There's a knock at the door. A neighbor boy wants to borrow an air pump to inflate his bike tire. There's a text buzzing on your phone. Can you provide a ride to a prenatal visit for a soon-to-be-mom down the street? There's a need for tutoring, a request for dinner for a new family in the neighborhood, or maybe someone who would really like to borrow your shower or needs a place to stay for one night... or a couple.
When you're working in ministry, especially in neighboring ministry that includes relocation to an underresourced community, the needs can sometimes feel overwhelming. And when we are not physically, spiritually and emotionally full, ministry becomes even more challenging than it already is.
Constantly giving to and serving others is life-giving in many ways, but it can also empty our cup. To sustain ministry, it is important to take the time and energy to recharge and practice self care. Being refilled will help us continue to pour into others. Here are 7 practices you likely know, but can be a good reminder to incorporate into ministry life:
#1 Exercise - Exercise is an incredible free tool we can use to take care of ourselves. Only 30 minutes per day can release endorphins, help us get rid of stress, and boost our health.
#2 Sleep - Yes, there's always more you can do after the sun goes down (or before it rises), but making time to sleep is worthy and necessary. A good night’s rest can help you feel refreshed, focused, and ready for the day. You may have forgotten just how good it can feel!
#3 Eat fruits and vegetables - At Carver Market, we are always promoting fresh produce in our community. Fruits and veggies offer lots of vitamins and minerals that provide energy and focus for the day. When we feel good physically, it is easier to make good decisions and be present.
#4 Talk to a professional - There is no shame in talking with a therapist or counselor, especially if you are someone who consistently takes on the challenges of others. Making the space and time to process through emotions with someone else can be extremely beneficial to those in ministry.
#5 Spend time with family and friends - Allowing yourself to take a break and spend time with people who love and care about you is a great way to rejuvenate.
#6 Pray - When we feel like it’s our job to love, serve, and fix everything, we’ve probably overstepped our human bounds. Sometimes the most loving thing you can do for another person and yourself is to pray for them and the situations they face.
#7 Accept help from others - In ministry, it’s easy to always be on the giving end without accepting help from other people. Ask for help, advice, and a listening ear, then show gratitude to the community that you depend on.
An empty cup cannot pour into others. What other ways do you practice self care?