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How do people with "helping jobs" manage their stress?

I have heard that counseling and work in social services can be very stressful. As an aspiring counselor, I'm wondering what methods do people in those fields use to manage their work related stress? #career-path #counseling #stress-management

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Gary’s Answer

Hi,
Good question, I think everyone manages it differently. Probably the best way to manage any stress is to workout/exercise, personally I try to ride my road bike 30-50 miles a week and I have a gym membership. Taking breaks helps a lot, just to walk away and think about something else...whether it is talking to a friend/coworker, watching TV or reading a book. I like listening to music when I get stressed, it relaxes me and helps me to concentrate better and re-focus.
:)

Thank you comment icon Thanks Gary! Mounia
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Kim’s Answer

I know this is going to sound harsh, but I pretty much forget about my clients the minute they walk out the door. You have to learn to compartmentalize, and keep home and work separate. That being said, while my clients are unemployed, and might occasionally have the power cut off, they are not homeless. I don't know that I could forget about someone who was in truly dire straits. But, as mentioned above, exercise is the best way to deal with stress.

Thank you comment icon Thanks for the honest answer! This will be something I will work on. Mounia
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Lauren’s Answer

I've been in the field of counseling for over 20 years and the only way to maintain your sanity and longevity in the field is have really strong healthy boundaries. Much of my research over the last few years has been about burnout, compassion fatigue, and recovery from these symptoms. There are several ways to go about this, and the most sustainable are ones where you not just "balance" your work and personal life, but go the step further to place really strong boundaries around your clients/patients and your personal life. For instance, in one of the other comments, she does not take her work home with her, this is an excellent use of boundaries. It's what I call "care but not care". As a caring professional I realized a long time ago - and I teach my counseling students this - we can not "fix" or "save" anyone, and it is not our job to do so. Only the clients can "fix" or "save" themselves through their behaviors, choices, thoughts, feelings, etc... Our jobs are to assist them in cultivating their internal resources, healing old wounds, and creating a sustainable life through changes to thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
And it is of the utmost importance to seeking consulting, counseling, supervision, and support for yourself!

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Rachel’s Answer

You will need to focus on stress and time management. In order to manage stress you have to manage your time wisely. <span style="background-color: transparent;">You have to set a routine for yourself and stick to it for the most part. Once you get into the groove of a routine it will be much easier for you to manage your time and have enough time for everything you need to do (including relaxing). Make yourself to-do lists on a weekly basis, use Google calendar or a planner to keep track of events, deadlines, and due dates. In addition to setting a routine and sticking to it, plan out relaxing activities into your day. Or set aside a time, after everything is done for the day, that you can have "me" time. I have also personally found it essential to not only find time for myself but also make use of that time in a way that is best for me and my holistic wellness. I have found the HeadSpace app to be an essential tool in helping me relax and generally feel more relaxed throughout the day, Guided meditation, even if you have a busy schedule, will make you feel more at ease and relaxed throughout the day as a whole (not just when you have the time to relax and focus on that "me" time).</span>

<span style="background-color: transparent;">Set a routine.Use Google Calendar.Set aside Me TimeWrite weekly to-do lists and use a planner.Find a peaceful and restful activity that will help you feel relaxed.</span>



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Sikawayi’s Answer

Hello Mounia, thank you for your question. You are correct about helping other people being a high stress job. How to deal with it is to have a very good support system in place. Your system should be people you can trust, or someone you would turn to in a time of crisis, your family is going to be your main sources of support because there usually the people who are closest to you. I know it might seem hard at first, but you have to make sure you don't take on your client's problems and take them home with you. Best of luck
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James’s Answer

As a counselor it is very important to "learn" to separate your profession from your private life. I've learned that enjoying things you love to do will help you stay healthy both mentally and physically. For me gardening relaxes me and allows me to de-stress. Riding my bicycle at the lake also helps me to de-stress. Doing this takes practice, however, it can be very challenging if you do not make it a daily habit.

Thank you comment icon Thank you for the great advice. I will take note of this! Mounia
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