As a team, we at Leadership and Development Coaching believe as much in the health of the people as we do their ministries.
I want to share a few thoughts with you, whether for yourself or a colleague. This if for those who are dealing with an episode of significant anxiety or depressive thoughts.
Anxiety and overwhelm leading to depressive tendencies are a natural byproduct of good planning.
Prior to having a plan we tend to be reactive. Now having a plan brings clarity about an imagined future which can cause a huge amount of anxiety and depressive tendencies because we start to count the cost and measure ourselves against the goals.
The disciplines of prayer, journaling, and focusing on handling each day with excellence one day at a time become much more important.
Self Care is NOT Selfish
With an increased focus on and effort toward big goals, the need for corresponding effort on health and recovery disciplines becomes much more important.
It’s crucial that a simple list of things that you do that are “just for you” is identified.
This is done best when it’s a daily discipline of health and a weekly discipline of something fun outside of work.
A weekly discipline of counseling can also help you think about your thinking along the way.
Avoid making massive life changing decisions at this time and instead focus on small decisions that are good for you.
Growing Pains Lead to Growth
Times of stress and depression can lead to times of massive personal growth.
These come as we focus more on finding joy in a job well done, our relationships, and value in Christ, rather than our performance.
As leaders we are very results oriented so it takes practice to identify the weekly habits and disciplines that work well for us that we can trust will bring results over time. Otherwise, it’s too easy for our worth and value to be found in the achievement of goals and we begin to constantly evaluate how we are doing against the goals.
Instead, we must focus on celebrating our doing the things that we know work each day (those things that work for our health, our relationship with God and others, doing our jobs well, getting the right things done, not leaving important things undone).
As we learn to celebrate and affirm these things daily, we can trust the process and trust that things will be okay even if they don’t work according to our plan.
Phases not Fixes
Lastly, anxious and depressive seasons in the life of a leader are not one more project to “fix.” They are a normal part of the journey of life.
We must try to avoid over analyzing ourselves and avoid trying to find a solution for something that we think is wrong with us.
Instead, we must do the things that are proven to make a difference over time:
- disciplined thinking about our thinking (with the guidance of a counselor)
- medication if that helps to stabilize our ups and downs while we can grow through this season
- reintroducing fun and active physical movement or exercise into our daily lives
- journaling our prayers or thoughts in writing
- simplifying our daily and weekly work disciplines to avoid an unhealthy obsession on our long-term goals
- identifying the things in our life that drain us and the things that energize us and making adjustments where possible.
I hope in some way these thoughts and reminders bring you or someone connected to your ministry peace.
If you relate to this article in any way, it’s important that you don’t walk this leadership journey alone. Stay connected with us and get weekly support and encouragement via text from me personally!