Why is Relaxation so Stressful?

This fast paced life makes relaxation feel impossible! And what’s worse is that all we are told is to relax, but not given any idea how, when, or how often to relax. It’s an elusive concept that we can’t seem to nail down.

As I talked about in a previous blog post, “That One Thing”, another problem is that every relaxation tool wants to consume all of your time. Or at least it feels like it. Everyone thinks they have found that one thing that will make your life better and you need to be fully dedicated to it. If you want to be relaxed you have to use Lavender daily. If you want to be relaxed you have to have regular spa appointments. If you want to be relaxed you have to see a hypnotist regularly. If you want to be relaxed you have to practice regular self care…. whatever that means.

But God knew that life would be crazy some day. He knew that we’d have to put things above our own emotional and mental health on occasion. What stronger evidence do I have for that then living on less sleep so that I can take care of my children!? And since God doesn’t make mistakes then it doesn’t make sense that the sole key to being at peace would be hidden in a self help book or an expensive professional. Now I am grateful for all that these professionals do! I think that their services are invaluable! I am in the relaxation business myself! But I do not believe that any one place holds all the answers and even if they did I do not believe that to have peace we need to rely on them full time. Especially if that magical relaxation key drains our bank accounts and adds to the stress.

I always tell my clients, “If having me as your doula adds to your stress then I am not doing my job.”

So then the question is what is the answer? How can we manage in our fast paced world and somehow add caring for our need for relaxation too? Relaxation is Biblical. God himself rested on the 7th day. And He commanded us to do the same.

Science confirms that when human beings are under a lot of stress it has physical effects on our bodies. It feeds our diseases and weaknesses. It causes physical conditions like heart problems and ulcers. The importance of stress management is paramount.

Everything in our life is a spiritual battle. And stress is no different.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Ephesians 6:12 New International Version (NIV)

Whatever stress you have in your life should be run through the spiritual battle first!

Check out this site that has a collection of Spiritual Battle verses!

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7 New International Version.

Truth is aside from leaning into our savior there is no magical cure of stress. By developing healthier habits we can make that leaning into Christ easier! Here are my 5 recommended tips that don’t take up much time and can make huge impacts on your ability to relax.

1. Create a safe/happy place to visit when you are stressed.

I have a free relaxation track that I made to help create a safe place that you can use when you need to relax. The awesome thing about this is you can create this safe/happy place in 10 minutes or less! And you can use it in 5 minutes or less anytime that you need! If you are at work and need to find some calm take a few minutes out of you break to take deep calming breaths and picturing your happy place.

2. Identify what in your life that is making it hard for you to relax.

I created a free Emotional Awareness Track to help you identify stressors in your life that may be interfering with your ability to relax. For me I was struggling to relax because I constantly felt like I had a thousand things to do. So when I was attempting to relax or self care I would be thinking the whole time “I have so much I need to do, I don’t have time to relax”. To help with this I got on a cleaning schedule for my house so that when I had accomplished the days cleaning I stopped. Striving to make the house perfect every single day was wearing on me. And the amazing part is the house is cleaner on the schedule and I am spending less time cleaning. Here is the site I got my lists from! I also created a schedule for my work that I do from home. That way I am not constantly trying to tackle all of the tasks every day. When I finish the days work I am free to play with my kids or relax in a hot bath.

3. Create a mantra or affirmation for yourself.

Often times our stress is recurring stress. It usually surrounds specific aspects of our life or personalities. For instance the source of your stress may be feelings of inadequacy. In that case you could create an affirmation like “I am enough” or “I can do this”. Or choose a Bible verse like this:

“By the grace of God, I am what I am.”

1 Corinthians 25:10

I found this very helpful site that lays out simple steps to create your own Affirmations. In my own work I find that clients who have an affirmation manage labor pains easier than those who don’t.

Affirmations can be songs too! I have found that the more worship and positive music I listen to the better my stress level is. The more I listen to them the more they are stuck in my head and a constant reassurance from a loving savior. Here is a great collection of some new worship songs that are amazing!

“Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, light in the darkness, my God that is who You are.”

“Way Maker”, By: Michael W. Smith – Waymaker ft. Vanessa Campagna & Madelyn Berry

You can choose 1-2 affirmations or have as many affirmations as you have stressors. You can memorize them or post them around your house. Set reminders on your phone if you need to to say them. Use technology to your advantage.

4. focus more on sprinkling self care throughout your day.

Having long sessions of self care like a nap, massage, or long bath are great! But honestly it can be hard to squeeze into a hectic schedule. But creating small moments throughout the day is often much more manageable. Like taking a few minutes each day to take some slow deep breaths. It can take as little as 1 minute and can help reset your emotional meter.

5. Think outside the box when it comes to self-care.

Again this is similar to what I talked about in a previous blog Post, “That One Thing”. A great example of this I mentioned in step 2, I made a cleaning checklist. I consider this to be a self-care item. Because, like I said earlier, being on this schedule helped the job get done better with less work! And the less work there is the more relaxation there is! I strongly encourage you to think outside the box when it comes to your self-care. What projects can you eliminate or do more efficiently. What healthy habit can you add to your routine? Like eating more veggies or drinking more water.

No matter where you are on the journey to relaxation I hope you know that relaxation should not be an after thought and hopefully shouldn’t be a reward for a long week or months worth of hard work. But instead should be engrained in our daily life. As routine as eating.

What is one step you hope to take today to make an impact on your relaxation? Comment below to let me know!

Abbey is a Birth, Postpartum, Bereavement, and Sibling Doula, Breastfeeding Educator, Post Abortion Counselor, Photographer, and Artisan in Fort Worth Texas. Abbey strives to make services available to everyone through financial assistance, income based services, and more!

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