Here are four areas where you can begin to practice intentional change and convert congregational care back from a burden into a blessing:
1. Take a break
- Breaks are often overlooked because it may impede the perception of progress, achievement, and performance. However, breaks are an essential aspect of self-care.
2. Change things up:
- Include new and different faces in the same activities. New people and groups can be like a breath of fresh air that revitalize repetitious activities. In addition, new people can lead to new ideas and perspectives. This can organically vitalize your practices of care.
- A change of scenery can reinvigorate practices of care. For example, if you regularly meet at your office, go out for a cup of coffee or ice cream.
- Be adventurous. The mind can grow numb with repetition. Thinking outside the box is a way to provide the same services – congregational care – in new environments and creative ways.
- Structure, format, and program
- Change the structure, format, or program offered. The practice of care, when it is done repeatedly, can become instinctual. We often times act without thinking about what we are doing. Changing the structure, program, or format can help to reinvigorate the work of care.
3. Read a book
- This is related to the first point: taking a break. Taking a break allows you to take a step back and gain a fresh perspective. Part of this task may require reading material from others in your field. By doing this, you can feel more connected with others who are going through the same struggles and you can get new ideas for your practice.
4. Use your imagination and be intentional
- Positivity and negativity are two categories in the mind. Think of them like dogs – the one you feed the most will be the most dominant. If you feed the dog of negativity then negativity may become a dominant experience. Monitoring feeding schedules can become a difficult task – so it requires self-monitoring, self-awareness, and persevering practice. When you catch yourself, do not shame or guilt yourself but instead choose to stop what you are doing and do something different.
- Pretend you’re an actress or actor. This may seem silly, but when you are feeling down, consider how the ideal positive person would act. What would they think? What would they do? How would they respond? Then, pretend you are that person. This is not a “fake-it-till-you-make-it” it is a “do-it-till-you-feel-it”.
- If you work at a desk then try out this activity. Every time you have a negative thought, write it down and throw it in the wastebasket. Then, write down an opposite thought, one that is positive and affirming. Post this to your desk or workspace. Take a break to think about this instead of the negative thought you just got rid of.
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