Search Our Site

Page Navigation

Section Banner

Mental, Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Self-Care Workshop

45-Minute Workshop

Suggested Participants

  • Ministers
  • Religious educators
  • Congregational leaders

Goals

  • Explore how religious leaders can take care of themselves
  • Learn the difference between stress and burnout
  • Learn about common boundary violations in a religious context

Materials

  • Copies of “Mental, Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Self-Care” for all participants
  • Copies of Singing the Living Tradition
  • Chalice or candle and matches
  • Newsprint and markers
  • Copies of Handout 8, The Difference Between Stress and Burnout, for all participants

Preparation

  • Appoint workshop facilitator(s).
  • Distribute “Mental, Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Self-Care” and ask everyone to read it before the session begins.

Session PlanESSION PLAN

Gathering and Centering, 5 minutes
Light the chalice or candle. Turn to reading 418, adapted from Israel Zangwill, in Singing the Living Tradition and read it aloud together.

Focusing, 5 minutes
Review the goals of the workshop and the workshop process with the group. Invite participants to discuss and agree upon the group’s guidelines for openness and sharing. Say something like,
There is much potential for open sharing throughout this program. On many occasions we will invite participants to share what may be intimate material. Therefore, it is important that people speak only when they are comfortable; it is always okay to pass if people choose not to share. By establishing a norm of respect for each other and our expression within the group, we want to ensure safety and right relations for all participants.

Engage participants in discussing the value of respect and confidentiality in a group and the destructive effects of sarcasm and put-downs. Print your group’s guidelines for openness and sharing on newsprint, and post it as a reminder for each session.

Reflecting, 15 minutes
Ask participants to read Handout 8, The Difference Between Stress and Burnout. Then respond to and discuss it and its application to church leaders.

Exploring, 15 minutes
Discuss the common boundary violations described in “Mental, Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Self-Care” and how they might apply to you and your congregation.

Closing, 5 minutes
Read aloud,
Good self-care and staying aware of and observing boundaries allows religious leaders to stay fully engaged in life. While the calling to religious leadership is powerful, appealing, and difficult to refuse, the call to be a complete and whole human being is also powerful and must not be ignored. As religious leaders, our congregations expect us to model self-care and balance needs and demands with awareness. Modeling self-care is a religious practice, and like all such practices, is a daily commitment and challenge. E. B. White spoke eloquently about balancing when he said, “If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” But plan we must. Plan to improve and enjoy, save and savor. This is our calling. Take care of yourself.

Extinguish the chalice or candle.

2-Hour Workshop

Suggested Participants

  • Ministers
  • Religious educators
  • Congregational leaders

Goals

  • Explore how religious leaders can take care of themselves
  • Learn the difference between stress and burnout
  • Learn about common boundary violations in a religious context

Materials

  • Copies of “Mental, Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Self-Care” and “Sexual Attraction for the Religious Professional” for all participants
  • Copies of Singing the Living Tradition
  • Chalice or candle and matches
  • Newsprint and markers
  • Copies of Handout 8, The Difference Between Stress and Burnout; Handout 9, A Self-Assessment Checklist; and Handout 10, Eleven Guidelines for Preserving Boundaries, for all participants

Preparation

  • Appoint workshop facilitator(s).
  • Distribute “Mental, Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Self-Care” and “Sexual Attraction for the Religious Professional” and ask everyone to read them before the session begins.

Session Plan

Gathering and Centering, 5 minutes
Light the candle or chalice. Turn to reading 418 in Singing the Living Tradition, adapted from Israel Zangwill, and read it aloud together.

Focusing, 5 minutes
Review the goals of the workshop and the workshop process with the group. Invite participants to discuss and agree upon the group’s guidelines for openness and sharing. Say something like,
There is much potential for open sharing throughout this program. On many occasions we will invite participants to share what may be intimate material. Therefore, it is important that people speak only when they are comfortable; it is always okay to pass if people choose not to share. By establishing a norm of respect for each other and our expression within the group, we want to ensure safety and right relations for all participants.

Engage participants in discussing the value of respect and confidentiality in a group and the destructive effects of sarcasm and put-downs. Print your group’s guidelines for openness and sharing on newsprint, and post it as a reminder for each session.

Reflecting and Exploring, 75 minutes
Ask participants to read Handout 8, The Difference Between Stress and Burnout. Then respond to and discuss it and its application to church leaders.

Using Handout 9, A Self-Assessment Checklist, invite participants to take 30 minutes to complete the checklist and talk with one other person about their responses. When time is up, ask them to silently read Handout 10, Eleven Guidelines for Preserving Boundaries. When they are finished, have them form groups of three in which each person names three guidelines that are the most challenging for them and how they could address them. Allow 30 minutes for this sharing.

In the same small groups, ask each person to share their responses to the following questions:

  • If a religious professional who is single wants to date a particular congregant, what process should be in place?
  • Does a religious professional need to talk about this with his/her support/relations committee? In not them, then whom?
  • How can such a relationship be transparent?
  • What about if and when that relationship comes to a close?

Integrating, 30 minutes
Ask each group member to name one or two insights they had during the focusing time.

Closing, 5 minutes
Read aloud,
Good self-care and staying aware of and observing boundaries allows religious leaders to stay fully engaged in life. While the calling to religious leadership is powerful, appealing, and difficult to refuse, the call to be a complete and whole human being is also powerful and must not be ignored. As religious leaders, our congregations expect us to model self-care and balance needs and demands with awareness. Modeling self-care is a religious practice, and like all such practices, is a daily commitment and challenge. E. B. White spoke eloquently about balancing when he said, “If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” But plan we must. Plan to improve and enjoy, save and savor. This is our calling. Take care of yourself.
Sing “Spirit of Life,” hymn 123 in Singing the Living Tradition.

Extinguish the chalice or candle.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Friday, April 22, 2011.

Sidebar Content, Page Navigation

 

Updated and Popular

Recently Updated

For Newcomers

Learn more about the Beliefs & Principles of Unitarian Universalism, or read our online magazine, UU World, for features on today's Unitarian Universalists. Visit an online UU church, or find a congregation near you.

Page Navigation