As I write this article for our e-news publication I am on my first vacation since starting in this role as Associate Conference Minister. That means it has been 9 months without intentional pause. That also means that I am still doing work on vacation (insert chuckles of understanding here). I assume that the response to reading those last two statements will bring up a variety of emotions depending on my readers’ ability to set boundaries and allow for self-care; however I need to put it in writing…for myself.
Internal mirrors are difficult and yet facing the areas in which we struggle are important accountability mechanisms.
It is easy for me to get caught up in a fast paced world. In the worlds or paces of other people and churches. I am definitely overworked and overextended. AND I am working hard to bring that back into alignment. To find quiet moments where I can focus on my breath. Time where I can settle in and offer space for my mind to ease itself into clarity of thought. Space for my body to relax.
There are a whole slew of reasons for pastors (and others) to be attentive to their own self-care, not limited to: amplified impulsivity, secondary trauma, compassion fatigue and burnout. Even if we can do a “good” job without caring for our own wellbeing, it is better if we are able to be kind and caring to ourselves in order to offer a more holistic approach to those whom we serve.
In the week ahead I will be focusing on the words of 13th century Persian poet Rumi, ‘I have come to drag you out of yourself and take you into my heart. I have come to bring out the beauty, you never knew you had and lift you like a prayer into the sky.’
Some other ways we might value ourselves throughout this pastor appreciation month are:
- Make space for creative practice. Whether it’s writing, painting, playing music.
- Turn your notifications off while you are supposed to be away from the office. You don’t need to respond to everything, or anything, right away. Make yourself less available.
- Download a meditation app. Then listen to it.
- Take your time making a tea or a coffee. Then take your time drinking it.
- Spend some time in nature. Get outside whether it’s with your cup of coffee or a group of friends. Just be outside.
As you design your month of October, appreciate you (it is pastor appreciation month after all) and try to allow yourself to slow down and savor what is right in front of you in the moment.
I would love to hear your ideas on how you all care for yourself…
Associate Conference Minister