them down in a journal, it will help you realize that there are things in your life that you are thankful for.
Develop Your Sense of Purpose
This is the hardest one for me. At times when I am feeling secure I truly believe my life doesn’t have a purpose. During these times I have to re-evaluate.
- What am I spending the most time on? Is this something that is helping me get where I want to go, or is it something that is consuming my life without benefit? Depending the answer I may want to give less or more time to this area of my life.
- Did I make a difference today? This is especially tough for me because sometimes I think that I am only making a difference if I do something on a large scale. This isn’t true! You can make someone’s life brighter by expressing kind words to a stranger, giving appreciation to a friend or coworker, or even by extending the grace you would want to extended to you. It’s always good to take time to serve and volunteer, but I know if I make tiny differences every day, they add up in the long run.
- Am I using my unique gifts? My life feels the most purposeful when I feel like I am using my gifts and my strengths. Find what your gifts are and make sure you are using and strengthening them!
Life Changes Don’t Have to Be Big!
Going through these 5 things help me make my life more fulfilling. I find that small changes in my habits add up to a large change over time. Keeping prayer, rest, humor, gratitude, and purpose help me as I continue to find freedom every day and build positive changes in my life. God has a plan for my life, and that plan ends with the promise of everlasting freedom and love.