The daily demands of ministry, family and career can make it difficult for clergy to attend to their health. But with Clergy Appreciation Day occurring Oct. 9, Augusta University’s Pastoral Care Director Jeffrey Flowers says this is a perfect opportunity for faith leaders to focus on self-care.
“Clergy must recognize the importance of taking care of themselves, and the first step in regaining balance in your life is realizing you’ve gotten out of balance,” said Flowers. “Managing your health and life does not make you selfish, but it allows you to become a better person for your family, congregation and community.”
To help clergy get their health and life back on track, Flowers offers the following advice when juggling the responsibilities of the church and personal life.
- Keep up with doctor visits. Manage your overall well-being by scheduling annual checkups, and developing a list of health concerns to ensure you are getting the most out of your doctor visits.
- Maintain a family time budget. Much like budgeting your money, work with your family to carve out time each day for you all to be together. Once you have established when that will be, consider those times as sacred and work hard as a team to defend your family-time schedule.
- Bring it all together. Whenever possible, combine similar commitments to save time and energy. One of the ways to accomplish this is by incorporating family time in your work by involving your children in some of your engagements. Not only will you all be spending time together, but it gives them a glimpse into your career.
- Delegate duties. At times, people might perceive you as having super-human strength, but the truth is you can only be in one place at a time. Get others involved in your work and delegate duties to help keep a balance in your life. This approach also gives your ministry team an opportunity to develop their abilities.
- Prioritize your schedule. When you experience high-demand moments in your career, focus on accomplishing activities of the high importance first and get to the lesser priorities when you have time to do so.
- Take a moment to breathe. Whether it is a few moments of quiet time in the morning or taking a walk at the park, scheduling “me” time allows you to have a moment to recharge your mind, body and soul. Taking this time to relax will help boost your creativity and strength, which are things you and your congregation can greatly benefit from.
Flowers is a board certified chaplain in the Association of Professional Chaplains as well as an ordained minister endorsed by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Mars Hill College, a master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctoral degree from Erskine Theological Seminary.