Coping with Stress

Sometimes I recognize when I’m stressed, and other times, it’s like a typical Wednesday and I just want the work day to end. My coping mechanisms depend on my mood. At times I want to come home and pour myself a bottle of wine. Other times I push myself to the gym, or to pick up some take-out that will help me feel better. Some weeks, I countdown to Thursday when I have my #therapytime. I try not to judge myself too hard when I don’t see the gym for weeks on end. I recognize some coping mechanisms are healthier than others, but they are all helpful in just getting me through the DAY.

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Day by day is the only way we can live, taking what comes and rolling with the punches. With my job, it helps to prepare for the weeks to come, and possibly to take one day or one afternoon to plan for the 2-3 days ahead. In a PERFECT world. Planning and prepping is ideal, but realistically not always possible. Also, there’s times when unexpected things come up, and boom! you have to drop what you have planned and make like a rubber band (super stretchy.)

When it comes to stress management, I recognize Twitter works for and against my productivity. Sometimes during down-time, I vent to the the Twitterverse. I also document tidbits of my day; something a student has said during therapy, or some epiphany I’ve had in the course of the workday. Kids can be comic relief any day. Those days, I’m reminded why I love pediatrics. On days I’m just trying to get a student to sit down and care about what we are doing, my attitude becomes I’m over it and cannot wait until Friday, or spring break, or June (depends on the severity.)

Don’t misunderstand me. I am thankful for my career, which wasn’t an easy road. I think it’s easy to get discouraged, or loose patience, especially when you’re working with others. My ultimate take-away from working in a school environment is: YOU CANNOT CONTROL OTHERS. You hope for a “team-focused, positive, communicative” school team. IN A PERFECT WORLD everyone will consider one another and communicate well. You hope for on-board parents that will take your recommendations seriously. You hope for students that will not refuse services and will put forth their best effort. And this may be the case, overall, but in only takes a couple of difficult students to make things seem unbearable.

We don’t live in a perfect world. Therefore, stress can be expected. IT can also be managed, not in a pre-determined way someone else says you should manage it, but by paying attention to your current habits in a non-judgmental way.

What are some ways you manage your stress?

What are some habits you realize help manage stress that you hadn’t taken into account before?

-Tica

Work, Work, Work, Work…

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Last night, I stumbled upon a great article on Tactus Therapy about transitioning settings as a speech language pathologist (from schools to medical.) It’s very scary to think about making drastic changes, but I’m learning the older I get that without risk, there’s no reward. I think the most stifling feeling when it comes to work is the thought of being “stuck” or that you don’t have any options. Every speech language pathologist I’ve come in contact with, has chartered their own path. I love listening to “how I got here” stories. I’ve met veterans in school systems, private practice owners, doctoral students, clinicians who aspire to effect change on the state and local level by being active in State organizations, and I’ve read about SLP’s who have landed dream jobs abroad. Many hats, same passion.

I am also a Reddit lurker, because sometimes one can stumble upon the most provoking threads. In our field, sometimes it’s hard to find the answers you’re looking for by searching a simple Google question. I remember a big question that my graduating class had was realistic salary expectations coming out of school. I know there are many factors to consider (setting, hours, productivity, etc.), but I think having that information is empowering (especially in a female-dominated field where the N word is difficult.)  Salary is not something you go up to a professor and discuss casually, and we (as a class) got the feeling that it was neither “proper” or “professional” to expect a direct answer or number. But it sure would have been helpful. In my experience in reading Reddit threads, people are more willing to share numbers to strangers across the interwebs. The transparency is just one aspect that we may lose in the spirit of “decorum.”

I’m writing this because I’m recognizing very early that the school setting is not a long-term reality for me. I’ve learned a lot in the 3 years (one year CF, and 2 “on my own”) from 2 different school districts. I have a lot of respect for everyone involved with keeping schools running, however, it is not for everyone. It is a tiresome, thankless job that no one does for money. But you’ve probably already heard that tune. I think the most exciting question to answer is… so what’s next?

