Leisure and Burnout in Ministry Articles

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Another Look at Holiday Stress

Last year I focused on some "stress busters" for the holidays, here is a second installment of helpful hints for the season upon us:

  • Increase lay participation in planning and execution- It may be too late for you, but the more lay leadership in the season, the fewer responsibilities for the clergy. Begin working with laity early in the year for every major holy day and special observance.
  • Clergy are not the only ones stressed-Laity are very busy and caught up in the season. A large dose of patience and forgiveness should be extended. Maybe there should be a limit placed on the number of Advent/Christmas services/programs during the month of December. Better to focus on several great events than a large quantity of lower quality ones.
  • Simplicity-One of the things that has made my life more manageable during the season is that I have basically done away with shopping. My family has for the most part everything they will ever need, and we can generally buy anything we want. I frequently give financial gifts to those who can really use them in my family's name.
  • Family rituals-We have distinct family customs that make the season bright. After the Christmas tree goes up we savor the entire Advent season. We decorate a little bit of the tree each night of Advent, sing carols, and make family time for the season. We usually go without gifts under the tree until the last week of advent as a reminder that the greatest gift didn't come with a bow.
  • Up the exercise/relaxation prior to Christmas-I usually take the days before Christmas Eve to slow down the workload, up the exercise and family time. The added physical exertion has proved to be good for me both mentally and physically. I tend to eat healthier, and desire sweets and fats in lower amounts when I am exercising.

Have yourself an enjoyable and relaxing Christmas!


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