By Michelle Garrett, MS, LMFT and Kay Gackle, MS, LMFT
How are you feeling right now? For many of us, stress is a feeling that we know and experience personally. We all have unique ways we respond to stress. When we’re aware of it, we can use it in a way that leads to growth.
This Self-Care Guide will help you identify seven areas of well-being that you can focus on to ensure you maintain a healthy life as you navigate different seasons.
Here’s how this works.
- Listen to episode 51, 7 Ways to Combat Stress, on the You’ve Heard It Said podcast.
- Pray and ask God to reveal one area of well-being that He wants you to focus on.
- Click on it below to learn more, and find ways to start strengthening that part of your life today.
Learn more about each area of well-being.
Relationship With God
A strong relationship with God is the foundation for our lives. Just like any other relationship in our life, this is going to look unique and special for you. However, there are still key habits and routines that can help you thrive in this area of well-being.
- Time: Invest time daily to be present with God.
This could look like time spent in the Bible, prayer, worship, devotionals, or community relationships that build faith.
- Depth: Get connected and relationally deep with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and get to know the Bible.
This is how close you are with Jesus. How easy or difficult is it for you to be transparent and vulnerable with God?
- Growth: Engage in times of confession, encouragement, and study.
This could look like developing your faith through Bible studies, podcasts, books, or other tools. It also includes serving and sharing with others.
Rest is more than a nap and Netflix. There’s a biological reason for rest. There is a natural way that our stress hormones reset through restful activities. When we experience prolonged seasons of stress without rest, these hormones aren’t able to reset properly and we risk burning out. Plus, when we don’t rest, our energy levels are impacted, which then affect our other areas of well-being.
- Time: Invest time in regular rest.
What does it look like for you to have intentional time to rest physically and spiritually?
- Depth: Get quality rest that restores.
Rest looks different for everyone. What does life-giving rest look like for you?
- Growth: Maintain regular opportunities for rest.
How often are you taking time to rest and recharge each week? What does it look like to build a long-term habit of rest?
Relationships With Others
Relationships with others are crucial in every season of life. When you’re in stressful or overwhelming seasons, these people will walk with you, sit with you, and support you. It’s important to have relationships that are transparent, authentic, and mutually satisfying.
- Time: Invest time in priority relationships.
The time you spend with others reflects the value of the relationships. How much time are you spending with your spouse, kids, LifeGroup, coworkers, and friends?
- Depth: Engage in mutually satisfying relationships with trusted people who are transparent and vulnerable.
What does your time spent with others look like? What are you doing when you’re around others?
- Growth: Close relationships should be moving forward and going deeper.
Your close relationships encourage you to be the healthiest version of yourself.
Taking care of our physical health is important to our overall health and well-being. These habits encompass areas like getting enough quality sleep, moving your body, staying hydrated, and eating nutritious foods.
- Time: Invest in physical care.
This includes having regular check-ups and physicals, exercising, eating well, sleeping, and drinking water.
- Depth: Get quality and intentional physical care.
How are you developing intentional habits to increase your physical health?
- Growth: Continually grow stronger and healthier.
Caring for your physical health is a lifestyle more than a checklist. How are you creating a healthy lifestyle?
Our finances are a daily part of our lives, and they’re not going away. This can be a huge source of stress for many people, but it doesn’t have to be. Creating a budget, regularly checking your bank accounts, and finding ways to be intentionally generous can help us to have a healthy relationship with our finances.
- Time: Invest time to manage household money.
Make time to create a budget, and then regularly check and update it based on your expenses and needs.
- Depth: Develop an intentional plan for your money.
Decide where your money is going to be spent, and then follow through with your plan—while also leaving room to be flexible with your finances.
- Growth: Look for ways to be generous, and identify opportunities for future investments.
Have a goal to make each year financially stronger than the previous year. And celebrate the growth you’re seeing.
Internal and external stressors impact our ability to process emotions and feelings in a healthy and proactive way. Learning and exercising your brain in areas that interest you and generally stretching your thinking can help you to stay healthy in this area of well-being.
- Time: Invest in learning and valuing your personal approach to managing your emotions.
This includes learning to identify personal stressors, acknowledging the physical effects of stress, and knowing when and how to address them.
- Depth: Have quality, regular check-ins with yourself.
Review this Self-Care Guide regularly to recognize when and where stress is present.
- Growth: Engage in emotional regulation and develop healthy coping skills.
Develop and practice healthy coping skills to avoid burnout.
All of our professional lives look different. Regardless of the work you do, it’s important to gauge how well you’re doing in your role. We all have our own pace at which we work, and noticing when our personal tendencies begin trending downward is crucial to this area of well-being.
- Time: Invest the appropriate amount of time in work.
Evaluate not just the results of your work, but the number of hours you spent on the work.
- Depth: Live out your purpose, and focus on your unique role.
Are you passionate about the work you’re doing? How does the quality of your work impact those around you?
- Growth: Increase your sphere of influence and grow your leadership characteristics.
Are you gaining self-awareness and knowledge through continually pursuing personal growth?
Did you pick an area to focus on?
If you aren’t sure which area you need to focus on—or if you have multiple that could use attention—think about the first area that usually breaks down when you’re under stress. Start with that area, because if you can identify and acknowledge the impact of stress in that moment, it will be easier to prevent your stress from snowballing into other areas, too.