Whether you are currently employed as a helping professional, or just starting out in the field as a student, you may be feeling the effects of compassion fatigue and getting burnt-out, but don’t despair. This can be a really hard and stressful time in your life, but it is also a really exciting time. Make sure that you don’t let the stress of life get in the way of having fun and enjoying life. Luckily, there are many strategies for maintaining your own mental health, while caring for the welfare of others. Here are some ideas on how to keep your own mental health in tip-top shape.
Talk It Out
Having an outlet to discuss feelings and problems is essential. Not only does talking about stressors provide relief from pressure, but it can also lead to brainstorming solutions. You can talk to a partner, friend, family member, or, even better, a colleague in your field who can understand and provide insight into the type of stress you are facing. By finding someone who is in your same situation you will no longer have to commiserate on your own. After a while you will be surprised by how much of a difference talking to someone else can make. This is definitely a great way to help you let off a lot of steam.
Develop A Self-Care Routine
Establishing a self-care routine can be more beneficial and easier than it may sound. Amidst all the stress and hardship it is essential for you to take care of yourself and find time to relax. Self-care activities should be centered on activities you enjoy and find rejuvenating. Focus on what relaxes you as well as what you love doing. You can always make time for what you love. The activity can take all day or just a few minutes. Common examples include meditating, reading, walking your dog, or getting a massage, but self-care encompasses just about anything you can come up with that works for you. The important principle is to structure self-care into each and every day. No matter what you always have to take time out for yourself.
Exercise is essential to feeling good physically, mentally, and emotionally. This can also help you be able to stretch your mind and even be able to focus better on your work. A good exercise routine can help you diminish stress while transforming your physical health. If you are normally sedentary and are not used to exercise it is a good idea to start slow. Even a brisk walk around the block during a break can be beneficial. As with self-care, the key is consistency. Exercise can definitely help you feel happy and positive. This can really help you feel like you could take on the world. It is definitely essential for you to try to work some type of physical activity into you daily routine.
Part of managing stress, is managing time. When at work, practice making a daily schedule. Even if not strictly followed, a schedule provides guidelines to follow and reduces clutter from your day, this is especially helpful if you are a student. For example, if you are working and feel like your schedule is book, but you are trying to get your education, you may consider an online masters in Social Work, which will allow you more flexibility in scheduling your day. That way you would be able to do your coursework whenever you felt like you had the time. It is also a really good idea for you to have a planner or a to-do list so that you never forget anything that you have to do. Writing down what you have to do and when you have to do it by is essential for staying on top of your work.
Give Yourself Credit
Take some time to give yourself positive feedback. An excellent way to bolster yourself is through the use of self-affirmations. Practice developing some positive self-statements and using them daily. Don’t be afraid to be proud of who you are. Be sure to take time every day to acknowledge what skills you have and what you have accomplished. This can really help you feel confident in everything you do.
Overall, although professionally caring for others is a demanding job, it can also be rewarding, as long as you practice maintenance. These few suggested strategies may help provide a framework to get you started, but you may develop other coping strategies that you think will work best for you.