Wednesday Words: Stress

This week our Wednesday topic is stress and what we do to combat it. If there’s one thing you should know about social workers it’s that although we teach self care, most of us also don’t follow our own advice. If you could look into my bedroom right now you’d see all sorts of signs that I’m overwhelmed, over stressed, and I’m not participating in good self care. I know I’m struggling, and I know I should be following the advice I give to clients. Buuuut, it’s easier to not do those things.

So let’s talk about my unhealthy ways of dealing with stress, shall we?

Sleep… Stressed out for me leads to sleep. I may have trouble going to sleep or staying asleep but I will stay in bed and snooze on and off all damn day if I can.

Avoidance… Sleep is one of my favorite tools of avoidance. I’m also good at using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, tv, and online games to avoid the world. Reading is good too, I’ll read for hours if I can. These all lead to laundry that needs to be done, a bedroom that needs to be cleaned, nasty cat litter (and pissed off kitties), and overflowing trash cans. I’m super good at thinking that goes like this, “I should be writing case notes, but I really want to knit… I guess I’ll just go to bed/watch tv/do neither.”

As for the things I should be doing and things that generally work for me to reduce stress…

Creativity… Writing, knitting, crafting, photography, drawing, and basically anything that gets my creative flow going typically helps me feel better. It’s just that the guilt of being behind in work etc. sometimes stops me from doing the fun stuff. (See avoidance above).

Baby steps… I teach this to clients all the time, especially hoarders. Tasks don’t always have to be done in one shot. Even though it would be nice to get it done and over with, sometimes working on small bits and then taking a break works great. In other words, because I did a ton of paperwork earlier plus two home visits and a meeting, I give myself permission to work on my blog and not do any more paperwork til tomorrow. πŸ™‚

Talk… I was just saying to a new client tonight about how important talking is. Whether you’re talking to a counselor, family member, friend, support group, your blog readers, coworker, or yourself you must keep talking! Holding things in is almost never good. Sometimes I’ll talk to myself in the car and just doing that helps me even though I’m the only one listening.

Pampering… No, I’m not talking about diapers. πŸ™‚ I’m talking about fun stuff like manicures, pedicures, hair cuts, hair color, yarn shopping, massage, dinner out, a movie double feature with a bestie, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream from the carton in bed, a date with a kid who makes you giggle, and snuggling with your favorite furkid. Basically, do something good for yourself! And put your phone on vibrate or airplane mode if you can!

Plan Ahead… I usually suck at this one but when I do follow though with it, it’s great. I love a good countdown (my countdown app on my iPhone is wonderful!) and having things to look forward to can be a huge motivator. I just had a five day mini vacation and it was great but by the time I returned to work this morning I was already overwhelmed again. What got me through the day was this:

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The Fault in our Stars movie on June 6th, Backstreet Boys on June 17, and my Writers Retreat on June 21! After that, I have my birthday in July and a Matt Nathanson/Gavin Degraw concert to look forward to as well. πŸ™‚

And that’s about all I have for now. As I’ve been writing this I’ve been thinking about my messy bedroom and how perhaps I should go clean… Or you know, just go to bed. LOL

What’s your favorite method of self care?

Don’t forget to see what the other Wednesday girls are doing to de-stress!

Jenny β€’ Bronwyn β€’ Kris β€’ Jessica
Leigh β€’ Tess β€’ Gwendolyn

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