Protecting Your Vacation

In today's connected world Ministry Leaders are finding it increasingly difficult to switch off from the stresses of the Church work. It has become commonplace that many Ministry Leaders will work, either at their Church or by answering email, phone calls or faxes while on vacation. In today's 24/7 society, work frequently intrudes into the Minister’s personal time off during vacations and holidays. In fact, 83 percent of email users admit to checking their email daily while on vacation. Research shows that stress and unhealthy behaviors used to manage it, contribute to some of our country's biggest health problems such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

Still Waters Restoration & Resource Ministries offers the following tips to Ministry Leaders:

Know yourself. Be aware of your stress level and know what stresses you out. Ministry Leaders experience stress in different ways. You may have a hard time concentrating or making decisions, feel angry, irritable or out of control, or experience headaches, muscle tension or lack of energy. Learn your own stress signals. Recognize how you deal with stress. Do you engage in unhealthy behaviors to cope with your stress? Do you lose patience with your children or spouse or coworkers when you feel overwhelmed by work pressures?

Turn off and tune in. Communication technology can take you to productivity heights never imagined, but it can also allow work to creep into family time, dinner and vacations. Set rules for yourself, such as turning off your cell phone or BlackBerry when you get home, or establishing certain times when you return calls. Be sure to communicate those rules to others, so you can manage their ministry expectations. Let technology be a tool that works for you, rather than the other way.

Keep a "To-Do" list. Worried that you'll forget something important? Constantly thinking through all the things you need to get done? Clear your head by creating a list of work and personal tasks and marking those with the highest priority. Not only will you reduce the risk of forgetting something, you'll also be better able to focus on the task at hand.

Take short breaks. Stay energized and productive by taking a minute or two periodically throughout the day to stand up, stretch, breathe deeply and shake off the accumulating tension. Avoid the temptation to work through lunch.

Find healthy ways to manage stress. Work to replace unhealthy coping strategies with healthy behaviors, like exercise, meditation or talking with friends and family. Keep in mind that unhealthy behaviors develop over time and can be difficult to change. Take it slow and focus on changing one behavior at a time.

Take care of yourself. Eat right, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and engage in regular physical activity. No matter how hectic life gets, make time for yourself.

Ask for Still Waters support. If you continue to be overwhelmed by the stress, you may want to talk with Still Waters support staff who can help you better manage this stress.

Still Waters Restoration & Resource Ministries is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting health and wellness among Christian Ministers and their families.

This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not meant to be used in place of professional consultation/treatment for individual health needs.