Did you know that pursuing good personal health is a powerful way to impact the Kingdom of God? It’s true! You are a valuable part of God’s creation, and you’re made in His image - that means you are worth wellness. Good health can help ensure we are ready and able to obey the Holy Spirit wherever He leads us, and practicing healthy habits on the missions field can set the stage for a fruitful and fun outreach. We invite you to read on as we discuss Nine Tips to Stay Healthy on Outreach.
1. Sleep Well
Outreach is an exciting time, and if you’re traveling with a team like you would find here at the Sports and Fitness Discipleship Training School, it can be a new bonding experience with your fellow students. Daily responsibilities, ministry, and devotions may lead you to rise early in the morning, and fun social times in the evening can easily tempt you from going to bed on time. Even with so much to do and see, it’s worth getting quality rest. Besides bolstering your immune system, adequate sleep will ensure that you’re feeling refreshed and energized during ministry times. You’ll also have better quality time with your team during your off hours.
2. Take Advantage of Travel Breaks
Often outreach consists of a lot of time on the road or in the air. Not only can travel leave your immune system compromised, but all that time sitting down can leave you feeling sore and stiff. The good thing is, time in transit is usually punctuated with small breaks or rest stops - even international air travel has times when you get up and move around. Take advantage of these breaks by walking, stretching, or doing some light exercises.
3. Keep a Journal
During your outreach you’ll be pretty busy going to new places, meeting and ministering to new people, and trying new things. Journaling serves two purposes: to reflect on and remember the day’s activities and to give yourself time to decompress and practice self-reflection. Self-reflection is an important part of spiritual and emotional health; it will help you grow as a person and realize the significance of your missions trip.
Water, water, water! It’s super important to stay on top of your hydration during outreach. Outreach locations and activities can vary dramatically, and this can have an impact on just how much water you need. Warm locations and physically-demanding outreach activities will increase your need for water. Even during cooler, milder outreaches, it’s easy to be swept up in the busyness of the day and forget to drink enough. Monitoring your water intake and drinking an appropriate amount is one of the easiest things you can do to ensure a healthy outreach.
5. Build Quality Relationships
Healthy relationships are vital to every season of life. Because you’ll be working with your team closely, it’s wise to put effort into building good relationships with your team. The Campus Phase of YWAM Orlando’s Discipleship Training School provides a unique opportunity to learn and grow with your team before outreach. When you’re on outreach, it’s good to continue to care for those relationships while you build new ones with the people to whom you’re ministering. Prioritizing healthy relationships will create a stress-free environment and pave the way for a super enjoyable outreach.
6. Have a Daily Quiet Time
Yes, having a quiet time is an important part of maintaining good health on outreach! The psalmist writes, As the deer pants for the water, so my soul thirsts for God, and it is true that in the same way our physical bodies require nourishment to be well, our souls require time with the Lord to be satisfied. A daily quiet time provides you with an opportunity to take your worries and concerns to the Lord, to allow him to minister to your heart, and to prepare for the day’s ministry.
7. Prioritize Healthy Eating
One of the most exciting things about travelling to other countries is the opportunity to try out new and yummy international foods! How we eat has such an enormous impact on our health, so be sure to prioritize healthy eating as you try new things. Because certain cultures may subsist on diets heavy on grains, starches, and meats, be sure to keep an eye out for fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating is something you do every day, and eating well usually doesn’t require any extra steps or more work - it’s just something you have to choose!
8. Have an Exercise Routine (and keep it simple!)
Fitness can be an easy thing to neglect when you’re traveling. To make sure your personal fitness doesn’t slip through the cracks, create a super simple routine, and stick to it. I brought a jump rope on my Discipleship Training School outreach to Delhi, India. I found it easy to incorporate jump rope time and calisthenics into my morning schedule. Sure, it wasn’t the most exciting routine, but it was just enough to help me stay fit on outreach. I also loved brisk morning walks; not only did they help keep me active, but they allowed me to see more of the city I was living in. When it comes to personal fitness, don’t make it complicated; just be consistent.
9. Practice Self-Care
Self-care is the act of tending to the needs of someone who is super important: you! It’s good to be mindful of your personal needs, and create routines that help you to meet them. Because God is interested in you and your health, I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to give you a strategy for caring for yourself on the mission field. Remember, caring for our own needs does not exempt us from caring for the needs of others. Fruitful outreaches certainly do require that we practice a loving preference for our team members and those to whom we minister. The wonderful thing is, as we care well for ourselves it enables us to care better for those we are serving.
Have a great outreach!
Time spent in missions is certainly a blessing - both to those being served and those who are serving. God uses outreach times to change the world through our efforts, and he transforms us as we obey him in faith. Whether you are preparing for outreach, or you’re already on the field, we invite you to consider that one of the most valuable gifts you can give someone is a healthy you! From all of us here at Youth with a Mission Orlando and the Sports and Fitness Discipleship Training School, we wish you a happy, healthy outreach!
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Thomas Rutt | YWAM Orlando Staff