My mom is a social worker and sometimes she would come home crying and broken from some of the people she was helping. She specializes in at-risk-youth ranging from 7 to 17 years of age. Most of these youths would have ended up in jail, doing drugs or worse, dead if it wasn’t for my mom. She is given the most high-risk individuals due to her expertise, and normally she has a caseload ranging from 5-30 depending on the time of year and budgets. Each one of these youth tend to be very negative and require special attention, love and support.
Now imagine having to emotionally support all these high-risk youth, most of which see life negatively. No amount of sleep helps because this type of work is always with you. Just because my mom is home from work, doesn’t mean she isn’t thinking about her youth or worrying if they are okay. In fact, evidence suggests that some social workers can experience post traumatic stress disorder or high anxiety due to the emotional stress of the career.
Your career can be demanding as well, especially after working day in and day out for years on end. Some are more physically demanding while others are more emotionally taxing. People with physically demanding jobs are able to recharge by getting some rest, but what do emotionally drained people do to recharge? Those that work in emotionally draining careers such as social work, counseling, teaching, and customer service understand that once they begin to feel emotionally drained, sleep doesn’t always help.
For emotional jobs, the key is daily planning. Hiring managers are now placing more emphasis on emotional IQ, so creating and following small daily steps to maintaining your emotional levels in check are more important than ever before. Below you will find tips that will allow you to de-stress and gain back your energy.
Memories are the remnants of our past, some are good while others not so much. It is good practice to reflect on the good and the bad, but the problem arises when we get stuck in the past, wondering what we could have done different.
This proverbial what if dilemma can lead to anxiety which can drain you emotionally and make you more irritable at work and lead to a drop in your productivity. Instead, give yourself an allotted time where you focus on the past and reflect on it, appreciating the good memories and learning from the bad. A solid timeframe for reflection would be 5-10 minutes, preferably before bed. If you notice your productivity begin to drop or you’ve begun to procrastinate but feel that your emotional state is in check, a quick trick that I use is looking for other ways to boost my work efficiency.
The key here is that after the time is up, you must focus on the here and now. In the morning, ask yourself “What can I do right now to help better myself and/or my situation?” Whatever answer that may be, whether big or small, is the right answer. Working on aspects of your life that you do have direct control over can substantially raise your confidence and reduce anxiety, leading to more stable emotional state.
Keep a Journal
I have 2 journals, a declaration journal and a reflective journal. A declaration journal is simply where I write 3 main goals for the day. Even if I do nothing other than those 3 goals all day, I find that at the end of the day I still feel like I had a productive day.
Another plus of keeping a journal is simply to express or release bottled up emotions. Bottling up those emotions is similar to dropping a Mentos into soda, eventually you will have an emotional overload.
Be Picky with Music
Music creates emotion within us. Normally you will pick a song based on how you’re feeling or want to feel. Create a happy playlist with your all time favorite songs. Include songs that truly reach your heart; the songs that you can’t help from smiling while listening to them.
I like to listen to my happy playlist on my way to and from work. The reason I choose these times is because there’s traffic going both ways for me. Traffic is an obvious stressor for many people. My happy playlist indirectly reminds me on the way to work and on the way home that I should be thankful for my life and that most of the aspects of my life that are stressing me are minute and irrelevant.
Author Bio: Nicholas Filler lives in Idaho, and has an interest in technology, education, and medicine. He studied English with an emphasis in writing at Boise State University. Currently working on game theory and design. He enjoys spending his days outside, skiing during the winter, and learning about engineering concepts.