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You may have noticed that you're being bombarded this month with discount coupons for self-help and diet books...

If you are foolish enough to have given major bookstore chains your e-mail address, you may have noticed that you're being bombarded this month with discount coupons for self-help and diet books, since January is the month when we're all supposed to "Do something!" about our lives. The Connection also has succumbed to this annual temptation (see our posts on eating plans, advanced directives). But here's some counter-cultural advice: it's winter - make like a bear, and rest.

Did you get a wonderful book as a Christmas present? Or a lap blanket, or some comfy slippers? It's time to take advantage of them. The infant Jesus has been safely born and baptized; the Wise Men have come and gone. The gift of winter for pastors and lay people alike is that it can be the season of quiet rest before the growth spurt of spring.

Our colleague, the Reverend Ed Moore, points out that even Christ had to go away from crowds and followers on a regular basis in order to carry out his ministry. Can you permit yourself to be lazy, contemplative, unplugged for a brief time?

And given the challenges you face during the week, might you prefer the fellowship of [sleeping] bears?

To everything there is a season,
a time for every purpose under the sun.
A time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal ...
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance ...
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to lose and a time to seek;
a time to rend and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

We're interested in your perspectives. How do you carve out time for yourself in the midst of a hectic week? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Yours in health,

Robin Y. Swift, MPH
Health Programs Director
Clergy Health Initiative

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