5 Practical Ways to Handle Pent-Up Stress and Pressure Overload

We need to learn how to handle a new level of sustainability. (Unsplash)

Ask someone how they're doing. The common response: "I'm good, thanks!"

Here's the more candid version I'm hearing these days. "I think I'm pretty good, but I'm not really sure. Honestly, I don't know."

That's an honest answer. It's an answer of a leader who may be on overload.

It could be someone in your family or a leader you are developing.

Or you.

It will soon be half a year since the coronavirus invaded our lives. Overall, I think most are doing well under the circumstances, but cracks are beginning to appear as people are hitting their limits.

We need to learn how to handle a new level of sustainability in terms of:

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—Unanswered questions.

—Unresolved problems.

—Unknown future.

Sustained unanswered, unresolved and unknown. That's the new overload.

It's been building up in all of us for over five months.Stress. Fear, Worry, Anxiety, Anger, Frustration, Depression.

Some leaders are reaching breakpoints; others are holding up pretty well, everything considered. But no one completely eludes the effects of this season.

One person said it this way describing a family member: "He's really mad—but doesn't know who to be mad at."

That sums it up well. It's a moving target that changes weekly.

Health, finances, emotions, career, future, and now it's impacting relationships.

Why Are Some People Dealing With This Craziness Better Than Others?

—Some entered this season with more emotional reserves in their soul.

—Others live and lead in healthier environments.

—Others still have determined to find the good rather than get stuck in the negative.

We're all different, but there are several things in common.

5 Practical Ways to Handle Pent-Up Stress and Pressure Overload

1. Honest conversation. An honest conversation does three really healthy things. It gets your stress, pressure and negative emotion from locked up inside to moved outside, slowly and healthily.

It helps you clarify and define the scope and depth of your stress. That enables you to determine the best solutions. You often discover you're not alone, that others feel exactly like you do and they can offer helpful solutions. Conversation with a trusted friend or mentor is great, but if you need a professional counselor, don't hesitate to make an appointment.

2. Get outside and keep moving. Sunshine and fresh air have a tremendously positive effect on your emotions and overall disposition.

Getting outdoors and taking a simple walk around the parking lot or up and down your street is a great stress reliever. Exercise, of course, adds even more value to your mental health.

3. Intentionally cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in your life. Galatians 5:22-23 lists the fruit of the Spirit:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."

Each of these resides within you, but it's up to you how strong their presence is in your life. Intentional cultivation through prayer and practice increases their presence and strength.

4. Enjoy the simple things in life. I really appreciate the value of the simple things, but I'm not always good at it. I typically move too fast and love to take on even more and greater challenges.

The simple things in life require us to slow down, cease striving, find that content place where you are not measuring success but instead enjoying the moment. You know you're there when you quietly smile and sense a deep inner peace.

I have a new "simple thing," I love. My granddaughter is 5 months old and has just started eating solid foods. I fed her for the first time, and I was utterly lost in the moment. We all have simple things that make us smile and create inner peace. Don't miss them, and be sure to enjoy them.

5. Unplug and get some quiet. I'm not referring to your quiet time with God, although that's always a good thing to do!

In this case, I'm just talking about good old-fashioned quiet. Quiet is rare these days.

I'm not big on putting my iPhone in a drawer for a week, but I do think that laying it down in another room for a couple of hours or so is healthy. Turn your devices off, even if just for a couple of hours, two or three times a week. It really makes a difference.

I hope this post is helpful to you or a friend.

Dan Reiland is the executive pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as executive pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as vice president of leadership and church development at INJOY.

For the original article, visit danreiland.com.

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