As a pastoral leader, members of your congregation and community lean heavily on you in times of crisis and times of celebration. People look to you to offer comfort and encouragement when the heaviness of the world weighs on everyone.
As you care for others, it is important not to neglect yourself. Your ability to provide effective leadership for your church and community depends greatly on your own total well-being. Do you take time to eat healthy and exercise regularly? Do you care for your own emotional health by engaging a counselor or well-being practices such as daily meditation? Are you confident in your own financial situation so that you can focus on the financial health of your church? Do you have connections with individuals outside of work? How is it with your soul?
Overall well-being depends on numerous interrelated dimensions, and improving well-being in one area can have a positive effect on other dimensions. On this page, you will find the resources and support you need to make positive changes in each of the well-being dimensions.
The Life Wheel
As clergy of the Minnesota Annual Conference, the life wheel is introduced at New Clergy Orientation, Clergy Leadership Academy, and again at Shmita. Periodic reflection with the life wheel dimensions can help you identify what well-being dimensions need attention.
Download or print the life wheel. Take a few moments and reflect on your current life. Review the life wheel and the domains of life that are highlighted. Ask yourself how am I doing in this domain? Some individuals like to give themselves a ranking or score of well-being in each domain on a scale of 1 to 10—from low to thriving in a particular domain. Some individuals journal in the lines about what is giving health in the domain or what is missing that would create greater well-being.
After a period of reflection with the life wheel, consider where you wish to focus your efforts to improve your well-being. You may find you need to set a goal in one or two areas. As noted above, the domains are interrelated, with the health of one affecting the other. After you identify your areas of focus, refer to the resources below. These resources may be helpful tools in achieving your well-being goals.
Effort to achieve total well-being requires paying attention to all dimensions of well-being, attempting to manage the gaps, and finding balance among the dimensions. A wholistic approach leads to thriving in all dimensions, including the ways each dimension relates to the others. The following resources touch on all dimensions.
The Center for Spirituality and Healing (University of MN) provides a holistic approach to taking charge of health and well-being. Each dimension of well-being is explored through articles, practices, and videos.
University of California’s Berkeley Center for Greater Good produces Greater Good Magazine, an online source of science-based insights for a meaningful life addressing all aspects (and more) of well-being dimensions through articles, podcasts, videos.
If we feel stressed or insecure about finances, it can be difficult to focus and be our best in career and other areas of life. Studies find that those who feel financially secure are more likely to be healthier than those who don’t feel they are in control of their finances. Keep in mind that being financially healthy isn’t about how much money we make, but rather how we manage what we have. This dimension focuses on attitudes toward money, building sound financial habits and using tools to effectively manage financial resources.
The mind-body connection is powerful. Tending to our emotional well-being can help us feel better physically, and vice versa. Emotional well-being includes the ability to manage your feelings and related behaviors, cope effectively with stress, and adapt to change. This dimension focuses on awareness and acceptance of stressors and feelings, both positive and negative. The following resources can aid in improving mental and emotional well-being.
HealthFlex Services for Your Emotional Well-Being As with physical health, your mental health is just as important to keep fit. HealthFlex offers easy-to-access emotional well-being services to get you the help you need, when you need it. Each has its own unique offerings that can benefit you throughout the year. Used in combination or separately, these resources can get you through the challenging times and keep you mentally fit.
Connect With a Licensed Therapist Via Text Message and Video Chat.HealthFlex participants and their family members now have another option to connect with one-on-one counseling opportunities and mental health support. Wespath has added Talkspace to its Employee Assistance Program (EAP) resources. With Talkspace, individuals can connect with a licensed therapist via text message or video chat, and can typically start therapy in just a day or two. Talkspace is covered under the HealthFlex EAP benefit. That means participants—as well as participants' family and household members, including those not covered by HealthFlex—can use Talkspace via their eight free EAP sessions per concern per year.
LeaderWise offers telehealth counseling during this season. Counselors are on both the EAP (Optum) and BCBS of IL provider lists. Call the office administrators (Heather, Gaynelle, and Barb) at 651-636-5120 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment. View the counselors' profiles.
Rev. Susan Nienaber recommends a new podcast called “Checking In,” hosted by award-winning Harvard Medical School psychologist Susan David. In it, David offers strategies to help us cope with our heightened emotions during the pandemic. The show serves as a support system, toolkit, and understanding voice during a time of great uncertainty.
Taking Self-Care Seriously: Managing Stress so You Can Care for Others: The emotional toll of the pandemic and the horrific death of George Floyd and the aftermath is significant for pastors. The trauma you encounter through the people you minister to cannot be overlooked. The resulting stress can be debilitating. This webinar will help leaders prioritize self-care and learn techniques for building resiliency.
Taking care of our body is essential for our physical health, and it’s closely linked with many other aspects of our well-being. This dimension focuses on the importance of moderate daily activity, proper nutrition, maintaining a healthy weight, preventive care, and managing chronic health conditions. Refer to the following resources on physical well-being.
MDLIVE provides medical guidance from a healthcare professional by phone or video. Wespath will waive the cost of MDLIVE telemedicine service for the next 90 days (mid-June 2020). COVID-19 tests are covered at 100% by BCBS of IL. Call your provider or use MDLIVE during this time to confirm if COVID-19 testing is necessary. The CDC recommends that you call your provider before seeking in-person services. Call MDLive at 888-750-4991or visit MDLIVE.com.
Virgin Pulse has a resource page that addresses total well-being dimensions (reducing stress, staying active, being productive, sleeping well, eating healthy, and Coronavirus-specific resources).
The Peloton app is free for 30 days and includes every type of activity you could wish for—strength training, yoga, cardio, meditation, stretching, bootcamp, walking. Go to the App store on your phone or tablet and download the Peloton app.
Weight Watchers, a nutrition and weight reduction program, is available at a 50 percent discount for those enrolled in HealthFlex insurance. Go to Wespath and sign into your HealthFlex account, then click "My Health Flex Benefits." The Weight Watchers link is the last one on the list.
Spiritual well-being can bring inner peace—a contentment with our current situation and self. This dimension centers on relationships and activities that support and enhance our spiritual well-being, such as prayer, meditation, and worship. Below are resources to support the spiritual well-being dimension.
LeaderWise offers virtual sessions with a spiritual director during this season. Call the office administrators (Heather, Gaynelle, and Barb) at 651-636-5120 or email at email@example.com to set up an appointment. View the profiles of Susan Miller or Tim Nelson at LeaderWise.
Wisdom Ways Center offers spiritual direction resources which include individual spiritual direction offered by the sisters of St. Joseph, group spiritual direction, spiritual resource booklet, and a spiritual guidance program. Obtain names and phone numbers of spiritual directors to contact directly along with other spiritual direction resources at Wisdom Ways Center.
The Minnesota Conference offers spiritual direction or coaching financial assistance up to $300 per year or $1,200 per quadrennium. Find the form towards the bottom of the benefits page.
Clergy colleague and spiritual director, Clay Oglesbee, offers spiritual direction to any MAC clergy at no charge during this season with 30-minute sessions weekly, one-hour sessions monthly, or with a mutually agreed upon rhythm. Contact Clay directly at 507-251-9283 or email.
Emory Spiritual Health is offering a care response in proactive and creative ways during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have developed a video library covering a wide variety of topics and meditations that are available for supporting professionals whose job is to care for others as well as to the public.