An Ounce of Prevention


In the interest of prevention versus treatment, what can be done to increase our physical and mental health? The best thing you can do for both yourself and your family is to practice good self-care. The first thing to understand is that self-care does not equal self-ish and that might take some time to sink in, but think about it, what does self-care mean?
Self care includes any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health. Good self care is a challenge for many people and often overlooked or put off, but developing your own self care plan is a good place to start when beginning or revising your self-care practice.
As clergy, you support and guide others. When we are tired, fatigued, overwhelmed, apathetic or sad we have a hard time guiding ourselves let alone others. Participating in an effective and consistent self-care plan that rejuvenates you will prepare you to better support and guide others. Below are some ways you can do this:

  1. Go on a retreat. By yourself or with your spouse or close other. Your Conference Pastoral Care and Counseling Board is now able to offer IGRC clergy and spouses a free bed and breakfast for two or three days as a retreat/vacation destination. This B & B opportunity is in the Quincy/Hannibal area; a region rich with history and places of interest.  There is a large garden and wooded area on site for quiet and reflection.  If you are interested, contact our PCC Coordinator, Shauna Summers, to inquire.
  2. Take advantage of online Resource Lists such as: IGRC’s United Media Resource Center, PCC’s Helpful Links, Duke’s Clergy Health Initiative, the NEW Resource for Clergy Families or others you may find.
  3. Create a Self-Care Plan. A self-care plan should include elements of physical, emotional and spiritual self-care goals. Examples of physical self-care areas include: food/water, exercise, sleep and medical care (ie: mammograms and annual physicals). Some important emotional self-care areas are: journaling, meditation or relaxation practices, counseling if needed, appropriate personal boundaries and be sure to include leisure activities. In addition to the above, some examples of spiritual self-care include Sabbath, private and active prayer life, involvement with other clergy - such as a covenant group. Few self-care plans would include all  of these, instead they are some ideas to get you started.