5 Personal Resources To Help You Become A Healthier Youth Worker
As we find ourselves in the days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we get to walk through interesting times where we learn to navigate a new “normal.” Whether self-isolation and social distancing last for a short while or a long period of time, all youth workers have a unique opportunity to move toward a new level of personal health. Current worldwide circumstances might actually create a season of healthier personal rhythms for youth workers who have a respite from the weekly grind of ministry. Nevertheless, let’s look at five resources that will help you become a healthier youth worker, both now and in the post-pandemic days to come.
Maybe you’re on the cutting edge with apps, but I had not heard of Abide when it was introduced to me a year ago. It is not an exaggeration to say it has had a significant impact on my spiritual health. Abide features meditations, prayers, topical devotions and more. The free version provides shorter segments for your listening enjoyment, but you can also upgrade to unlock more content. I often use the “Prayer of Examen” at the end of the day. There are various prayers that take you through your day and guide you with practical exercises to process things with God. This is simply an excellent resource.
Downtime and App Limits
Nobody promised you that everything on this list would be trailblazing material, but have you leaned into the wonder of limits on your smartphone? Both Android and iPhones offer options to create boundaries on how often you default to your device. When I first started limiting my social media to two hours a day, it was convicting and humbling to realize I was hitting that time before the day was half over. Yikes! I have since created downtime where I do not receive notifications, and limits to time wasting apps. The result has been a lower dependence on my phone, and forcing myself to better leverage the time God has given me.
Ruth Haley Barton’s Sacred Rhythms
No matter your denominational background, I strongly recommend you check out this incredible book by Ruth Haley Barton. She does an incredible job helping redeem spiritual practices in an effort to rekindle your spiritual rhythms with God. Learning to practice silence and solitude has been a game changer for my spiritual health, and this book paved the way for the changes I needed to make in my own life. If you want even more, consider one of Ruth’s Transforming Communities, which consist of nine retreats over two years. Easily one of the best things I’ve ever done for my own personal health.
At this point, you’re committed to this article, so you might as well keep reading! During these days, no matter where you live – make an effort to get outside and walk around. If you are unable to do this, improvise in whatever way you can. My wife and I started taking walks a while back, and when we are in a good rhythm I find myself in my healthiest place physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We drive to any area we find interesting, and then walk for what usually ends up to be an hour. We mix up our locations so it doesn’t ever become boring or overly routine. As our walk is winding down, we pray together as we walk, asking God to carry our burdens, help us as parents, and draw us to Himself.
In the years I’ve been involved in student ministry, I have found youth workers to be one of the most unique people groups around. It’s difficult to understand all that goes with the gig if you haven’t been there. Be intentional about leaning into others who understand the journey. Find safe outlets for you to be your authentic self. I’ve often heard youth workers say they don’t have people in their church they can talk to about their challenges, frustrations, and failures. If that’s your situation, find people outside your church. As an older youth worker, I am always willing to engage in conversations with other youth workers who just need to talk with someone who has been there. I am not the only one who would respond if you reach out, especially in a season of “social distancing.” Nobody thrives alone, but you’ll stay alone if you don’t take the first step.
We all will fight the battle toward personal health. These are merely five things that might be helpful, but they are useless until we recognize that being the healthiest version of ourselves won’t happen accidentally. May God bless you as you seize this unique moment in time, and take steps toward being the person He created you to be.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.