EHM is in a time of discernment in order to restructure, seek new funding, locate new talent, and rededicate this ministry in order to best serve our communities. As yet, we are uncertain as to exactly how our new status will look, or precisely how long it will take to receive God’s Word about our direction.
And so…..EHM will temporarily be on sabbatical, hopefully for just a short time. Let us give thanks for our first twenty years of fruitful ministry, even as we consider the incredible needs in health and social justice issues that lie ahead. We ask you to pray for direction in our future ministry, which we feel certain will be revealed to us.
As always, thanks and appreciation to you for your faithful, continuing service to health ministries!
After hitting snooze multiple times, you drift back off to dreamland, then frantically dash out of bed when you realize it’s almost time for work. You yank a comb through your unwashed hair and toss on some clothes, praying that nobody notices the wrinkles on your shirt. Breakfast consists of whatever you can stuff in your mouth during red lights, which is anything from leftover pizza to a bag of potato chips.
Sound familiar? If so, you’re probably part of the 13% of Americans who arrive late for work at least once a week. You may also find yourself pulling this routine when it’s time for school, medical appointments, or social functions. While the occasional late appearance is normal, you need to make some changes if you’re constantly late for commitments. All of this rushing around leads to stress, which can negatively impact your overall health. Address your constant tardiness with these 4 practical tips.
Identify Why You’re Late
Before you can strive for punctuality, you need to figure out why you’re late all the time. Is it because of factors that seem beyond your control, such as heavy traffic or a delay signing in your kids at school? Are you overly optimistic about how long it will take to drive to work, which causes you to underestimate how much time you need to get there? Perhaps you like the attention associated with a late arrival, as one psychology expert speculates. Medical issues, such as depression or fibromyalgia, may also make punctuality difficult.
Or perhaps you hate your job. If you work in a toxic environment filled with gossip or sexual harassment, you may find it hard to muster up the motivation to arrive on time. Maybe you’re bored with your current career path and wish you had chosen a different field. Your chronic lateness might even stem from a combination of the the issues listed above. Be honest with yourself about why you’re always late so that you can figure out how to prevent your tardiness.
Create a Punctuality Plan
After establishing the cause(s) of your frequent late arrivals, develop an actionable plan. If unexpected traffic often makes you late, leave for work 15 or 30 minutes earlier. If that’s simply not an option due to school or daycare dropoff times, ask your boss if you can bump back your start time a bit. You may also want to speak to your boss if a toxic work environment makes you dread clocking in each day.
See a doctor if medical issues regularly make you late for commitments. A healthcare professional can change or adjust your prescriptions or offer suggestions on how you can manage your symptoms. Perhaps getting your home more organized will help you get ready and out the door more promptly (it can also reduce stress).
Set Timers or Alarms
Sometimes poor time-management skills are the culprit behind late arrivals. If you find that you often get sucked into television shows, books, or video games before a commitment, limit the amount of time you spend on these recreational activities. Instead of saying, “Okay, I’m just going to play a little longer,” set a timer or alarm on your phone for a specific amount of time. When the buzzer sounds, stop doing whatever you’re doing. Don’t say, “Oh, I’ll just play a few more minutes.” Stopping requires self-discipline, especially if you’re preparing to head somewhere you don’t want to be - but you’re capable of doing it.
If you lack the discipline to stop, consider implementing a small reward system for yourself. You can award yourself with a gourmet coffee if you arrive on time for 10 or 15 commitments, or you can reward yourself with additional time doing the activities you love. For example, if you like to play video games before work, you can give yourself 5 extra minutes the next day if you stop playing them on time today.
Track Your Travel Times
If you still find punctuality difficult after trying the tips above, consider tracking your departure and arrival times. Make sure to mention whether traffic was heavy or light, as well as how you felt physically and mentally that day. This helps establish patterns that may contribute to your lateness. You may discover that traffic is awful if you leave at 7:35 a.m. rather than 7:30 a.m., or you might find that it’s difficult to remain focused and energetic if you take once-a-day prescription meds in the morning rather than the evening.
Tracking travel times also helps you figure out how long it actually takes to get from your home to other destinations. This makes it easier for you to leave on time for work or social commitments because you know exactly how long it will take (but don’t forget to add some buffer time to your drive in case an unexpected issue occurs).
Arriving on time requires personal accountability and self-discipline. Fortunately, these are behaviors that you’re capable of executing with a little practice. Practice the tips above consistently and watch as your tardiness rates decrease over time.
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ! This is usually accompanied with lights, music, parties, tinsel and glitter. NOT EVERYONE FEELS LIKE THIS during the holidays and some even want to hide from it all. There are many reason for this: death of a loved one, loss of a job and income, chronic illness including addictions and depression, memories of past hurtful holidays and unrealistic expectations of ourselves and those around us. We feel the darkness growing deeper around us. We need encouragement to live the days ahead of us.
Are we "not normal" if we can't join in the festivities and be joyful and merry? No! However you are feeling and however you are dealing with the holidays may be the best you can do at this time. Take a deep breath, close your eyes for a few seconds and accept your current situation. Then take inventory of your situation and your feelings and your resources for coping. You may need to make a list so that you can refer back to it and add to it as necessary.
