The Holy Week Hangover

I have officially caught the Holy Week Hangover. I woke up Monday morning late and groggy with a stuffed up nose and a sore throat. Clearly I got the flu. Probably all the candy and other bad eating habits of the holidays are not helping. But I have come to expect such feelings on the day after Easter. Easter is busy. Not only are there extra worship services and extra sermons, but there is also a lot of pressure to have a good showing for Easter guests. I am always tired this week.

sleeping baby

The Holy Week Hangover also highlights 2 of the most challenging aspects of ministry:

  1. Ministry is personally draining. Ministry involves giving a lot of yourself to your work. It is unlike other jobs in this regard. It can be so much a part of who you are that some pastors get themselves absorbed into their work. Preaching is especially like this. Good sermons require a little blood to be given in the process.
  2. Ministry is inconsistent. Ministry ebbs and flows in its seasons, rhythms, and demands. Every day and every week is a little different. Some weeks, however, are harder on the body and the spirit than others. You get weeks of difficult sermons, weddings, 2 funerals, or a church conflict. Many pastors seem to like this aspect of the work except that it is uncontrollable. You don’t get to decide when your crazy weeks will be. (At least Holy Week is always scheduled ahead of time.)

So Holy Week comes and goes and we a left emotionally and spiritually spent, energetically and creatively empty, and in my case sick. What do we do about the Holy Week Hangover?

  1. Realize that the Holy Week Hangover is normal. It is ok to feel like this.
  2. If you feel like this all the time, then you have a problem. It is ok to feel like this after a big week, but if you always feel like this then you are practically sprinting to a burn out or a break down.
  3. Schedule very little for the week or two after Holy Week. I tend to leave some space in my calendar and the church calendar so that I can regroup and plan ahead in the weeks following Easter.
  4. Take some time to refresh. Invest some time in whatever brings you life—rest, sleep, binge watch TVshows, read a novel, visit with an old friend…
  5. Spend some time with your family. Chances are that your family has been a little on the back burner as Holy Week unfolded. Take time to spend some time with your spouse and kids.

Hope this post was helpful. I am going back to bed.


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