Pastor offers healthy strategies for colleagues during the pandemic

Clergy leaders are not immune to contracting the coronavirus. Pastors have contracted the virus, fallen ill and recovered. Few are long haulers, who suffer symptoms long after they have recovered or tested negative.

One West Ohio leader who has decided to remain committed to his health and wellness in this vulnerable time is the Rev. Brad Olson of Loveland United Methodist Church.

Olson, an award-winning powerlifter and competitor, is aware of his vulnerability to the virus as a pastor. When Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued the stay-at-home order, fitness centers closed. Olson lost his coping mechanism.

With a history of 38 years of training, Olson said, “That is why I lift. It is a way for me to release my frustrations, so I don’t have to take them out on others.”

When the gyms closed in the spring, Olson began cycling. His longest ride was from Cleveland to Cincinnati – 250 miles each way.

Asked how he has shifted his routine during the pandemic, Olson shared his approach to health in mind, body and spirit:

  • Body – “I make sure I eat right and drink lots of water.”
  • Mind – “I work to stay informed. The decisions I make are not just about me. They affect the person who doesn’t feel safe coming out of the house and those who think this whole thing is a hoax.”
  • Spirit – “My favorite words in the Bible are, ‘This too shall pass.’ We can offer salvation, but we don’t get to decide what salvation looks like. Everyone will be changed, some of us for the better.”

“I can’t control the pandemic,” Olson added, “but I do have some control over my fitness. Healthy decisions are more important now than ever.”