Vacation Time

Posted on Aug 26 2015 by Gary Mason

At this time of year many seats are unoccupied in churches due to people being away on vacation. Pastors (and their families) need vacations too and time apart from the day to day duties. In the last blog, there was a checklist of warning signs that help determine whether a vacation is needed or if issues require the help of a therapist. Let’s look at the criteria from a mental health perspective that you may help you with the decision to take a vacation.

Problems

There will always be problems to work through and pastors have their share of helping church members as they try to cope. A warning sign is when small problems excessively irritate or overwhelm you. Other signs are lowered levels of motivation, passion, productivity and energy. Even helping church memberswith problem solving becomes excessively tiring and is avoided.

Colleagues

Coworkers and colleagues can sometimes identify that a vacation is necessary because you will be demonstrating signs that indicate you are not your usual self. Often individuals become cranky, irritable, quiet, or impatient with others in a way that is not characteristic of the usual behaviour. Your coworkers are cognizant of these signs because of the amount of time that they spend with you observing you in everyday situations.

Workplace Functionality

When someone is experiencing chronic stress, workplace blunders and poor decisions occur on a regular basis. This is problematic because it affects reputation, sense of purpose, lessens capacity to strategize and diminishes vision casting. Your staff or church members can lose trust in your competency as a pastor. Further, procrastination can result from a history of poor functionality because you may not want to even attempt at making changes or decisions.

Physical Signs

Stress in your work environment or lack of vacation influences your physical well being. It is linked to backaches, headaches, inflammation, stomach aches, and pain susceptibility. Sleep is also negatively affected. Sometimes the people who need the most sleep due to work stress or family situations are those who have insomnia or disrupted sleep.

Emotions Indicators

One indicator that a vacation is needed is when your emotional responses to life situations are dissimilar to your usual responses. For example you may notice that your sense of humour is almost non-existent or laughter is forced or in short supply. Stories that would have produced a hearty laugh from you no longer seem that funny. Some people have a lower threshold to crying or angry bouts while others experience emotional numbness.

So if after reading this you feel like a vacation is due begin to make plans. If for financial reasons you cannot have the vacation you would like to have don’t let that stop you from being creative! Even short weekends away can do a lot of good. Maybe house trading with a friend in another city could help.Vacation is all about getting away from the daily schedule and having a time apart.

Remember that a vacation or time away gives you opportunities for reflective time that sometimes is not part of your busy schedule. Time spent in contemplative prayer, meditation and reading the scriptures will draw you closer to God and deepen your relationship. The time away will benefit you in all areas of your life and well being. Go ahead, start making plans today!

 

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Wendy Hofman  is the founder and Director of Veritas Counselling Centre in Burlington, Ontario. Find out more about them by clicking here.

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