Leisure and Burnout in Ministry Articles

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Holiday Stress

By the time you read this we will be deep into the Advent season and both clergy and laity are wondering if preparing for the birth of the Christ Child is worth the trouble. Church schedules are already overbooked and if one more Sunday School class invites us to a party we might just scream. Take heart, there are some things you and I can do to stem the tide of stress during this busy season:

  • Be sure to take your day off. Easier said than done. During the crunch of the expanded programs and schedules of the season, clergy and laity actually need more time off to work effectively. This may mean saying "no" to some things, and shifting schedules around, but for your own good, take time off.
  • Be sure to exercise. One of the best ways to deal with stress is to get some physical activity. A long walk, a round of golf, step aerobics. Whatever it takes to get your heart rate up and your mind off your hectic schedule, do it. It will also help you to deal with those extra calories pumping into your system this time of year.
  • Take time for friends and family. Plan regular times to be with family and colleagues who give you support. If you regularly meet with small groups or have family hours planned, don't scratch them just because the season is frenzied. It is even more important to have support systems in place during this time of year.
  • Do something special for yourself. Buy a gift, eat a special meal, or watch your favorite movie. In a season where giving is key, know that it is okay to give something to yourself.

You and those around you will appreciate the little things you do to take care of yourself during this season.


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