As a retired pastor who once struggled with maintaining a healthy balance between work and life, I now understand that I was not alone. It's just not that simple to find the perfect balance as dedicated pastors, seeking to serve our congregations, spreading the word of God, and supporting our communities, and doing it all well.
It can be challenging to balance ministerial responsibilities with your own well-being. It can be difficult to find the time and energy to prioritize self-care. But, taking care of "you" is just as important as taking care of others. In this article, I will share some tips for creating and maintaining a personal wellness routine as a busy pastor. We will focus on ways you can achieve a balance in your life and ministry, while also thriving in your role.
One: Make Self-Care a Priority
If you are serious about creating a self-care routine, you must first prioritize it. Showing yourself a little self-love must be a non-negotiable part of your day. It must be right up there, in importance, with all of your other responsibilities. So, schedule your self-nurturing activities right into your calendar, and treat them with the same respect as all your other ministry commitments. I promise you, you'll have more energy, focus, and creativity to bring to your pastoral work, once you give your own needs the appropriate place on your calendar.
Two: Identify Your Self-Care Needs
If your goal is to create a self-restoration routine that works for you, you need to identify your needs. Take it to the Lord as you reflect on what activities bring you joy, relaxation, and a sense of purpose. Your list might include things like:
- Starting an exercise program
- Spending time with loved ones
- Engaging in a spiritual practice
- Experiencing Aroma Meditation
- Pursuing your hobbies
Make a list and prioritize the activities you find most fulfilling. This will help you create a self-renewal routine that aligns with your unique preferences and needs.
Three: Start Small
Creating a self-care routine can feel overwhelming at times, especially when you have a busy schedule. The secret to setting achievable goals, though, is that of starting small. Begin by incorporating one personal wellness activity into your routine each day. Treat yourself to a short meditation, a walk in nature, or opening that book you never seemed to have time to read. Once you have established this habit, you can gradually add more self-care activities into your routine.
Four: Be Consistent
Consistency is key when it comes to creating an effective personal-wellness routine. Set a regular schedule for your "me time" activities, and stick to it as much as possible. This will help you establish a habit of making self-care a regular part of your routine. Consistency will also help you avoid burnout, as you maintain a healthy balance between work and life.
Five: Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries is essential if you want to maintain a healthy balance. It's important to establish clear boundaries, between your ministry responsibilities and your personal life. Set limits on your work hours and learn to say "NO" to requests that don't line up with your priorities or values. This will help you avoid burnout, while creating a space for your soul-renewing activities.
Six: Take Time Off
Remember to honor your time off. Some denominations actually have rules requiring that pastors take time for sabbath rest, vacation, and spiritual enrichment. These denominations understand that a leader who does not take time for rest, is exponentially more likely to experience burnout. Take your allotted amount of time off seriously and work it into your schedule, because if you reach the point of burn-out, your efforts will be of no good, for yourself, your family, or your congregation. You must take care of "you" before you can take care of others.
Seven: Get Support
Finally, it's important to get support from others. Reach out to friends, family, or other spiritual leaders who can provide support and accountability, as you work to establish your self-renewal routine. You might also consider joining a support group, seeking the advice of a professional counselor, or contacting a natural wellness specialist about a sacred type of healing, called Aroma Meditation.
While breathing in the aromatic molecules of plants (created by God for this purpose), during a time of meditation, and a guided memory resolution session, many have experienced their negative thoughts, feelings, and memories, simply fading away. And the more I work alongside ministerial colleagues, the more I am convinced that this is absolutely a gift from God (a general means of grace, as John Wesley would call it).
Here it is in a nutshell. Aroma Meditation, working within the center of your being, along with God's healing touch, will bring about a sense of emotional wellness, contentment, and freedom, leaving you better equipped to move forward in your life and your ministry.
Add it to your self-care routine. You will be glad you did!