06) Take Time Off
Taking a Sunday off can make a huge difference. I normally start worrying about an upcoming Sunday on Monday. It’s a week long process of preparation.
This might just be me, but taking a week off normally removes two weeks of stress. I’m not stress the first week because I won’t be taking the stage. Then I’m not worried the second week because I’ve had an additional week to prepare.
One of the main reasons you need to take time off is to avoid getting addicted to adrenaline. I read a blog post by a guy named Clayton King about the affects of preaching on pastors. In order to function under that much stress, their bodies start pumping out adrenaline and endorphins. If there’s multiple services, they keep pumping for hours upon hours. Add onto that that many/most ministers down large amounts of coffee or energy drinks in the morning. The effects of massive amounts of hormones and stimulants don’t go away when they step off the stage. It takes a day or two for all of it to clear out. When I read that blog post it was a breathe of fresh air to me. I finally knew why I was so jacked up Sunday nights and all day Monday.
Your body needs a break from that kind of mess.
07) Regularly Do Something Fun with the People in Your Ministry
In ministry you’re usually on a time crunch. So when you show up to do ministry with your team you’re consumed by work. There’s no time to build relationships or enjoy each others company. If that’s the case, you can find yourself surrounded by people you only know on a work level, and probably have had some conflict with.
Having fun will help you build relationships.
08) Drastically Change Things Up
Most people don’t get excited about doing the same thing over and over and over again.
Repetition leads to boredom
Boredom kills motivation
Lack of motivation leads to burnout
Doing something new or different gives people something to get excited about and rally behind. I’d much rather work extra hard to do something new and exciting than to do less work that is more repetitious.
09) Get Lots of Sleep and Eat Properly
To put it simply, when you don’t eat or sleep properly, it affects your mood and energy level. You can have great spiritual discipline, but if you have an unhealthy lifestyle you’ll be a wreck for biological reasons.
10) Leave & Go Somewhere Healthy
I should put a disclaimer on this one. This is a drastic last step for if you’re at a church which is extremely unhealthy.
I’ve heard horror stories of churches with insanely unrealistic expectations for a few people, and absolutely no expectations for anyone else. Those are toxic environments not only for the minister but for their family.
If the people you report to have unrealistic expectations and don’t back you up, burnout is virtually inevitable. If you’re at a church which will use you until you’re dead, you should probably leave.