We had a family wedding last week. On Thursday I was scrambling to get work done, keep my appointments, and maintain my sanity. I’m not sure I succeeded.
Do you ever have one of those weeks? You know: there’s too little time and too much stress. These weeks impact our relationships and the state of our souls. We’ll experience them sometimes, but we can’t afford to make them the norm.
Looking back, here are a few things I could have done better to stay healthy — spiritually, physically, relationally, and emotionally — in an extraordinarily busy week.
You can usually see weeks like this coming. It’s a good idea to plan extra margin for the weeks that will be more stressful. I could have avoided scheduling extra appointments last week. The extra time would have given me the room that I needed to maintain a healthy pace last week.
Practice Key Habits
I follow a set of practices that help me to love God and love others. It’s called a Rule of Life, designed to help me stay healthy spiritually. When things get busy, it’s easy to suspend these practices. Big mistake. These are the very practices that will help us function well during a period of high stress. (For more on building a Rule of Life, check out chapter 8 of How to Grow.)
Busy weeks require healthy habits. Don’t ignore the practices that keep you healthy when you’re under extra stress. Instead, double down on them. They will help you through these weeks.
Ask for Help
I have a hard time asking for help from others. Call it pride: I’d rather tough it through myself without admitting that I’m struggling.
I’m learning, though, that others are quick to help when I ask for it. I’m amazed by the response when I ask others to pray for me, or when I’m honest about my limitations and ask for extra grace.
We’re not meant to be self-sufficient. Asking for help is an act of humility, and God promises grace to the humble.
Plan to Recover
My high-stress week is now over. I’ve realized that I need some time to ease back into my normal routine. Extra rest and downtime is crucial after we’ve been under increased pressure.
Monday was a national holiday. I used the day to relax, and I didn’t feel guilty about it at all. Enjoy the gift of rest after you’ve experienced a high-stress week.
Enjoy God’s Grace
Here’s the convicting thing about last week: I made so many mistakes. I could have done a better job anticipating the stress. I should have managed my schedule better. I should have maintained the practices that would have helped me to thrive under increased pressure. But I didn’t. I know what to do; I just didn’t do them.
But God is gracious. He keeps giving grace to those who fail. We can enjoy God’s grace, even when we make mistakes again.
Last week was stressful. It won’t be the last time. We can take action to stay healthy even under the extra stress, and enjoy God’s grace when we fail.