Coming Back From the Brink of Pastoral Burnout

How to recover from burnout

Undoubtedly, our restful downtime will likely get pushed to the last line on our to-do list. However, there are a few relaxing activities that can significantly prevent pastoral burnout when done regularly and intentionally.

Here are some examples of these restful activities:

1. Make Time for Yourself.

This tip may seem like a “no-brainer.” Usually, the no-brainer ideas get pushed to the side, but they can make the most impact. Making time for yourself can look like a number of things, and it can be as often as you feel necessary.

Set aside time once a week, whether it is just a few hours or a whole day for yourself. During this time, you can do any number of things that bring you joy and rest. Maybe you catch the latest movie, read a good book, attend a sporting event, or do something else that you would find relaxing.

Most importantly, make sure that at some point, you spend time with the Lord. As a pastor, you spend much of your time pouring into others. As a result, it is all the more important that you take time to allow the Lord to pour into you.

2. Create Quality Time With Your Spouse.

Sometimes it feels impossible to talk to your spouse about anything other than what has been bothering you, a problem that needs to be solved with the kids, or the stress from the office. However, creating the time to play a card game, make dinner together, and catch up on the little things in life that get lost are great ways to rest and feel connected with your spouse.

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I truly think that having a healthy marriage is one of the keys to having a strong and thriving ministry.

3. Build Up a Team of Individuals to Protect Your Blind Side.

Most, if not all, pastors enter the ministry with passion and zeal to reach the lost and to see lives transformed for eternity. The majority of pastors receive some training (whether formally or informally) to prepare them for ministry. However, these ministers quickly realize that out of all the training they received, the areas in which they feel completely unprepared are church compliance and administration.

4. Exercise Regularly.

I don’t know about you, but ever since quarantine started, I know so many people who have incorporated daily walks into their life. You don’t have to run a marathon to improve your mental health, but getting your body moving in some form or fashion will greatly impact your stress levels in a positive way. For instance, a recent study conducted by Stanford University showed that “a person’s creative output increased by an average of 60% when walking.”

Activating the creative side of your brain allows your logic and reasoning to take a breather. Taking one hour out of your week to go on a walk or run can balance both parts of the brain. When you have been in a constant state of problem-solving, a little exercise goes a long way.

5. Take Time to Have Fun With Family and Close Friends.

Of course, you probably see your family every night of the week and your friends maybe once a month, but how many of those times were genuinely fun and filled with lasting memories? It is essential to respect the rejuvenating qualities that our friends and family bring to our lives. Create time in your schedule to be with the people who really know you; you will not regret it! Knowing your finances are in order will allow you to fully enjoy this time and reap the benefits of the rest associated with quality time with those you love. John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Burnout will not stop God’s plan from your life from moving forward, but he needs you to also take care of yourself for him to fully work.

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Being in a leadership position makes it easier to bottle everything inside. You know so many others look to you for strength and guidance, but you can’t take people to a place you haven’t been. Yes, God wants you to lead, but resting and recharging will not only reinvigorate your heart for ministry. Resting and recharging will bring a sense of peace and confidence when you lean into it. Resting takes you back to the core of who you are and why you do what you do. In those quiet moments, burnout is healed, and you will reconnect with who God has made you to be.

First published on StartChurch.com. Used by permission.