Beating Burned Out!

20 Sep

I  saw a recent statistic stating that 70% of Pastors are burned out. Like a piece of sliced bread stuck in the toaster too long , these guys ( and ladies ) are on fire–in a not so healthy way. If you get close enough to them you may smell the smoke. And it’s getting worse by the day.

Pastor’s are special people called by the Lord to serve–but we must never forget, they are people just like you and me. They feel the same pressures of life as the average person in the pew. Most are raising a family, paying bills, trying to carve out the time for thier sons soccer game and thier daughters dance recital. The difference between the pastor and most others is this: the telephone never stops ringing. The emails continue from morning ’til night. Family dinner hours are regulary interrupted by phone calls from well meaning people who desperately need to talk through a family or ministry “situation”– right now.

Before you judge me to quickly let me say this: It’s not the parishioners fault that the pastor is burned out. It’s the pastors own fault! He , for one reason or another, refuses to take the phone off the hook or forgets to unplug his laptop. It is the pastor’s responsibility to prioritize his or her life. God never designed the work of the ministry to be hazardous to our health. Dangerous and risky at times , but not unhealthy. He is our burden bearer. His yoke is easy and his burden light. So , if it seems your pastor is stressed out, or if you are a pastor smelling the smoke yourself , here are a few tips to beat burnout.

1) Breath slowly and deeply. That may sound trite but it works like a charm. This will help you relax and not over react to situations that regularly cause you stress.

2)Count to 10 before responding to someone with whom you may dissagree. Thomas Jefferson made this a regular daily practice , after realizing that he was wound tight and prone to blowups.

3)Practice speaking slower that normal. This will lessen anxiety levels and keep you chillaxed as they say.

4) Take care of nagging responsibilities.You know those things that keep revolving on your “to do ” list? Be proactive and do them! It will relieve tension and worry in a big way.

5) Get Outdoors. There is something very healthy about stepping outside and into God’s creation. Even scientists now say that listening to running water from a stream or waterfall can be of great benefit to the calming of one’s heart and mind. Psalm 23: 2 says ” he leads me beside peaceful stream and renews my strength”

6) Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can provoke aggressiveness and anxiousness in everyone–especially people under stress. Water can literally cool you down physically and emotionally.

7) Check your posture. Bad posture can lead to muscle tension that inevitably leads to stress. Sit up straight and be sure to stretch regularly.

8) Plan something rewarding at the end of your workday. Different personalities enjoy different things. Some people relieve stress by physical exercize. Others fellowship with friends or their spouse to relieve stress. Some have hobbies, while others like to do something as simple as read a book in the quiet. Whatever works for you–do it.

9) Take time off. Rather than taking extensive vacations that can wear you out, two to three day breaks can be life savers, especially if your job stress is seasonal. Do it three to four times a year and you’ll always have special times to look forward to with family and friends.

10) Learn to laugh at yourself. Sometimes we can be the primary instigators of our own stress. Learn to laugh at your own silly mistakes and always remember to forgive yourself. We can be so busy preaching forgiveness to everyone else and forget to apply it to our own situations. Laugh and enjoy all that God has blessed you with.

( some stats taken from Medicine.net )

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