April 22, 2021
“Are you stressed about anything?” This was a question that I have been asked by several doctors over the past years. I found the question to be offensive. Stress couldn’t possibly be the cause of actual physical pain. A friend of mine shared that she recently suffered from a painful eye twitch followed by a toothache. Both specialists she visited asked her the same question, “Are you stressed.” She admitted that she was in a very busy season but she was just doing life as usual. It wasn’t until she realized through the doctors that she wasn’t sleeping and it was due to being in a constant state of doing, going, and serving. Her body was screaming in pain to get her to stop and refill her tank.
I relate all too well with my friend. I pack every moment of every day with something. Whether it is work, laundry, a lunch date, serving at church, or attending the third baseball game of the week my schedule is packed. I like it that way. There is something about being busy that validates I am contributing to society. The problem with that mindset is that it depletes us over time. We cannot go 100 miles per hour without occasionally taking time to fill the tank.
I’ve spoken about the importance of the Sabbath, so I won’t rehash that in this post. Instead, I wanted to focus on ways that people refill their tanks.
Many find getting out in nature is a good way to fill their tanks and find rest. However, not all nature is made equal. Which level of nature fills your tank?
Not everyone likes to journal but it can be a very cathartic release to get all your thoughts and feelings out. My friend began journaling when she realized her symptoms were stress-related. She never liked doing it because it became another “thing” on her to-do list. When she realized that it was just a journal, just for her, she began to use it when she needed it. She didn’t put extra pressure on herself to journal daily or weekly. She picked it up and wrote down what she needed to WHEN she needed to. How different might you look at journaling if you reminded yourself, YOU are in control?
Some people are crafty and it fills them with a sense of joy. I’m not one of those and I usually end up frustrated and disappointed with craft projects. However, I love adult coloring books and my son just introduced me to directed drawing. These are what I would call low “skill” creative crafts that help me calm my spirit. If you love to knit, draw, paint, color, even cooking can be something that feels restful and restorative.
Another one of my favorite activities that I don’t always make time for is reading. I love curling up with a good book especially a fiction novel. I write for a living and tend to spend a large amount of my day reading self-help, Christian-living, and theological studies. When I need a rest and a refuel a great story does the trick. It doesn’t feel like work and my imagination readily finds itself lost in the words. By the way, if you need a good book why not read mine, “Chart a Course: Taking a Journey With God at the Helm?” 😁
Some will view this as a depleting activity so you must know yourself. I have found that a little movement especially doing something fun like playing tennis, pickle-ball, or beach volleyball fills me up. Even going for a walk can be restorative. Our bodies are designed to move so even if you hate going to the gym and working out try to find an activity that gets you moving that you enjoy. Not only will this fill your tank spiritually but getting the blood moving can actually help your body eliminate toxins.
Whether it’s watching a few funny cat videos on YouTube or downloading my favorite comedy app…DryBar Comedy, find something that makes you laugh. Laughter is one of the best ways to lift your mood, fight fear and anxiety, and help you be less depressed.
All of us will recharge the batteries differently. The important thing is that you don’t fill your life with so many to-dos that you end up doing nothing that replenishes you. Filling our tanks and finding rest is one of the healthiest things we can do for our body, mind, and soul! How do you refill the tank? I’d love to hear your ideas.