Are you finding yourself in the “over” mode of life and ministry? Are you feeling overwhelmed, overworked, overstressed, and overloaded? Do you overcommit so your commitment to God’s call on your life is not questioned? Are you mentally running on empty, knowing your body and mind are going to combust at any moment?
Friend, this is not what God had in mind for you. He sees you through loving eyes and cares about how you care for you. Protecting your mental health by guarding your heart and mind, will prepare you in the difficult seasons, sustain you in seasons of little, and leave space to enjoy the seasons of overflow.
Here are four tips you can begin to implement into your life and ministry when it comes to safeguarding your mental health:
- Get away
Jesus encouraged the disciples to get away and rest in Mark 6:30-32. They had been working hard and needed some time away to recharge their souls. This is true for you and me. Our schedules are filled with meaningful opportunities to speak into others through written and spoken word. Schedules are filled with activities for the kids. Taking time to get away from the life of busyness brings room for a pause in peace.
Examples: getting up early in the mornings to escape into God’s presence through a hot cup of coffee in your favorite chair, or taking a few days to remove yourself to allow renewal to take place. Be intentional about retreating from the noise and the to-do lists so the mental fog can be removed and make room for clarity.
- Say no.
This is a scary concept for us as communicators. The truth is not every speaking event is an event God has for us to do. The What IF thoughts challenge this idea by cementing themselves into a catastrophe spiral of, “What IF they don’t ask me again? What IF another event doesn’t come? What IF they think badly of me? What IF I disappoint them?” Here is a question to help shift this perspective. Instead of the worries of What IF we don’t take all the speaking engagements offered, let’s ask What IS at stake if we do say yes to all the things? How quickly will the burnout escalate if we burn the candle from both ends? Saying these two tiny but mighty letters, allows us to make margin for the God things so the good things don’t distract us.
- Physical Care. Our mental and physical health are so entwined together. Our brain will use our body to give us warning signals when we put ourselves on the back burner. It will reward us with endorphins and dopamine when we are using healthy strategies to thrive. Getting twenty minutes of movement a day, soaking in the vitamin D through the sunshine, drinking plenty of water, and turning off our screens an hour before bedtime making room for sweet sleep, will allow us to feel charged up and ready to go!
- Prayer team. Paul shares with us in Philippians 4:14, “It was good for you to share in my troubles.” He included them in his struggles, and they were able to help meet his needs. God has placed a one-of-a-kind calling on you. He does not want exhaustion and mental stress to block your gift to offer His hope. When there is a team praying, they hold up our arms when we are in the battle. Prayer warriors will go into their closets to declare TRUTH over us when the enemy’s lies are trying to attack our minds. This group of accountability partners will be a safe space for you to come in your vulnerability of emptiness. They will fill you back up with renewed strength through the Holy Spirit. That is the power of prayer. That is the power of two or more people coming together to support one another in the mission God has assigned to us.
Question: Which tip will you choose to implement first as you begin using these strategies to take care of your mental health?
About Caris Snider
Caris Snider is a Christian Communicator who shares the hope of God through speaking, writing, coaching, and podcasting. She is the author of Anxiety Elephants 31 Day Devotional and Anxiety Elephants 90 Day Devotional for Tween Boys and Girls. She has two new books coming in 2023—There’s An Elephant on My Chest picture book, and Car Line Mom 100 Day Devotional. She shares from personal experiences of overcoming depression, anxiety, fear, and shame. Caris desires to help people of all generations see their value and worth through the eyes of the Lord to grow in their faith and mental health.