Self Care 101

The past two weeks at work have been a tad bit tiring and overwhelming. One of my projects literally makes my brain hurt and last Friday I walked into someone’s office to ask a question only to stand there silently because the words just wouldn’t come out. Yup, it’s just one of those weeks.

Luckily, being a social worker helps me combat this stress.  If there’s one thing they beat you over the head with in school it’s how to properly relieve anxiety and tension. Still, many of us can’t seem to get this concept down (which is part of the reason burnout is so high in our field. Or it could be all that secondary trauma or other awful things people deal with, but hey, for the sake of this article we’re going to say it’s because they’re not relaxing enough). This doesn’t just apply to social workers either. Corporate America is just as stressful and everyone needs to take a step back now and then and just relax. It’s the only way you can truly be successful in your career and life without driving yourself completely bonkers.

I promise to give you better options than meditating on your conference room table!

I promise to give you better options than meditating on your conference room table!

So, are you so overtired that you can’t even think about ways to relieve your stress and take care of yourself? Don’t worry, here are a few good ways to take a step back and relax.

Go to the gym or take a walk. The gym is by far my favorite stress reliever. I never leave that place without feeling better than when I walked in. That’s because exercise has been proven to improve your mood and reduce anxiety. So, get out there and lift some weights, run on the treadmill, or just walk the dog.  Anything to get you moving!

Go to happy hour. Two words: happy hour! What better way to unwind after a long, hard day than a trip to your favorite spot for appetizers and drinks with your friends or coworkers? Just try not to gripe for too long about your job. Focus conversation on other things like life events, sports, or hobbies.

Plan a date night. Is your significant other getting the brunt of your cranky, stressed out behavior? Plan a date night for the two of you to relax and enjoy each other’s company. You can go big or small, as long as it’s something you both enjoy and will get your mind away from work.

Scream into a pillow. Have you ever been so frustrated or angry that you just want to scream? Well, go ahead and do it into a pillow! I’m not even kidding here. I’ve done this multiple times and it feels so good to get the anger out. I immediately feel relaxed because all of that pent up frustration has left my body.

Do something you love. You could read a book, draw a picture, or bake some cookies. No matter what it is, do what you love and enjoy yourself. If you work hard, you need to play harder so make sure to take time to appreciate your favorite past times.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and count to ten. Sometimes you’re still too busy and stressed out to really do any of these things. When that happens, take a seat, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and slowly count to ten. You’ll inhale the relaxation and exhale all the bad energy that’s stressing you out. Quick, easy, and feels oh so good!

Now it’s your turn! How do you unwind after a tough day at work?

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