Internship can be demanding.
After working long hours all week on assessments, you are looking forward to the weekend. You’ve made arrangements to meet your friends at your favorite “spot” on Friday night and you are in charge of bringing refreshments. As you prepare to leave the office for a fun-filled weekend, your supervisor sends you an email stating that your assessments are incomplete and major modifications are required. And guess what, you can’t leave, which puts a dent in your plans. Oh, by the way, you also have to pick up the kids from school, stop at the bank, gas up your vehicle, and get on the road. Your stress level has just gone from 0 to 10 in one minute. Quite often we may find that our lives have become so busy and stressful that we find it challenging to manage that stress. No worries. An article in Shape Magazine from July, 2013, recommends 20 simple stress relief techniques. Listed below are just a few:
1) Worry about one thing at a time – Keep your anxiety focused on real, immediate issues, and tune out imagined ones or those over which you have zero control, and you’ll automatically reduce stress overload.
2) Talk about or write what’s worrying you – Writing or talking about the things that prey on you—in a diary, with friends, in a support group or even a home computer file—helps you feel less alone and helpless. One study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at people who had either rheumatoid arthritis or asthma— conditions known to be stress-sensitive. Researchers found that people who wrote at length about their feelings had far fewer episodes of their illness.
3) Speak a stress-free language – People who handle stress well tend to employ what stress experts call an “optimistic explanatory style.” They don’t beat themselves up when things don’t work out in their favor. Rather than saying, “I really blew that presentation,” it’s, “That was a tough group to engage.”Replace the word “expect” with “hope.” Expectations can only be used for those things over which you have the greatest personal control.
4) Identify one good thing that happened today – Instead of creating a negative atmosphere the minute you walk in the door, try starting off the evening with your family or friends by exchanging good news.
5) Take the stress in and release it – Try doing a tai chi exercise known as “embracing the tiger,” where you take your arms, spread them wide, put your hands together and then draw them—and everything around you—toward your navel, the center of your being. Doing this allows you to take the good with the bad. Then reverse your hands and push them out, releasing your tension.
When you can control stress, it can no longer control you. Take care of yourself during this busy internship year!
David J. Wright, MA., MSW
WKPIC Doctoral Intern