Devotionals

5 Ways to Cope With Stress

This week, whew. One of those weeks at work, you know? I gave a test and thought I would run out of red ink before I was done grading them. It sent me into a spin trying to figure out if the problem was: me or the students? Were they not working hard enough? Was I not explaining well enough or not shaping assignments well enough?

Ulcer material right there.

But the Lord calmed me last evening, so I share with you some things we can go to if we're wild with anxiety on the inside.

5 Stabilizing Forces

Take a nap. I wore myself out with mental processing and working through my teaching issue, so I stretched out on the couch after school and slept for a while. It helped to rest my brain and body.

Get perspective from another brain. I snuggled up next to Matt and asked him for advice, and he told me that tests are for teachers, too, to see where we need to change. I admitted to myself that I needed to add some steps to my lessons, and Matt gave me some great ideas. He told me I should maybe make things easier for myself. I laughed out loud.

Spend time with a little kid. I talked to my 3-year-old niece on the phone. She wants her hair to grow past her feet like Rapunzel's. She was hopping squares on the kitchen vinyl. She likes to get her boots wet so she can make footprints on the sidewalk.

Do a menial task. I made dinner and spent time creating a lovely salad. I researched why you should let your steak set for 10 minutes after you cook it. Then I unloaded the dishwasher and did all the dishes.

Have a good cry. The face of each of my students kept going through my mind. I worried about their grades and about teaching them Spanish without crushing their spirits in the process. Maybe it's good to cry because we care about somebody and because we feel the weight of our lives affecting theirs.

Peter tells us:

"Cast all your care upon Him, because He cares for you" (1 Pet. 5:7).

God cares for us. As we cast our anxiety on him in prayer, we can also do things. We can rest, seek wise counsel, spend time with children, busy our hands and have a little cry.

Oh, #6: Eat a chocolate chip cookie with a tall glass of cold milk.

May the Lord grant you a quiet, calm soul today.

Christy Fitzwater is the author of A Study of Psalm 25: Seven Actions to Take When Life Gets Hard. She is a blogger, pastor's wife and mom of two teenagers and resides in Montana. Visit christyfitzwater.com for more information about her ministry.

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