Karl Vaters on 11 Self-Care Steps for Leaders Who Are Barely Holding on

Image: Patrick Hendry | Unsplash

Lately, it’s hard to remember what day it is.

Without the usual markers, one blends into the other in a confusing emotional haze.

My sleep is off, too. And with my sleep goes my ability to think and lead clearly.

You too? Yes, me too.

So how can we stay stable and sane in the middle of such uncertainty? Here are a few ideas that are especially helpful for pastors and other leaders:

(This is a companion piece to an earlier article, When You’re Trying To Lead Others, But You’re Barely Holding On.)

1. Talk to yourself the way you’d talk to others

If a friend or church member told you they were mad at themselves for not being able to function at peak performance during this crisis, what would you tell them?

To get over it? To work harder? To stop whining because people are depending on them?

I sure hope not.

I expect you’d go easy on them and help relieve their feelings of guilt. You’d sympathize. You’d emphasize their need to rest, emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.

That’s good advice. We need to talk to ourselves the same way.

2. Be vulnerable

There’s nothing wrong with letting the people you lead know what you’re feeling. You’ll notice I started this article that way.

“But won’t they have less respect for me if they see my weakness?” Not unless you’re in a completely toxic environment.

Chances are, your cracks are already being seen by the people who know you best – even over a video chat. Being honest about your challenges instead of working so hard to hide them might provide a great deal of relief for them, too.

It’s hard to believe we’re in this together when the leader seems invincible – or, even worse, when you’re obviously not invincible but are acting that way.

3. Embrace deeper truths

There are always two sets of truths running parallel in our lives – especially at a time like this.

Immediate truths: I feel confused, hurt, angry, or fearful right now.

Deeper truths: I know that God is greater than my current feelings and I have faith that he’ll get us through.

Both are true.

Although the immediate truths are more obvious and visceral, the deeper truths are more real.

We need to acknowledge the immediate truths, but embrace the deeper truths.

“I’m feeling defeated right now, but I know God is able.”

“My mind is in confusion, but my heart will follow Jesus.”

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Source: Christianity Today