News & Resources

Sep 25, 2012

Healthy Practices for Practicing Balance

by David Edman Gray

Achieving a healthy work-life balance eventually comes down to personal responsibility and discipline. We must make the right choices, and our choices must be influenced by our attitudes and values. Behaviors that flow from our deeply held beliefs help us counter external pressures that keep us from taking care of ourselves.

Establishing healthy practices can help both clergy and lay leaders avoid burnout. While congregations may push their leaders to meet all their needs all the time, when church leaders are balanced and refreshed, they are much better able to serve and lead their congregations over time. Through adult educational programs and other offerings, churches can help their members implement ideas that can improve their well-being. This can lead to healthier members, more engaged volunteers, and more balanced citizens.

Let me share ten practices that have made a difference for me:

1. Begin each day with a centering phrase. I have found that saying a centering phrase over and over first thing in the morning helps me begin the day with centeredness and balance. Some mornings I wake up feeling stressed and pressed. Maybe I went to bed the night before feeling anxious, or I was awakened by the children several times during the night, or I had a bad dream. But if I say my phrase over in my mind several times before I get out of bed in the morning, my head feels much clearer, and I feel more positive and less anxious.

2. Pray daily. When you are frustrated with balance issues, pray. When you are upset at your work situation or boss, pray. When you are frustrated with your kids, pray. Prayer is a critical practice when it comes to work-life balance. It is the original, calming practice that Jesus taught and that connects us to God. Prayer calms, refocuses, and provides the spiritual strength we need to find balance in our days.

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Healthy Practices for Practicing Balance” by David Edman Gray is reprinted from Alban Weekly (No. 425, September 17, 2012), with permission from the Alban Institute. Excerpted from Practicing Balance by David Edman Gray. Copyright © 2012 by The Alban Institute, Inc., Herndon, VA. All rights reserved. Alban Weekly is a free electronic newsletter sent once a week with timely and concise information on emerging trends and Alban’s latest resources and upcoming events. Sign up at http://www.alban.org/weekly/