Clergy Self Care Tips

Things we can do to improve our well-being

Below is list of items that clergy can do, it is based in part on the Oxford Diocese’s Flourishing in Ministry booklet.

Meeting with people on a regular basis who can help, for example:

  • Spiritual director
  • Soul friend
  • Ministry accompanier
  • Confessor
  • A trusted peer
  • Cell group
  • Pastoral supervisor
  • Prayer partner
  • Counsellor
  • Mentor
  • Reflective Practice Group

Taking time for restoration, including:

  • Always taking one day off a week, including the previous evening
  • Taking two consecutive days off once a month
  • Scheduling in one quiet day per month somewhere refreshing such as at the local convent or going on a long walk
  • Scheduling a weeks retreat each year
  • Scheduling in regular and sufficient time for study each week
  • Working no more than 48 hours each week and measuring the number of hours to ensure this
  • Taking the full annual leave entitlement of 36 days, including 4-6 Sundays.
  • Finding a place that it is possible to relax when not working and spending time there.

Proper self-care including:

  • Eating well and taking proper meal breaks every day
  • Practising mindfulness or contemplative prayer
  • Turning the phone off
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Getting enough exercise
  • Walking in the fresh air every day
  • Spending time each week on hobbies
  • Watching alcohol intake
  • Limiting time spent in front of the computer and taking regular screen breaks
  • Scheduling a date night each week with your partner (or good friend if you don’t have a partner)
  • Being observant about health problems and taking appropriate action
  • Asking for time off when feeling overwhelmed, for instance when there is a family crisis or bereavement

Protecting ministerial enjoyment including:

  • Having access to a reasonable level of competent and regular administrative assistance (paid or voluntary)
  • Setting clear boundaries
  • Saying ‘no’ more often
  • Learning new things
  • Talking to supportive colleagues
  • Being clear about time off
  • Making opportunities to be creative in ministry

Ensuring financial concerns are alleviated by:

  • claiming full working expenses from the benefice
  • knowing how and when to access financial advice
  • getting help with the tax return

Asking the PCC and Churchwardens to help with clergy well-being by:

  • supporting, upholding and praying for you
  • understanding the dimensions of the role and the demands it places on you and your families
  • developing realistic expectations about workload and availability
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