7 Self-Care Habits You Can Start Today
Beginning the journey to self-care can be daunting. But as is the case in most everything, the journey begins with small steps. This is especially important for church staff members, as ministry is a 24/7 job.
These six steps take as little as ten minutes to accomplish and can make a huge impact on both your work and personal life.
1. Turn off your phone
All of us carry mini computers (aka “mobile phones”) with more power than the Apollo space shuttles that originally sent a man to the moon. We feel like the world will end if we don’t respond to every call, text and email immediately (News flash – it won’t!).
Taking time to regularly "unplug" can add to your personal life and increase your productivity at work.
Here at Vanderbloemen, we are all about “ridiculous responsiveness,” but we also balance that with “stewardship of life.” Set boundaries for your phone use and then tell those who work for and with you about your personal boundaries. For example, turn your ringer off and place your phone face down until your kids go to bed.
2. Go for a walk
The benefits of going for a short walk are numerous. Just a short, 10-minute walk can bolster heart health, improve brain function, and reduce stress. If regular exercise isn’t a part of your day, starting with just a short walk around your church property or office building can go a long way in clearing your head and improving your productivity.
3. Take steps to improve your personal finances
What percentage of your stress can be attributed to personal finances? 5 percent? 10 percent? 25 percent? Can you imagine a life where you aren’t worried about money? At Vanderbloemen, we are fans of Dave Ramsey, in fact Total Money Makeover is required reading of all employees. To reduce your stress, stop by your local library and pick up a copy (it’s free that way!) and dig in. If you are already working a plan, take a few minutes to evaluate where you are in achieving your goals. Today might also be a great time to set up a monthly time with your spouse to evaluate your personal finances and create financial goals for your family.
4. Leave work on time
While most people no longer work a 9-5 job with a whistle blowing indicating the end of a shift, it is important to set “regular office hours” and then power down the computer and leave work at a reasonable hour.
It goes without saying that there are seasons where the hours are long and stress is high. In the ministry world, these seasons usually occur around Christmas, Easter and summer camp. However, if you aren’t in the middle of one of these seasons, there is no need to spend more time at work than you should. In fact, setting a hard end time to your day may increase your productivity because you know you must get everything done by a certain time. By setting a hard end time you are ensuring that you have time to exercise (or go for a walk), reconnect with family, read and still get a full night’s sleep.
5. Connect with a mentor
When was the last time you connected with your spiritual or professional mentor? Why not give him or her a call? Part of self care is fostering deep and meaningful relationships with individuals that you can encourage and that can encourage you.
If you don’t have a mentor, think about who in your personal or professional network you respect (don’t ask a stranger). From there, build a relationship with him or her, ask them their honest opinion (and let it change you), and be open and honest with them.
6. Eat a healthy snack
Keep healthy foods on hand (nuts, fruits and vegetables, etc.) easily accessible at your work place. Instead of reaching for a bag of chips, eat food that will fuel and sustain you during the service.
These tips might sound simple, but you'd be surprised how many pastors we talk to who feel burned out and tired because they've let their self-care fall to the wayside while they're caring for their church. Care for yourself well so that you can care for your church and community even better.
7. Get in the Word
There is no better way to take care of yourself than by keeping yourself regularly in the Word. When you center your day on the overarching vision God has for your life, it is so much easier to find peace and joy (even in chaotic seasons). Spending 10-15 minutes a day dedicated to reading the Bible can have compound effects on the rest of your day and week, mentally and spiritually.
What are some healthy habits you practice regularly?