The aforementioned article closes with the the thought that one should “travel toward what excites them, not away from what scares them.” In other words, it’s all about perspective. Recognizing what’s NOT for you is just as important as what is. The journey is the fun part, and the plan is what drives the goal. This year, I am embracing the plan and not becoming overwhelmed by big tasks. I’m striving to take a step every day towards not settling, committed to staying fulfilled, motivated and present.

How do you stay motivated when finding the right work setting?

I remain,

She

Life be Life-ing

“Now I use the word happiness very loosely because happiness is not a place where you can live. It is more like a space we cross through periodically, sometimes more frequently or for longer duration than other times…”

It’s October 7th and I’m sitting on my couch debating on whether I want to cook dinner or pop something ready-made in the oven. My blog has been unfamiliar to me for awhile. Radio silence in August and September. Those are very busy times for school-based therapists. Not only is work gearing up speed, but life also be life-ing. You know what I mean. Life continues to be life- victories, upsetting moments, change of weather, change of mood, we loose daylight, changes, changes, changes. Some more drastic than others.

Fall and spring are two of my favorite seasons, in spite of being born in the summer. Fall reminds me that there’s no place like having a home to call your own. It is about getting cozy on the couch, drinking chai tea latte and baking pumpkin spice cake. It’s a season to prepare for the cold winter, because as we know, winter is coming. Fall is also about taking advantage of what’s left of the year before we usher in resolutions, new intentions, and the realization that “damn! Time flies.”

I’m in another transition time. It’s been stirring for a little while. It’s not comfortable and can be scary to think about, but it’s something I want. There’s more places for me to see in this lifetime, more to do, and the DMV area has been real. I’ve had highs of highs and lows of lows here. I got my Master’s degree, a professional license, life-long mentors, and an experience at an HBCU. I fell in love in all its glory and pain. I got my own apartment. I bought my first 2 cars (not simultaneously, yet.) I have a retirement plan. I’ve developed a love for painting and art. I’ve come to appreciate what this move meant to me, and how it has propelled me into what I consider to be an “adult.” Not only am I proving to myself that I can take care of myself financially, but I’m dedicated to working on my mental health by staying consistently in therapy. That’s my life right now.

Adulting and life-ing ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. But today I’m thankful for the support I have around me, those I love and that love me, my career, my passion and my drive. There’s nowhere to go but forward.

-She

What’s Rockin’ My World: End of the School Year

There’s no shortcut through the hard stuff. So stop running from it.

-She (October 26, 2015)

The last 5 days of school/work have been the longest days. I’m trying to be patient and focus on the paperwork+packing I have to finish as I transition out of this school. But I’m so distractible and everyone is annoying me. It’s too nice to be inside!! It’s been a tough week to say the least. But it’s looking up.

Here’s what is currently rockin’ my world:

  • Last Saturday was the 5 year anniversary of GlobeTracer. I wasn’t compelled to do the handwritten letter I usually do. I didn’t want to force anything. 5 years is a great milestone, I am thankful.
  • Burning Questions: Why do I want to fast-forward so much? I have to learn how to feel and be in uncomfortable places. It’s not fun, but I don’t gain what I have to when I’m constantly thinking about tomorrow, or the fall. Or 2017. Or when I live somewhere else…
  • I’m ready to do life with him. Being apart and seeing each other only on the weekend is starting to get to me.
  • I got a new couch! It’s mine and it’s new and it’s firm. How does one break these things in?
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Don’t look at my messy “office.”
  • About 2 weeks until Chicago! 🙂 First trip of the summer.
  • Burning Questions: What if I’m not sure what I really want? How do I know when to trust what I want is really what is right?
  • I got a retirement plan. Talk about #adulting. In 30 years, I’ll be 60 years old? How????
  • I’ve only read 2 books this year so far, but this summer I’ll do better!

Now it’s your turn!!

Tell me what’s currently rockin’ your world!! If this is your first time here, please say hello!

If you’re a long time reader- what’s something you want to keep reading about on the blog? why?

Thank you for visiting my little space,

-She