Clergy Assistance Program Blog

A collection of articles and self-help materials from Chestnut Global Partners.

Blog Posts

Protecting yourself from identity theft during tax season

The weeks before April 15 are busy for all of us -- but perhaps even more so for identity thieves. They're taking advantage of opportunities to lift your personal information off financial documents, scam you into answering emails or phone calls from fake IRS agents, and much more. All identity thieves need are a person's name and Social Security number to do a lot of damage, such as opening new credit card accounts in your name. But the more information they find, the more harm they can do, including accessing your existing bank and financial accounts. Here are five important tips for keeping your and your family's identity safe.

Keeping Your Spirit Healthy

People talk about the importance of keeping their lives in balance. But when it comes down to it, few people really know how to achieve it. The following strategies can help you change or modify behaviors that increase stress and replace them with behaviors that promote harmony.

Recognizing and overcoming communication barriers

Learning the barriers to effective communication will not only help improve your communication, but also your overall quality of life. Here are some common communication barriers to learn and avoid:

Styles of Communication

There’s a lot more to communicating than just knowing how to string words together and provide straight-forward answers to questions. It’s important to recognize that there are many different ways to communicate and that each way is dependent upon the individual.

Listening tips for difficult situations

During your workday, you are going to encounter boring and uninteresting meetings or lectures which require attention that may be hard for you to give. We’ve all sat through a lengthy presentation in which it was hard to stay alert or a meeting that just seemed to go on and on without accomplishing anything. In these situations, it’s key that you stay engaged. Use the tips and techniques below to help you stay focused so you can better listen and take in what’s going on.

Understanding self-injurous behavior

Finding what works for you

Changing a habit does take time. You won’t shake off all your depressed habits without time and effort. But, however low depression has brought you, it is absolutely possible to get into more constructive, happier habits and to find the right strategies for you to make sure that depression affects you as little as possible from now on.

Caring for the caregiver

"Family caregiving is the fastest-growing unpaid and often unacknowledged occupation in this country," says Lorraine Sailor, operations coordinator at Children of Aging Parents, a nonprofit charitable organization based in Levittown, Pa. A recent survey by the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA) found more than 54 million people give care each year. About 56 percent are women, according to the survey. Caregivers come in all shapes and sizes. They can be adult children, spouses, siblings, friends or neighbors, who help with daily activities such as bathing, feeding and clothing. The caregiver may be the only person who can take a loved one to doctors' appointments. The long-distance caregiver may call weekly, help with expenses or support the main caregiver.

Getting started with exercise

Why can't we embrace a routine that need only occupy the time we spend on watching one sitcom a day? The answer is more mental than physical. Adopting an exercise plan requires a change in schedule, lifestyle and perhaps self-image. We need to be realistic, and find activities that are fun.

Why treat obesity as a disease?

Obesity is a condition that has often been stigmatized because of the perception that it is caused mostly by the modifiable behavioral factors of diet and physical inactivity. Nevertheless, a rich body of literature demonstrates that obesity is a complex disease condition mediated through the interplay of multiple genetic, biologic, metabolic, behavioral, social, economic and cultural determinants.

Identity theft in 2017

Want to fight identity theft? Be careful how you treat your information in the real and virtual worlds. Foiling identity theft is no longer just a matter of buying a document shredder and keeping track of your receipts - though it helps. Included are the latest trends and helpful suggestions to help you avoid being an identity theft victim.

Snippet from 'Building a Balanced Week' from Care for Pastors

In many conversations with Biblically balanced pastors, here are the oft-recurring common denominators of sustainable, healthy ministry. Here’s the advice and values they’ve given me in their quest to “build a balanced week.” It’s difficult to discover, recognize, and yield to your own God-given limitations. It’s challenging to practice a trust-filled kind of rest and healthy pace that truly relies upon God’s grace. Solomon in Ecclesiastes would call this “accepting and enjoying God’s portion in my life.”

Are you trapped in the net?

The Internet lets you communicate instantly, tap vast knowledge, watch news unfold, run a business -- you name it and the Net is your servant. But could it become your master?

