Do you ever feel like, in order to meet your own expectations and those of others, you’d have to work relentlessly, push through the tired, ignore the stress—and you still might come up short? The demands will always outweigh the resources. Just thinking about this is stressful, yet it is under exactly this stress that we spend most of our time.
“Stress management” is a term we’re all familiar with. The implication is that stress will always be a part of our lives, and we just have to learn to manage it better. Today I bring you the stress management tip that will leave all the other tips in the dust: Do Less.
Just typing those words was stressful. For me, the thought of not being able to do everything creates anxiety. But who am I kidding? I really can’t do it all. I know that, but I think my mantra has been Do as much as possible. Never has it been Do less. How bizarre a thought!
Recently I’ve focused on a “spend less” plan for our money. We cut back our expenses, dramatically for a while, to teach ourselves that less is okay. In fact, less created more. Money we didn’t spend began slowly accumulating in our bank account, which was something that had never happened before. We started having money designated for expenses before those expenses came up, instead of scrambling for it as it was needed. It was truly amazing.
I began to wonder, could this concept simply be applied to other stress-inducing areas of my life, like the way I spend my time? Could I simply commit to less—and if so, would I build up some kind of reserve? Would there be some sort of deficit if I did?
Jesus said something that I believe fits here: “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”1 He was certainly not an example of rushing around—quite the contrary. I assume Jesus was surrounded by people even then who were rushing around trying to do everything. Parents trying to rally the kids for supper, entrepreneurs trying to start up businesses, priests trying to get to all their duties, servants trying to make it through an unreasonable workload, and on the list goes.
But Jesus says, “Come to Me … and I will give you rest.”2
Each time you’re tempted to do more, take on something else, and push harder, join me in taking a minute to ask yourself (and Jesus) if you instead did less, would it be okay? What would “doing less” look like in this situation?
I suspect that, like me, you might learn something new, and discover some space and some rest.
1. Matthew 11:30
2. Matthew 11:28