In today’s fast-paced world, most women I know are stretched to their limits, feeling overwhelmed as they try to find some sort of balance in their careers and personal lives. Just do a Google search for “reduce overwhelm,” and you’ll get almost 10 million results! And the recent New York Times expose’ about the “bruising workplace” created by Amazon, which it claims is pushing its workers to perform at super-human standards, drives home the facts that the world is hyper-focused on doing more to have more while sacrificing personal wellbeing, which is a never-ending cycle that leads to total collapse.
In my experience as a professional speaker and trainer, my most often requested topic is “From Frazzled to Focused: 5 Keys to Finding the Balance When You’re Overworked, Overstressed and Unfulfilled.” I have shared these tips with universities and preschools, pharmacists, realtors, administrative assistants, entrepreneurs and even a college sorority. In a recent survey of the Flourishing Life community, overwhelm was high on the list of challenges keeping women from living a purpose-filled life. It seems that everyone is stressed out and hungry for solutions to their exhaustion.
Rest is biblical, allowing yourself to become stressed is not. From the very beginning, God worked for six days creating the universe and rested on the seventh. For centuries, the Sabbath was honored as a time of rest and renewal.
Jesus was the ultimate example of living a balanced life, staying focused on the purpose God put Him on earth to fulfill, but doing it at a pace that allowed Him to be fully present with those around Him. He knew His calling and lived it out so beautifully, never saying “oh, I’m too busy today” or “I’m in a hurry” to anyone. He didn’t allow others to derail Him from the journey God placed Him on, especially Satan and his constant attacks. He served, He taught, He healed, and He rested.
Self care should be one of our highest priorities, as we have been entrusted with God’s beautiful creation, our physical bodies. As the scriptures say, we are His temple, bought with a priceless sacrifice, and we should love ourselves as He loves us. But women are the worst about putting ourselves at the top of our to-do list. Instead of nourishing our mind, body and spirit regularly, we attend to the needs of others first, and if we have time we take care of ourselves. Unfortunately, we are often too tired to do anything but fall in to bed exhausted at night.
The success you achieve in your work is highly dependent on maintaining good health through good eating habits, regular exercise, reducing stress, rest, fun and love. If you are overworked and overwhelmed, you will be less productive, more resentful and unmotivated. If you are energetic and focused, you will thrive. Plus, all your relationships are directly impacted by the state of your mental and physical wellbeing.
Think of it this way…if you saw your friend withering away from stress and lack of self care, wouldn’t you worry about her and try to get her to slow down? Treat yourself like you would your best friend! Loving yourself through radical self care honors God as you nurture one of His greatest miracles.
The Bible is full of commandments for us to rest and care for our bodies. Here are a few of my favorites to encourage you to slow down and savor life.
Quiet down before God,
be prayerful before him.
Don’t bother with those who climb the ladder,
who elbow their way to the top.
Bridle your anger, trash your wrath,
cool your pipes—it only makes things worse.
Before long the crooks will be bankrupt;
God-investors will soon own the store.
~Psalm 37:7-9 The Message
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after the wind.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
~1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Be still and know that I am God.
You are in charge of you. People won’t force you to slow down, say no and practice better self-care. They have been trained by you that you are on a mission to manage the universe! But if you don’t hit the pause button occasionally, you’ll end up exhausted, sick and perhaps even depressed. In the grand scheme of life, it is really important to push yourself that hard?
When you are 90 years old and look back on your life, what will you be most proud of? Will you have any regrets? Few people wish they had worked longer hours to achieve more. Most wish they had taken more time to deepen relationships, explore new things and love life.
My #1 tip in my “From Frazzled to Focused” topic is “fill your own cup first, then give away what flows over to the saucer.” You cannot give away what you don’t have, so be sure your mind, body and spirit are fully nourished every day.
Who’s looking out for you? I am! And you should be, too. So treat yourself with some TLC and live the vibrant, purpose filled life that God intended.