Unprecedented.  Disorienting.  Reset.  Historical.

These are all words that people have used to describe this season that we’re in.  It has been exhausting and draining.  The never ending news cycles, the changes in routines like grocery shopping, the closure of public schools, and now the gradual reopening of life as we used to know it.  

As leaders, as parents, as humans, we need to be taking care of ourselves.  We need to continue dialoguing about mental health and checking in on one another.  We need to stay grounded in Scripture and rooted in the truth that God is in the midst of the heartache, disorientation, and suffering.  

On Monday, May 25 @ 1pm, Cheryl Ann Beals (Director of Clergy Formation & Wellness)  will be hosting the first “Flourish” gathering, where we will explore: 

  • What are the personal and ministry challenges of COVID-19?

  • What are the opportunities for us to grow in our resilience?

  • How do we find wellness during and after this pandemic?

To support that, and encourage you to attend, I also want to share some of the practices that I’ve used to maintain my own personal well-being in this season.  We cannot lead well if we are not taking care of ourselves.

  1. Routine.  I’m an early riser and I like to wake up before my kids so that I can take the dog for a walk. This means regularly waking up at 5:30.  This gives me quiet space to pray, reflect, and prepare for the day.  I’ve learned that sacrificing that 5:30 wake-up for a little bit more sleep is actually more disruptive to my well-being.  Routine has helped me a lot.

  2. Exercise.  I haven’t been exercising as much as I hoped, but regular time walking and occasional bicycling has been very helpful.  Physical activity is vital.

  3. Digital Limits.  I’ve often been leaving my cell phone in my office in the evenings, overnight, and on weekends.  I have a tendency to spend too much time cycling through news feeds and social media.  The digital limitations are an important break.

  4. Journalling.  This is an important spiritual exercise for me as it allows me space to prayerfully write.  Reflections on Scriptures and books I’m reading inform my journaling.  

  5. Identity.  I’m pursuing readings and Scriptures that remind me of God’s identity and my identity in Christ.  Writers like Dallas Willard, Howard Thurman, Andrew Root, and others have been meaningful in my soul care.

What are you doing for your self-care?  What do you need to pick up to maintain your self-care as we continue to lead in the midst of a pandemic?