Re-evaluate what you can handle comfortably even if this means making changes in traditions and rituals. Maybe the shopping will have to be curtailed, the cards not sent this year - or sending a short note instead explaining why you aren't up to the usual. Baking and decorating may not happen at all or be reduced in quantity. The lights and the added sugars may contribute to the depression and loneliness rather than lift your spirits.
Some ideas that have helped others:
- Plan ahead - consider ahead of time what may be expected of you both socially and emotionally and how you can adjust these expectations.
- Trim down to essentials - limit social and family commitments to suit your available energy. Re-evaluate priorities and forego unnecessary activities and obligations.
- Accept your limitations - holidays place additional demands on time and emotions.Plan to lower your expectations to accommodate current needs.
- Make changes - alterations in surroundings, rituals and traditions will diminish stress.
- Ask for and accept help - allow those who care about you to offer their support in concrete ways. Be specific about your preferences and desires.
- Build in flexibility - you are the foremost authority on what is best for you and your needs and these may change from day to day. Take each moment as it comes.
- Give yourself permission "to be" - allow breathing space and expect fluctuations in mood and perspective. Not only is life more complicated, but all energy is siphoned into mental and emotional resolution.
Some churches have a "Dark Christmas" or "Blue Christmas" service during Advent to support people who are having a hard time coping with the holidays, depression and grief. An evening of prayer, scripture, communion, and music that acknowledges that God's presence is for those who mourn, for those who struggle, for those who grieve - and that God's Word comes to shine light into our darkness. This is very healing and there are several resources for developing this service, including Episcopal Health Ministries and other internet services.
Remember - "our capacity to love holds hands with our capacity to cry. There's something sacred about sorrow, about loss, about the fact that joy is always braided with a certain quiet sadness. It's there to remind us of our true home, which is and always has been within the heart of God. It's a home from which we can never be separated.
(Marilyn Morgan Helleberg, Daily Guideposts 7/27/00)
2016 Episcopal Health Ministry Conference
"Love Your Neighbor as Yourself"
Celebrating 20 Years of EHM
September 15 - 17, 2016
The Jean Denton Keynote Address
Rev. Melford E. (Bud) Holland Jr.
Bud has been assisting groups and individuals to understand more fully the complexities of transitons and their gifts and assets to work effectively within them. Bud was involved in the early organization of National Episcopal Health Ministries. He has worked with dioceses, the wider church, urban to suburban congregations, and groups that were seeking to discover new ways in their work, and individuals seeking to stregthen their vocations. Bud affirms and encourages others in their work.
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From time to time EHM will be inviting people to be a guest blogger. Before Advent starts please enjoy a blog by The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner, creator of Living Compass:
I believe that one of the core components of living a holy life, a life characterized by wellness and wholeness, is learning to delay gratification. Perhaps one of the clearest ways to understand this is to consider how easy it is to compromise our wellness by seeking immediate gratification. Eating whatever we want, whenever we want, will negatively affect our physical wellness. Reacting immediately when were are flooded with anger will almost always compromise both our emotional and our relational wellness. Giving in to the urge to buy more all the time rather than learning to save will compromise our financial wellness. Seeking quick and easy answers from God to our prayers and questions rather than learning to rest and “trust in the slow work of God” (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin) will diminish our spiritual wellness.
At the heart of learning to delay gratification is learning to practice patience. In a culture that glorifies immediate gratification, learning to wait is countercultural. This makes practicing patience a perfect practice for Advent, because observing the season of Advent itself is countercultural. Our culture’s emphasis on immediate gratification increases tenfold as we rush full-speed ahead into the Christmas season. We are encouraged to give into all of our impulses to eat more, do more, drink more, and buy more this time of year. The season of Advent provides us with the space we need to make countercultural choices, choices that will help us prepare for the true meaning of Christmas.
One place to start is practicing patience is with ourselves. If we are loving and gracious with ourselves, that is likely how we will be with others. If we are critical and judgmental of ourselves, that is likely how we will be toward others. The same is true with being patient. The degree to which we are patient with ourselves is likely the degree to which we will be patient with others. It is hard to give others what we cannot give ourselves. The timeless wisdom in the calling to love our neighbors as ourselves reveals that this is exactly what we do when we treat our neighbors the same way we treat ourselves.
One of the foundational principles of our Living Compass Wellness ministry is, “Whatever we pay attention to is what will grow.” If we pay more attention to what annoys us about ourselves or someone else, then our impatience with ourselves or that other person will grow. If, instead, we pay more attention to what is good and what we appreciate about ourselves or someone else, then our patience with ourselves or that other person will grow. We invite you to practice paying attention to what delights you about yourself and others, and then see if your patience grows.
During the holiday season, when emotions tend to run high, we may find ourselves being irritable or short with those close to us. We may also have opportunities to practice patience with friends and family members who we don’t see that often. When we feel that others are trying our patience, it is wise to remember that “Whatever we pay attention is what will grow.” The choice to practice patience this Advent season (or not) is ours.