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Caring for the Mental Health of Leaders

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The pandemic has changed how we as leaders connect, innovate, and lead. Mental health and well-being now top the chart for leaders’ concerns in terms of longevity.

Several factors play into creating a spiritually, mentally and emotionally healthy environment in which leaders can thrive. Here are five essentials for resilient leadership:

  1. Stay connected. Connection remains one of the most profound factors contributing to mental health. While we know this to be true among our congregations and workplaces; as leaders, we often find ourselves working alone. A wise mentor once told me, leadership can be lonely. How are you connecting with Christian peers and mentors who can sharpen you? Are you connected to meaningful places of fellowship where you can have emotionally safe conversations about the challenges you face?
  2. Care for spirit, mind and body. While Jesus is profoundly concerned about our spiritual health, He is also interested in our physical, mental and emotional well-being. Are you spending time with God daily in Scripture, prayer, and a posture of listening? Are you taking time to eat foods that nourish your body so you can function at your best? Do you find time to rest mentally and pursue creative endeavours that support your emotional health?
  3. Seek immersive relationships. As leaders, we often embark upon our careers with a sense of calling. We’ve depended upon the Spirit’s guidance while pursuing education and commencing our vocation. It is normal during hard times to feel bruised by the challenges we face, but we need to pay attention when we lose our sense of passion and meaning. Working to the point of exhaustion and leading in times of instability without proper support and resources can cause us to lose our sense of passion and purpose. Deeply immerse yourself in your relationships with Christ and surround yourself with people who love and support you.
  4. Establish healthy rhythms. If you are anything like me, the goals I prayerfully put in place are so tangible I can taste them. Sometimes the lines between serving others and being there for our family and friends can become blurred beyond recognition. What daily, weekly and monthly rhythms will provide you with refreshment as well as the connection you and your loved ones desire?
  5. Care for the caregiver. In many pastoral and marketplace leadership roles, we are called to minister to the lost, hurting, and in need. Being the hands and feet of Jesus in a broken world spurs many of us to demonstrate the Kingdom of God is near, a critical part of serving our communities, congregations, and companies. But who is caring for the caregiver? Compassion fatigue and burnout are rampant conditions that take a significant toll and often lead to resignation. My heart breaks each time I hear the story of leaders leaving their position of influence broken-hearted and in poor health. Please access the support and resources you need to serve wholeheartedly. It is entirely reasonable to request help while simultaneously depending on Jesus to carry the load.

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