According to pastoral care expert and general practitioner Dr Carolyn Russell, people working at the front line of pastoral care in a range of community, organisational, church and school settings must prioritise 'self-care' in an increasingly challenging environment.
Speaking at the Whole Conference held at Melbourne's Stairway Church in June, Dr Russell noted that because pastoral care workers are so heavily invested in serving and supporting people through a wide range of personal challenges, they have an increased responsibility to focus on their own self-care and 'refuel' everyday to avoid 'self-induced burnout'.
Dr Carolyn challenged those present to consider their wellbeing within a holistic rubric - embracing emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical needs.
Accordingly, self-care requires paying attention to the finer details of life: centring after stress; meditation to regain peace; food, exercise and sleep to retain balance and physical health. Self-care also needs to encompass the big picture of life - ensuring regular holidays are scheduled and weekends allow quality time for rest and life-giving relationships with friends and family.
Hosted by Korus Connect and Scripture Union Victoria, the 2019 Whole Conference focused squarely on the unique needs of pastoral care workers through training, networking and collaborating. There were 330 participants including Chaplains, Community Connectors, pastors, youth workers, wellbeing officers, welfare and relief officers, and those working in pastoral care for the church and communities.
Email Rochelle if you want to be the first to find out about the 2020 Whole Conference.