Leisure and Burnout in Ministry Articles

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Leisure Satisfaction

The summer is upon you. I have always found that things move just a bit slower in the parish when school lets out, people vacation, some church programs take a recess. It is a good time of year to get serious about your leisure. So, here are some thoughts to ponder:

  • Research has discovered that satisfactory leisure experiences early in life (ages 8-11) leads to more psychologically adjusted adults 20 years later. Think back to your childhood summers. Were those experiences significant contributors to your current state of being? Consider your children and family when making decisions about how you will spend your summer.
  • Further studies revealed that a wide variety of satisfying experiences, especially active pursuits (e.g. sports, hobbies) led to the psychological well being of adults. Researchers found that persons who focused on a small number of activities as children were less satisfied with their lives as adults than those who had numerous opportunities for experience. What implications does that have for your life and for your own situation?
  • There is a strong link between satisfaction with leisure and a person's perception of their quality of life. Research has shown that active and satisfying leisure is a key component of a happy and healthy lifestyle. Isn't it true for you? Things may be going well with the job, and in the family, but a lack of recreation or mental release can sour your whole week.
  • Novelty in the workweek can lead to increased satisfaction with leisure, and increased satisfaction with life in general. Sometimes routine can make an otherwise enjoyable job a chore. Leisure researchers challenge us to think about creative ways to do the same things. Maybe during the summer you can consider some ways to bring novelty to your work. Change the 9 to 5 hours to 7 to 3 and take advantage of those daylight hours. Consider exercising earlier in the morning and staying in during the heat of the day. Try working in 2 hour spurts followed by an hour of fun.

Increase your satisfaction with leisure, and you will increase your satisfaction with life.


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