With studies such as the Duke Divinity School’s “Clergy Health Initiative” and The New York Times article “Taking a break from the Lord’s work” it is apparent that clergy burnout is on the rise.
Pastors are often expected to be available 24/7. In addition to preparing weekly sermons and leading worship, they perform a myriad of duties that chip away at their time and personal lives.
Something is lost in the daily grind and needs to be replenished. People need to be re-created periodically, replenished, built back up after a time of hard work.
Here are ways to help you re-create:
- Participate in physical activity and recreation. Activity can also foster social opportunities and contribute to mental health by reducing stress, combating depression and building emotional well-being.
- Keep a regular schedule. Go to bed on time and get up on time to start the day rested and unrushed.
- Relax. Bodies aren’t made to go non-stop. We need sleep to regenerate, but we also need to consciously stop and sometimes just sit. Calm your mind.
- Say “No” occasionally. This is especially important for projects that really won’t fit into your schedule or that will compromise your mental or physical health.
- Delegate tasks to capable others.
- Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don’t lump the hard things all together.
- Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety. If you can’t do anything about a situation forget it
- Having problems? Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don’t wait to worry about issues until it’s time to go to bed.
- Remember that less can be more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)
- Allow extra time to do things and go places.
- Laugh and laugh some more.
- Take your work seriously but yourself not at all.
- Give thanks. Every night before going to bed, think of one thing you’re grateful for that you’ve never been grateful for in the past.
- Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.