These past few weeks, I drove to Massachussets, swooped across states to Chicago, flew to Florida to start a new job, and returned, all on the heels of a big decision for my husband and I. We’re selling our house, figuring out new job set-ups for both of us, and trying to fit in as much good friends and family time as possible before we leave.
And I can’t say that I have been very healthy or balanced in my approach to braving the transition. I am, however, learning as I go, and have found a few things to be helpful:
Take care of your body. I found this gem of insight from Scottish scholar and evangelist Henry Drummond:
“If you would know God’s will in the higher [realm], you must begin with God’s will in the lower; which simply means this — that if you want to live the ideal life, you must begin with the ideal body. The law of moderation, the law of sleep, the law of regularity, the law of exercise, the law of cleanliness — this is the law or will of God for you. This is the first law, the beginning of His will for you.”
In other words, eat well, rest, exercise, take your vitamins, make that chiropractor appointment you’ve been putting off because you’re too busy (I am completely writing to myself here). These are the essentials that fly out the window as soon as we feel stressed, but without them, our work and our faith will suffer the effects. We need to care for our bodies so that we can use them for the good work to which we are called.
Strike a balance. Sleep, good time with my husband, reading and writing, and even just sitting are important. And if I don’t make time for them, I will fool myself into thinking that I have to be wired up 24/7. But my days will be far more enjoyable and far more effective if I don’t cram them full with “to do” items.
Follow the advice of Psalm 127:2: “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.” It’s a false assumption that by sacrificing our rest and well-being we can get ahead.
This often means exercising the discipline of saying “no” to an otherwise good opportunity. We can’t do it all. Don’t take on an extra project that will have you working late into the night, even if the compensation is tempting.
Let go of guilt. I’m generalizing here, but it seems to me that women have a particularly strong tendency to sink into the guilt of what we haven’t accomplished in a day. But I want to feel good about what I’ve done at the end of the day, and I’m realizing the difference is determined not by tasks, but by outlook. If I am realistic about what I want to accomplish, then I am more likely to feel content about what I am able to do. And if I don’t get something done, I am learning to give myself grace.
When you’re busy and stressed, what is usually the first thing to go? What ways have you found to keep a healthy balance?