Stress Relief - No Laughing Matter
Stress Relief? It's no laughing matter, but it has become something of a joke to the thousands of men, women, and children who are living in today's world and experiencing the frantic pace of both work and play. Stress can take many forms. It isn't just the negative experiences of life that can create stress. Being too busy, even though participating in a multitude of fun-filled activities, can result in excessive surges of adrenaline in the body that leave us fatigued and emotionally drained. Like a driver merging from the onramp onto a multilane freeway during rush hour traffic, we find ourselves struggling to get up to speed and go with the flow of today's fast paced family.
Stress Relief - Is It In Sight?
Today's post-modern culture lures family members away from one another, while encouraging each individual to pursue his or her own search for self-fulfillment. Already fragmented families take vacations to entertainment capitals of the world, and come home exhausted from the effort to see all and do all. People are working harder than ever before, to afford expensive vacations that advertise the "something for everyone" enticement. Underneath it all, there is often the pervasive longing to return to a time when life was simpler and relaxing.
The typical post-modern family rarely eats a meal together. Mom and dad may both work out of the home. Ballet lessons, club activities, and school sports fill up the after school schedules of many children. By the time everyone gets home, eats, and takes a bath, it's bedtime. Exhausted moms and dads tumble into bed so that they can get up and do it all over again, tomorrow.
They wonder to themselves, "Is there stress relief in sight?" Weekends, which used to be a time for resting and spending time as a family, are now packed full of even more activities and busyness. Fast food is gobbled and nutritional needs are sacrificed, while rushed parents fly out the door on Saturday morning to drop off and pick up their sons and daughters, from parks, gymnastics academies, and local hockey rinks. There's the weekly grocery shopping to be done and a host of other errands to complete. "Home" is no long valued as a place to reconnect and refresh. Instead, it has become a barracks to crash in, before reentering the world of work or play. By the time Sunday rolls around, the temptation to just sleep in is too great for many families to ignore and family worship becomes the only nonevent of the week.
Stress Relief - How Do I Get It?
How can today's family function in a world where there is so much to do, and not enough time to do it all? Where is the stress relief? Counselors and others involved in helping professions are realizing that there are two important characteristics of a family that determine how well it will cope in the face of the stresses and anxieties of everyday life. A healthy family stays connected and shares in the positive experience of both giving and receiving love among its family members. Stress relief comes as a family purposefully sets time aside to just be a family, to spend time together. Vacations that are jam-packed with all the diversions that can be offered by today's entertainment industry are no substitute for a family camping trip or a day at the beach together.
Refreshment is also a very necessary ingredient for stress relief. The Creator of the Universe recognized that His creation needed to rest from the busyness of life, and so He created a day for both spiritual and physical rest. God also knew that human beings could not handle all of the pressures and stresses of life all by themselves. That is why God's Word tells us in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast all of our anxieties on Him, because He truly cares about us and wants what is best for us. Prayer is perhaps the best source of stress relief that you can experience. The next time you are really feeling overwhelmed with life and in need of relief, try these three things:
- Regroup as a family and spend a day together. Take time away from all the busyness to reconnect and to experience the sense of belonging that comes from giving and receiving love within your own family.
- Make refreshment a priority. Set aside a day of the week for worship and for rest. Attend church as a family.
- Pray. Talk to God about the stresses in your life and remember to turn over your cares to the One who truly cares for you.
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