By: Chaunte McClure
Most of us have those days when there is too much on our minds, too much on our plates, too many places to go, too many deadlines to meet and too little time to accomplish all we’d like to in a day. This hodgepodge of emotionally stimulating ingredients is usually a recipe for STRESS.
That’s the road I’ve been traveling the past few weeks. Today I decided to pull over, as I do from time to time, and walk it out. The stress, that is. Sometimes I take a stroll through my neighborhood, occasionally I make it to a park, but lately I’ve been enjoying a leisurely walk around the State House. The paths around the well-manicured lawn of our state’s capitol lead me to a place of serenity – a place where I can unwind, refresh and regroup. Even though my stay is only for about 10 minutes, it’s still worth it.
There is something about the fresh air, especially after today’s April shower, that helps take my mind off the things I was doing or have to do. Sometimes I may find a bench, sit a while and gaze at the beautiful blossoms or watch the squirrels scurry about.
I could experience less stress if I learn to say no more often. I was doing well at this, and I’m not sure how I got off track. As if having a full-time job and attending seminary part-time isn’t enough for me to handle, I tend take on other tasks when I’m asked.
Sound familiar? Remember, it’s okay to say no. Kindly thank them for asking and explain that you just don’t have the time to devote to any additional tasks. Most days I come home, rest for about an hour and do homework until I can’t keep my eyes open any longer. Yes, I’ve become used to burning the midnight oil, but if I’m not careful, my marriage will burn out, my sanity will burn out. It’s important to take time for yourself and your family. It’s a balancing act that I find myself juggling every semester, but I refuse to lose control.
I wish I did a better job of controlling my FOMO (fear of missing out). I love social media, and often when I’m working on an assignment I find myself drifting from a Word document to an open browser window which points to Facebook.com. SMH! I promise you there is nothing about pastoral care or church history on Facebook, but for some reason I just have to see what’s going on. Use your time wisely and remain focused on the task you are working on. (Do you hear that Chaunte?) Hmmm… should this be called preaching to the preacher or preaching to the choir?
Finally, when possible, reward yourself when you complete a task. This helps motivate me, especially if it means I get to go to Target, go outside before the sun sets, spend time with my husband or just relax and not do anything. Ok, I’ve got to go work on my next assignment and I promise I won’t access Facebook. By the way, share what you do to de-stress. I look forward to reading your comments.