Just a simple look around, and you will see that stress is everywhere. People are overwhelmed with all that life requires: work, family, errands, bills, medical issues, etc. Although there are many legitimate pulls on our time and money, they all can add up and come at a cost to our mental and spiritual well-being. Put into practice these three simple yet powerful ideas, and regain balance and peace today.
Thinking – Challenge the productivity model
Men are called to work. We are built for it. It was a command for Adam before sin entered the world. Work gives us purpose, and it is good. What isn’t clearly laid out for working, however, is to what degree and at what cost. I am asking that we as men simply challenge the unyielding demands of productivity and ask, “For what?” A bigger home? Three or even two car notes? Everyone having the latest $1,000 phone? Many families are struggling not just because of inflation and wage stagnation, but because we (families) demand more luxuries than ever before. Annual vacations, regular take out, gourmet coffees, big screens and latest video games, updated technology, new vehicles, nicer homes so that everyone has their own bedroom and bathroom, etc. A powerful way that a leader can de-stress is to simply “lean out” of the productivity model and help the family understand that dad’s presence, wisdom, guidance, and well-being are all of more worth than the stuff that dad can work to buy. Recognize the ways that you are needed in your family beyond income and find a healthy balance so that you are not overly, unnecessarily stressed.
Spiritual – Peace can be found in the will of God
The best way to de-stress is to align with God. Col 3:1-4. “1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
Our spiritual walk is to about connecting with the God of the universe for direction and refreshment. If we find our times with the Lord to be frustrating and burdensome, we are probably doing it wrong. God doesn’t just connect with us intellectually. He often calls us to an adventure! Reconnect with that boyish spirit of adventure and discover how God wishes for you to live your life and direct your family. You will benefit when you realize that you don’t have to carry the burden of major decisions or of even being perfect. You simply seek to know God and be obedient to his voice. One of the best ways to find your footing is to spend time with God in prayer and reading/studying the scriptures. Work this into your day, starting small. Download an app (Bible.is) and listen to the scripture as you get ready for work or every time you are in your car. Work in a regular prayer life throughout the day. You can use the ACTS model. Teach your family the same. Men, give up striving, vanity, perfection, and even this great American Dream, and be led by God, finding your peace in Him.
Acting – Reconnect with hobbies
There is a strong pull of the productivity model and the protestant work ethic which often keeps us men from maintaining hobbies. With work to be done around the house, childcare activities, and professional obligations, who has time?! However, research has found that leisure activities improve our mood and psychological well-being. Although spending time with your family can be de-stressing, making sure that you maintain your own interests and passions will serve to keep you balanced as an individual. All the better if family wants to join in! But, it is okay if they don’t either. Whether it’s woodworking, car tinkering, playing basketball, reading books on management or fiction, serving others, or any other activity, we need hobbies. They give us a sense of mastery and help us refuel and find enjoyment. Encourage your children and spouse to develop personal hobbies as well.
Pressman, S. D. et. al. (Sept. 2009). Association of Enjoyable Leisure Activities With Psychological and Physical Well-Being. Psychosomatic Medicine, 71(7): 725–732.