When you reach a certain age, let’s say twenty-four, you don’t need to be told that rushing through your day is unhealthy. You should know that. But in an effort to work on eliminating self-caused stress and anxiety from my life, I’ve had to sit down and really think about what I may be doing that is enabling these feelings.
Many wonderful years ago I was introduced to a prominent Christian teacher and author Joyce Meyer by my grandmother. Her main focus is on overcoming anxiety and attaining the Lord’s peace and victory in our lives. I love her writing because it’s all very real and down to earth and full of a lot of great advice. Whenever I read one of her books, I usually spend the whole time going, “I’ve thought about that a lot…but have I really thought about it! It’s so simple!”
So anyway, one of her newest books has a section on rushing through your day and how that can affect your in more negative ways than you can imagine. Her advice in a nutshell – You can choose not to rush around and cut down on all that stress.
There are so many different “kinds of rush” that are always just clumped together. I didn’t even think about it before:
-Not giving enough time to get somewhere.
-Not scheduling enough time for errands throughout your day.
-Rushing from one activity to another, or from one step of an activity to another.*
-Not taking the time to stretch out work and relaxation.
And so much more. They all seem like the same thing – rushing – but you try to list all of the different ways that you rush through your day and try not to be surprised by the length of that list.
*That last one caught me by surprise. Joyce Meyer talked about how she used to start her day off by coming up with a list of things that she needed to get down, and in the middle of brushing her teeth (step number 1 ) she would run to the kitchen to start breakfast (step number two), but then she’d remember that she needed to do something else (step number three)…and she’d be rushing around with her tooth brush in her hand and breakfast only half complete when she could have gotten everything down if she had followed the steps in order. She felt so silly running around in a rush when she didn’t have to have such a stressful morning.
This has gotten me in trouble, except mine is more like…*get ready this is going to make your head spin*…I start cleaning my guinea pig’s cage (step one) but I stop halfway through in order to start dinner and then I start to get dinner on the table (step two)…*deep breath*…but my husband reminds me that I said I’d help get some boxes out of the storage unit first. So we go outside and to move boxes and he picks one up (step three), but I don’t see him trying to hand it to me and I don’t hear him asking me to take it because I’m looking over his shoulder and picking out the box that I need to grab next (step four) and I try to step past him causing him to drop the box and me to trip…*deep breathe*…so then we both are angry and he tells me to just go inside and finish getting dinner ready (step two) but I say I have to put the guinea pig up first and I scoop her up to put her in her cage (aka step one)…*deep breathe*…but, of course, the cage isn’t ready for her first. So I have a husband who is hungry and upset that he has to move boxes on his own, a guinea pig that is squealing and trying to jump out of my arms to get to her cage, and a dinner that I can’t finish because my hands are now covered in dust and guinea pig hair…And if I’m not careful, if I let those five minutes dictate the rest of our day, then it’s a miserable, stress-filled night (step six!). What I had planned to happen and the rest of the day won’t matter.
I have enjoyed learning to take the time to get to know myself more. Well, I don’t know if I would say enjoy. But, hey, now that I know that I create a lot of stress in my life by rushing through my day and trying so hard to multi-task and creating a cycle of stress in my own life that I don’t need. Sometimes things just go wrong and we have to rush to make up for that – I get that. But if I’m honest with myself, I’m usually the one who creates this problem. It’s so annoying!
Does any of this sound familiar? How many stess-filled days do we endure at our own hands when perhaps all we had to do was refuse the tendency to rush through our days?
That’s just one reason. One suggestion. But realizing that it’s a bigger problem in my own life than I ever realized has made my days better. Who knew such a small change could provide so many benefits. Cutting back on even a little bit of daily anxiety can change your whole outlook on your day. And as Joyce Meyer is always quick to point out, anxiety-filled days should not be the norm. We don’t want them. God doesn’t want them. We have to do something about them!
A note from all of us here: We are trying to include more practical advice in the posts that appear on our blog.
And I, for one, think that this is a piece of advice that people should hear more often: Stop rushing non-stop throughout your day! It’s your own fault when you allow your rushing to cause you stress, but slowing down – scheduling things better, allowing ourselves to finish one task before moving on to the next – will create less space for daily stress to take root in our lives.
Just say NO to rushing! Who’s with me?
A Practical Step-by-Step Guide for Defeating the “Rushes” (that I’m going to try to follow, and I’d love for you to join me in 🙂 )
First Step – Try to remember to spend some time the night before thinking about what I need to get done the next day.
Second Step – Refuse to let a list of things cause me to jump out of my bed and rush around first thing in the morning. Be aware of what I need to get done, but remember that there is time.
Third Step – In the moment, throughout the day, stop if I’m feeling rushed, admit that I’m causing my own immediate stress, and re-evaluate what I need to do to peacefully finish the task at hand. Be aware of how you’re feeling and thinking throughout the day and if you feel yourself start to go down anxiety street, try to stop your car and turn around. At least stop before you’re tripping over yourself to finish your day.
Fourth Step – Remember to incorporate some time to relax and some time to “be still” each day. A verse to repeat if I try to tell myself that I just don’t have time for that, an invitation that is extended to me as it was extended to Jesus’ disciples: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31b).
Fifth Step – For peat’s sake, if you’re feeling rushed and feel like the stress is eating you alive, don’t turn around and take it on on the next person. They don’t know you’re about the stress! They have no idea why you’re running around like a chicken with its head cut off. (At least the people in my daily life are always startled by this behavior. Yours probably are too.) Give them a chance to pull you up instead of pushing them down.
What would you add to the list? Do you have any practical advice for “rushers”?