How to keep your back pain-free

For most people, back pain resolves, but for a small percentage, low back pain becomes a chronic condition. The key to avoiding such pain is to prevent it. Staying in good physical condition with back strengthening exercises as part of your routine may help. Learning how to lift correctly and maintaining good posture also will be helpful. The way you do normal, everyday activities could determine whether you aggravate your back or keep it pain-free.

A Holiday Survival Guide

For many, the holidays are a time to share in the joy of family traditions and create new special memories. But for some, these expectations can make holidays stressful, especially for those that feel disconnected from family or friends, those that feel alone, or those that may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder. Regardless of your situation, some degree of stress and tension around the holidays should be expected. Consider some of these suggestions to help prepare you for this busy time of year and make the holidays a special time in your own way.

How to cope with difficult personalities

There is no way to completely avoid crossing paths with irritating or frustrating people. Your best strategy is to learn how to deal with them without losing your cool. Follow the tips below so you can gain the necessary skills to handle difficult personality types.

Creative Problem Solving 101

Don't despair if the same frustrating problems shackle you at work time and time again. Perhaps you're bored with your job or concerned because the competition is passing your company by. Be aware that you can solve these problems with creativity. Whether you realize it, you already have creative ability. "Ninety-eight percent of people are creative, but our socialization process causes them to put it on the back burner. The fastest way to tap into your creativity is to learn how to use creative problem-solving techniques," says James M. Higgins, author of "101 Creative Problem-Solving Techniques."

Living a Life in Balance

"It's easier to balance a simpler life," says Odette Pollar. "For a life worth living, eliminate the unimportant, whether it be relationships, tasks, responsibilities, possessions or beliefs."

Laughing your way to a strong immune system

Because these T cells are a major weapon in the body's defense against illness, the "laughter stimulus" they receive may be a crucial factor in staving off the next flu virus that comes your way. But the mystery of exactly how laughter strengthens the immune system continues to puzzle researchers. Is it simply that the physical exercise of laughing helps to "condition" the disease-fighting system, in the same way that exercise "conditions" an athlete? Or is there also a mysterious psychological component at work?

Body-mind connection

The end of one year and the transition into the next offers time for reflection as well as hope for what the future holds.  However, the holiday season, traveling, projects, and other demands for your time may seem overwhelming.  The good news is that something as easy as being mindful can help you trudge your way through.

Pleasing others vs. setting healthy boundaries

Our behavior is driven by our belief system. If we believe we MUST be loved and accepted by others and it is unacceptable to NOT be loved and accepted our beliefs will motivate us to bend over backwards in order to avoid rejection. To change our behavior we must change our negative pattern of thinking.

It's a Sticky Situation

Unfortunately, churches are not immune from the painful, uncomfortable, and difficult situations of life. In fact, sometimes it feels like the church attracts people who are difficult on many different levels. Often, those people end up in your office. Handling difficult people begins with having healthy personal boundaries. When dealing with difficult people, remember that it is always appropriate to refer them to a licensed professional counselor. It is not a failure on your part to refer them elsewhere. In fact, it is often the best mode of treatment for them.

Get Ready, Check, Go

Healthy relationships are essential both within the church with your fellow clergy, as well as outside of those doors with your close friends and family. Many of us may feel we already possess the qualities needed to maintain our existing relationships.

Gratitude and Forgiveness

Gratitude can be powerful and life-changing. Research has shown that it leads to feelings of optimism and enthusiasm. Forgiveness also plays a role when it comes to gratitude. When you learn to forgive, your levels of depression, anger and stress will decrease. The beauty of gratitude is in its simplicity. What will you do today to show your gratitude?

When Life Throws You a Curveball: Coping with Change and Relocation

Perhaps you may be fearful because of future uncertainty? Maybe you feel powerless and frustrated with the pending change? This is normal. Find resources to help answer questions you may have. Embracing a new opportunity rather than rejecting it will ease doubt. You can make future changes a positive rather than a negative by simply having a positive outlook.