Stress Management

Busting Your Stress!

I have been a social worker for many years. Through the course of my career I have worked with various groups of people that need assistance. My formal training is working with youth and families, so this is where the focus of my career has been. I was not working as a social worker very long before I realized that I needed to find a stress relief for myself to remain effective in my job.

Working with people in general can be stress producing and when you add in mental health and domestic violence issues as well as chemical dependency the amount of stress goes way up. One of the things that I was doing with families was helping them find stress relief, yet I knew that if I did not accomplish this myself first I would not be able to teach others.

There are so many books, programs and audio tapes available that focus on stress relief. Many are very good, but they are also time consuming. I found that trying to fit in the programming to relief my stress was causing me even more anxiety. I went to a conference that had several break out sessions. One of the sessions was on stress relief. The presenter had great ideas of simple things that can be done in a few minutes throughout the day to help relieve stress from building up. One of the first things he started talking about was breathing.

I had heard about deep breathing in the past, but the way he presented this concept and the exercises he showed us were very helpful. Breathing is something that we do all the time and learning to breathe properly can be accomplished in minutes. I find that when I am getting stressed I take shallow breaths and also hold my breath. Remembering to take a few deep breaths and hold them in and blow them out has an amazing calming effect. I have used this technique with children and parents as we are sitting outside of the courtroom waiting to go into family court. One day one of the public defenders heard me remind his client to take some deep breaths as we were going into the courtroom.

The attorney told me after the hearing that he did this also and was amazed at the stress relief he experienced. There are many things that we can do during the day to reduce stress. Sometimes simply getting out of your chair and pacing or walking to a vending machine for coffee will help clear your mind and acts as stress relief.