Reading time: two minutes Okay, Pastor, take a deep breath. I’m not kidding. Right now, relax for a moment, take a long, slow, deep breath in, hold it for a few seconds, then slowly release if completely, relaxing your body while you do, rest in that quiet place for a second, then continue reading. It’s a good physical self-care technique. You need the oxygen, especially after all you’ve been through in the opening weeks of the Lenten season. April is just about here and today I want to recommend a little bit of physical self-care to prepare for the grueling home stretch over the next few weeks now through Easter. Those counting on you need you at your best in body, mind and spirit, so consider tending to your physical needs over the next few days in an intentional way. Here are a few suggestions.Last week we talked about a personal spiritual retreat to take others to a place you yourself have already been. That effort of leading others on a special time of reflection and meditation is physically more demanding than you might recognize when you’re right in the middle of it. When I led a congregation through the Lenten journey, I had an annual physical collapse right after Easter. To paraphrase Mickey Mantle, “If I had known Lent would last so long, I’d have taken better care of myself.” Why not choose a few of the following to give yourself some much needed, and well deserved, physical refreshment? Recreate. You’ve probably neglected your favorite hobby or pastime for a month or more by now. Go to the driving range and hit a bucket or rake the yard or make some sawdust and pound a few nails. Whatever you do to get away from ministry tasks for a little while, do it. Sleep. Almost everyone (don’t fool yourself) needs more sleep, and for most, it’s closer to the nine hours per night than it is to the seven, especially when you’ve been pushing hard. For the next week, commit to staying in bed your full allotted time for the rest you need. Take a nap, too. Take a nap for three or four days in a row to enter April fully rested. De-Stress. What’s your best technique? Physical exercise? Get back in the habit for a while because you know you’ll miss some workouts soon. Reading? Grab a fun book, maybe a favorite on the shelf, and just read the last couple of chapters. Laughter? It’s good to have a good guffaw even during Lent. Watch a funny movie to renew your spirit. Family time? Have a date night or a game night, right in the middle of Lent. Release some stress. Nourish. Eat some really good food and do a mini-cleanse from the empty calories that sneak into our diets when we’re in a hectic season. Take care of yourself. We need you at your best these days! Thanks for reading. Are you interested in helping bring a Grace Place Wellness Retreat to your region? We’d love to hear from you. Contact our President/CEO Randy Fauser today to begin exploring the possibilities. Let’s have a conversation about bringing our Church Worker Retreat to your area soon!