By Tricia Brown, United Methodist Communications
The demanding responsibilities of a pastor or church volunteer makes ministry burnout a very real danger and vacations a very real necessity. But for many churches, the traditional vacation season of summer is one of the busiest times in ministry. How can you “get away” when getting away seems impossible?
A summer staycation might be the inspiration you need. A staycation is a vacation spent right where you are. Instead of traveling to find a place of rest, relaxation or fun, it’s finding a way to do those things from your own home or community.Ministry burnout is a very real danger and vacations a very real necessity. TWEET THIS
Summer retreats are great, but if you can’t take a full-fledged vacation, you may wonder if a staycation is really worth the time and effort. After all, summer happenings like vacation Bible school, family outreach, youth camps and college ministries require much time and planning. And the financial dips and volunteer shortages that come with vacationing congregations can make rest seem a luxury you simply cannot afford.
Author Susan Carier Liebel reminds professionals that rest is necessary for optimum productivity. “Without taking a respite, our work becomes ineffective,” she writes. “The truth is we get virtually nothing done, walk through our days unfocused, and certainly don’t hit the goals we’ve set for ourselves.”
Research supports the fact that vacations are essential to stress relief, productivity and good health. Even a short getaway or a vacation at home can help you physically and mentally recharge. So, here are a few suggestions for how you can get away without going far.Vacations are essential to stress relief, productivity and good health. TWEET THIS
Be intentional. Set aside time to relax. In order for a staycation to be effective, you must:
1. Change your routine
2. Turn off your electronics.
3. Do something you enjoy.
4. Relax and put work aside, even for a short time.
Maybe you cannot afford to set aside a whole week, but you may be able to do one day. What about a couple of hours every other Saturday? It’s important. Make space on the calendar, and make a plan.
Often, the last place you explore is your own neighborhood. You may be surprised at what is available within a stone’s throw of where you spend most of your days.
The closer the destination, the more time you have to enjoy it. If you are not traveling, you can pack more fun into an afternoon than you might imagine. Here are a few simple ideas:
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Perhaps you think that staying put during the summer is boring, but you can have fun at home. You will find lots of great staycation ideas. With a little effort, you can create an exciting — even exotic — experience in the comfort of familiar surroundings.
Remember, if you need a break, it’s likely that your staff does as well. Consider planning a retreat for your entire ministry staff or merging a vacation with ministry opportunities. The important thing is to carve out a little time for rest and relaxation, even when you don’t have time for an out-of-town vacation.