The other day, I had a not so good day at work, which is why I decided to write this post about the importance of learning how to eliminate these negative emotions. In my line of work as a behavioral therapist, the way my sessions with a client go may vary daily. It can go great, leaving me with a proud feeling of helping a kid achieve some goal in his/her therapy. It can also go completely awful, and I find myself contemplating on whether or not I could have done something better. In my case, working with children who were diagnosed with autism is very rewarding, but also energy draining. After having an unsuccessful session, I find myself frustrated, tired, lethargic at times, sad, and I have so many other emotions all at once.
I realize that I am not the only person who has made the mistake of coming home, letting myself stay in that negative state of mind, and acting on those feelings with my loved ones. Sometimes, it is so hard to forget about a bad day at work, but if you don't learn how to do it and reduce that stress, it can dramatically harm your relationships with people you care about. You don't want that to happen, right?
Below are the ways that help me relax and de-stress after work. I hope some of you can find these helpful.
1) Just breathe. Deeply. In and out.
This is called mindful breathing. During my time working at Spaulding Rehab Hospital, we were teaching our patients how to reduce stress with the help of simple breathing techniques. When you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions, take a few minutes to take deep breaths in and slowly breath out. Being aware of your breathing can help you quiet and clear your mind by focusing only on this meditative technique, rather than the world around you. Think of your negative thoughts as breaths - they can come and go, just like our breaths. You can also find a lot of mindful breathing meditations on YouTube, if you need somebody to guide you throughout this practice. This is a great way your body can calm itself down.
2) Smile before stepping into your home.
Have you guys heard about a research study, which discovered the benefits of smiling? No? So... The participants' facial expressions were manipulated by putting a pencil in their mouths the way that it would create a smile, and for others it would create a frown. While holding a pencil in their mouths, the participants had to rate a cartoon they were watching. Blah, blah, blah... Anyway, it was found that those who were manipulated into a smiley face rated the cartoon as more humorous. So, what I am trying to say is that when you smile, you can change your mood, because smiling releases endorphins, which are in charge of relieving pain. Before opening the door of your house, take a minute to exhale all your negative emotions and simply smile! I am positive that you will feel so much better after doing so.
3) Redirect your attention towards something else but work.
If you are home, and still struggling to let go of what had happened at work, try doing something that you love. For example, I am a dancer, so if I'm having a bad day, dancing in my living room is something that helps me release all my negativity. Do you like to draw, knit, or work out? Do that right there and then! This will help you forget about earlier events, and you will be able to just have fun.
4) Cheer yourself up.
We are human, and it is in our blood to exaggerate everything! When we have a bad day, this usually means that our job and everything else sucks, and it won't get better. Trust me though, it will get better! Everybody has their ups and downs. Our lives cannot always be smooth. Sometimes, there will be days when the worst possible thoughts can come to your head, but don't give in to them. Cheer yourself up! You have no idea how important our own thoughts are. You are in charge of them, so think positively, and you will get through anything.
5) Watch cute pet videos.
This is the easiest way to bring your mood up. There are so many cute pet videos on YouTube. Take a few minutes to watch them. If you love animals, these videos will melt your heart and fill it with only positive emotions. No matter how bad your day is, a video of kittens and puppies playing will turn it around!
7) Turn off your phone.
The one thing that irritates me a lot is when I am having a bad day and people are trying to have a conversation with me. Instead of lashing out at them, because they have no clue how I am feeling, I turn off my phone. Don't ruin somebody else's day just because yours isn't great. Take a break, and make yourself feel better first before interacting with others.
8) Take a bubble bath with candles and soothing music.
When you are home, quiet time in a bubble bath with soothing music is one of the best ways to relax your body and mind.
9) Share your story when you are ready.
It is very helpful to talk about your feelings with somebody who understands your situation. Trust me, holding on to your feelings can be hard and will elevate your stress levels. I hope each and every one of you has a special person in your life who will always be there to listen to your story.
I hope these tips will be helpful next time you are feeling down. Thank you for reading!