Five things Friday roundup: Survival Mode

Image by Pricilla du Preez from Image by Pricilla du Preez from

1. Mental Health

I make it a point to make mental health a regular thing I mention in this blog. As I struggle with PTSD (with big dose of anxiety and depression being a part of that), I’ve found myself several steps back as opposed to the 10 steps forward I achieved a few months ago. What I’ve learned is, that’s ok. The journey towards mental health and wellness is a marathon, not a sprint. Some days are “red light days” (days where keeping your head above water is about the only thing you can do), “yellow light days” (days where you can get a few things done, maybe not as much as you had maybe wanted), or “green light days” (days where you’re really feeling good and can do the things you need to do). The trick is not to judge where you find yourself, of where others find themselves.

2. Self-Stewardship

Recently, in a cohort I’m a part of, our leader stated that she was tired of the word “self-care” and preferred to use “self-stewardship” instead. I really resonated with this concept. What can I do, when I’m not at work, to help me show up, be my best, and give what I have to offer the world? How can I pace myself so I don’t feel frantic? What does rest and reenergizing myself look like? I’m still figuring this out, but if the concept of self-care is difficult for you, think about how one might be a good steward of, say, money. We budget, we plan, we invest. What does that look like for our lives?

3. Trust

This concept is so difficult for me. While I have personal trauma that surrounds my issues with this, I am also very mistrustful by nature. Years of racism, fatphobia, classism, grief/loss, and bigotry, along with my own stuff, has led me to struggle with who, how, and when to trust. And that includes God! Will God be there for me when I need them? How much does God really have control over this situation? Can I trust Her to show up? I’m still learning, but I try to take a pragmatic look at the past. I think of all the times God has showed up. I think of all the times I’ve been cared for. I think about all the times my love and care have been God’s light in the world. It helps create a pattern in my brain that keeps me grounded, for the most part. To affirm this, I encourage you to take a listen to one of my favorite songs by Jennifer Knapp:

4. The Great Resignation

This is a phenomenon that has sprung out of the pandemic. Needing to be available 27/7, no work/life balance, and measly pay have burnt out the Millennial generation, among others. The toll on physical and mental health is huge. Boundaries are a huge thing in pastoral work, even as I’ve moved toward a more executive roll. My best friend, a nurse, is running out of steam with the demands of her job. While it’s a privilege to leave a job that doesn’t benefit you, those who have the resources are exiting jobs in droves. If you find this interesting or perplexing, I encourage you to read this Boston Globe article by Katie Hitchcock-Smith.

5. Playdough

As a nervous person, I find myself fidgeting in meetings. When I lack concentration, I need something to do with my hands. When I’m angry, physical activity is usually what’s needed. However, when we’re at home, with people, strangers or otherwise, or at work we can’t always find our outlet. This is where I suggest playdough! Easy to make and not just for kids, I’ve included a recipe here. Don’t let the “mom” part fool you. This is for everyone. There’s even a video, options for gluten-free, and other tips on how to store it. Don’t be afraid to create, smash, and fidget your way into being a happier person.

Joanne Gallardo

Joanne Gallardo is conference minister of Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference of Mennonite Church USA in Goshen, Indiana. Originally from northwest Ohio, Joanne Read More

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