Due to recent worldwide events, my husband and I have been spending more time than ever on the phone with concerned church members. Lives are hurting, people are confused, many are fearful, and they are turning to us for answers.
We love them dearly and want to help. Sometimes we spend hours upon hours providing an attentive ear. We are doing our very best to provide hope and spiritual encouragement to those in need, but the tension in our own lives seems to be on the rise. In addition, there are the numerous emails, text messages, and Zoom meetings that consume us to the point of exhaustion.
My own heart is heavy, and my compassion meter is low. I feel guilty and overwhelmed. How can I navigate my own emotions and daily tasks while simultaneously providing “life support” to so many who are hurting?
Providing almost nonstop emotional support to others can be exhausting. The rigorous cycle of repetitive, lengthy telephone visits, emails, Zoom calls, and text messages can become physically and mentally draining—often leaving us breathless and frustrated.
If we neglect self-care, the consequences can be unhealthy. Thankfully, balance is achievable, which will equip you to provide congregational support while protecting your mental health.
Consider implementing the following options to help your ministry and hearts thrive:
1. Incorporate a daily schedule and set limits for all phone calls, messages, etc.
2. Limit screen time on personal electronic devices.
3. Take “oxygen” breaks regularly. Go for a short walk, stretch, or listen to Scripture songs.
4. Develop positive coping skills for negative feedback.
5. Eat healthy, well-balanced meals along with adhering to established mealtimes.
6. Get plenty of rest and uninterrupted sleep.
7. Avoid isolating your emotions. Talk with your spouse and spend time reading God’s Word together. Pray together often.
Remember, Jesus incorporated “time-out” for prayer, meditation, and rest. We can’t help others if we haven’t taken good care of ourselves. He loves us so much and has provided wonderful examples to give us hope to help heal others in need.