Sometimes it feels like life, our employers, our teachers, our families, and our friends expect a lot from us. Additionally, it can be hard to remember to take care of ourselves and our well-being once we become bombarded with these expectations. The secret is, if we want to fulfill our job, family, school, and work roles to the best of our ability, we have to always take care of ourselves. Here are a few ways you can put protective factors into play in your own life to help you keep going in the face of the daily challenges, and meet the expectations of your loved ones (or ones in charge of your paycheck).
What do you do to take care of yourself? Try to plan ahead of time so that when you are having a bad day you can:
• Do something that helps you to relax, feel calm and take your mind off of the stress you are experiencing.
• Take a break if you need it (this can be as simple as asking a friend for help with tasks at hand, or taking a personal day from work).
• Take time to remember the impact you have made in the lives of others – through your work, in your extended family, in your neighborhood or in your community.
• Get help from a supervisor or a coworker if you need it.
• Find a way on an ongoing basis to release the emotional stress related to the work. Allow yourself physical & emotional enhancers. Take care of yourself by eating well, getting rest, creating separation from work. Identify actions that help you to decompress.
• Finally, recognize your own humanness and learn ways to separate who you are as a person from what the job/school requires you to do.
Are there people in your life who can support you during rough times and help you recharge outside of work? Make sure that you benefit from positive relationships with others:
• Cultivate a supportive environment at work/school so that you and your coworkers/classmates have time to get to know each other and can turn to each other for support when needed.
• Spend time with family, spiritual groups, clubs, hobbies, sports, recreation or any other activity that removes you from the stress of work. Look into joining groups or organizations as a way to meet new people. Book clubs, school organizations, religious communities or clubs focused on a hobby you enjoy can be great places to start.
• When you’re having a tough day, don’t hesitate to reach out to colleagues/classmates/friends. This can help you gain a different perspective on your situation at hand.
Take care of yourself, fam. You deserve it.
Article by Rachel with contributions from Center for the Study of Social Policy’s Strengthening Families.