7 Quick Tips for Handling Stress

Learning to handle stress may be one of the more important things you can do to lead effectively and long-term.

Handling Stress

Stress is all around us. Every day I encounter burned out and stressed out pastors. Regardless of your career, it appears life is more stressful than ever.

I would say learning to handle stress may be one of the more important things you can do to lead effectively and long-term.

I hope this post can help a few stressed-out leaders.

Here are seven ways I handle stress:

Prayer – God really does answer this request. When I’m really stressed out, I get alone with God. Prayer doesn’t always change my situation, but it always changes me to remember who is ultimately in control.

Time management – Most times a well-planned schedule will greatly diminish stress. I try to plan my activities at the beginning of the week in a way that allows for unexpected interruptions, yet still also allows me to complete the tasks required of me.

Exercise – This may be my best secret for battling stress. The more stressed I am the more I need to run. I’ve been known to disappear on a busy day to get some exercise.

Disciplined life – There are activities and habits that simply add to stress. If you stay up way too late and never get enough rest, your stress-factor will increase. When I’m especially stressed, I try to build in down time and time just for me.

Balance – I have learned to say “No” to some things and balance my time between all the things that pull for my attention. I find when I try to be all things to all people I am not much good to anyone.

Addressing known problems quickly – If a relationship is causing stress, the sooner I deal with it the less likely I am to stress about it. If I need to make the hard decisions—I make them now. The sooner I deal with those things I know I need to, the less long-term stress it brings.

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Asking for help – When I am really at my limit with stress, I am not too proud to tell someone. I have learned to delegate well and allow people the freedom to speak into my life as needed.

What tips do you have for people to lower their stress? How do you handle stress?

This article originally appeared here.

Ron Edmondson
Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been helping church grow vocationally for over 10 years.
  • Ken Smith

    Ron thanks for the reminders of what it should be like us to do when we are feeling stress. I would add that prayer and being with God shouldn’t just be something that we need to get alone to do. It should be ceaseless connecting and dialoging with God. Becoming aware of the Peace/Shalom that God provides should make us hunger for it all the more. In our groups we discuss what was distressing during the week. Usually it involves a lost awareness that God is with us, so we talk about the point where we remembered He is with us and we refocused on that. His peace usually returns at that point. The more we tell these stories of return (and repentance) the shorter the time gets from when we forgot about who is with us and our turning back. “Whenever I am afraid and distressed I will trust in you, LORD.”
    The piece that is unsaid is church planters need to have a group that they can safely express their distress and be reminded how it is we live as God’s children gently. Not every church has this for everyone and churchplanters may have it even less. Building a church where this is the norm creates a place that highly values our identity in Christ and belonging to Him and His church. These are important for a healthy church plant. It will not eliminate stress but it will create a place were we stay connected to God and one another so that we can be reminded when we stop acting like we were designed to behave.