10 Tips for Stressful Times

A close friend of mine was recently going through a rough time. Having been through stressful times myself over the past couple of years, I thought it may be helpful to offer some biblical and practical help to overcome anxiety. Here’s what I sent him:

  1. Pray and cast your anxieties to the Lord.
    • “…casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Pet. 5:7)
    • “Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.” (Ps. 55:22)
  2. Get some sunlight. Spending 30 minutes in the sunlight does a lot to lift your spirits and sync up your 24-hour rhythm.
  3. Do some relaxing but engaging activities. Some examples are:
    • Read the Bible or a good book
    • Watch a good show or documentary
    • Play games with your kids
    • Warm bath or shower
  4. Spend time with other believers. Fellowship can provide encouragement and a shoulder to lean on.
    • “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42)
    • “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2)
  5. Break a sweat. Getting some exercise—especially in the sunlight—can help you feel better by increasing the feel-good hormones in your brain and getting rid of some excess energy.
    • “…for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Tim. 4:8)
  6. Limit stimulants. Sugar, caffeine, and simple carbs (like white bread, crackers, and chips) can have a stimulating effect on the body. It’s best to limit these comfort foods when you’re dealing with anxiety and depression. They promise to make you feel better, but they often leave you feeling worse.
  7. Eat good food! Eat colorful veggies, berries and other low-sugar fruits, and nuts and seeds for good fat. Throw in some brown rice, quinoa, or oatmeal to add healthy grains in the mix, too. Eat good quality, lean meats to keep your protein up and get more nutrients.
    • “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” (Genesis 9:3).
  8. Breathe. Taking 3-5 minutes throughout the day and before to take slow deep breaths can help you calm down. Try breathing in through your nose for three seconds and out from your mouth for six seconds. These breaths can be very calming.
  9. Talk with your doctor about supplements to help with stress and sleep.* Adaptogens and nootropics can really help with anxiety and depression. L-Theanine, Ashwagandha, and Tulsi (Holy Basil) can also help stressed out adrenals. B vitamins, 5-HTP, and St. John’s Wort have also been shown to help with both anxiety and depression. Melatonin, GABA, and magnesium (glycinate, l-throenate, etc.) can help with restless sleep. Again, always talk to your doctor when starting new supplements, especially if you’re already taking other prescription medications.
  10. Rest in the Lord. Sometimes we just need to rest. We don’t just need physical rest. We need soul rest too. When Elijah was depressed and wished he would die, God fed him and allowed him to get some sleep before carrying out the rest of his ministry (1 Kings 19:5-18). Rest is a gift from God.What are some of the ways you navigate stressful seasons in life? Let me know in the comments!

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