Many people have been living with a subtle (or not so subtle) uneasiness due to the pandemic for the past year. Stress and anxiety have crept into people's minds and hearts where they may not have existed previously.
It has also elevated questions and discussions around life and death. The pandemic has tragically stolen the lives of millions of people worldwide.
It has disabled our passion for life, rest, vacations, and living a normal life in some cases. The isolation and loneliness many have experienced throughout the pandemic are equally as tragic.
The Lord never meant for us to live in isolation, loneliness, fear, stress, or without hope. In fact, Jesus is hope.
In Psalm 23, the author writes (speaking of the shepherd),
You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. — Psalm 23:2-3a (The Message)
It is only natural that our minds, souls, and bodies need rest, but it cannot be easy to find rest among our busyness.
Here are five ways to slow down:
- Take a Vacation (or Staycation) – Vacations (and even staycations) are meant to restore and refresh our weariness. It is a time to disconnect from the busyness of life and slow down. Spend time with the ones you love or do something you love.
- Go on a Digital Fast – the constant pings of emails and text messages can increase our anxiety levels. Our devices were meant to aid our lives, but it seems they often lead to elevated levels of stress and anxiety. Turn them off for one day or one week, but it is good to disconnect from our devices and reconnect with those right in front of us. Jessica Turner, the author of The Fringe Hours, takes a digital sabbath once per week.
- Play a Board Game – our family loves board games. When my brother and his girlfriend come for a visit, we usually end up around the table playing games (even in the COVID season). I know others who take a family vacation with the extended family and have running game totals for a week. These games seem to bring out the playful competitive side in all of us.
- Have Family Dinner Each Night – growing up, we always seemed to have family dinner. Each day, we would gather for a meal and share what happened in our day. It was an exception when we did not have a family meal together. Today, we are all older, but we still try to have at least one meal together a week.
- Have a Meal with Close Friends – some of us (like me) are not married, or life events have left you without a spouse or family. I want to encourage you to have a meal with your close friends each week or at least once per month. We often use our busyness as an excuse not to meet (I have done this), but as I get older, I realize how important these times are for my own sanity. Take time today to schedule a meal with one of your close friends.
Slowing down and enjoying life leads to lower stress and anxiety levels and helps you connect with those who mean the most to you.
As we exit the COVID season (hopefully), I hope and pray you will be able to reconnect with friends and family or take that long-awaited vacation. I know I am looking to get away for a little rest and relaxation later this summer.
Psalm 23 Encourages Us to Slow Down and Rest Awhile