Let me share a quick story with you:
Wake up early, make lunches, take care of the dogs, get to work early, work, work, work, come home, make dinner, take care of dogs, work some more on things I brought home. This is my day, 5 days a week. I was talking about this with some other SLP friends and they all said this was pretty similar to their days as well and they were feeling burnt out. When I got home, my husband kept asking if I was ok. I kept telling him I was fine and finally asked why he kept asking me if I was ok. His response, “ I love you but you look like you got hit by a truck, you need to rest.” REST?! There is no time for REST! Is he crazy?! I sat thought about all we do as SLPs. Turns out my husband was right, but we don’t have to let that get around.
It is that busy time of year where it seems like my to do list is never ending. If we are going to be the best for our kids that means we need to be rested and ready. Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘How am I supposed to rest and relax when there are 50,000 things that need to be done for tomorrow?’ With work and home there is often little time to unwind, but we need to find time. Studies have shown that just 20 minutes can help you re-collect yourself. So here are some ideas to help you unwind and give yourself sometime to, well, yourself.
1. Unplug to Unwind
No, this is not a joke. We are plugged into the electronic world from the moment we wake up and check our email to second before we go to bed and set the alarm on our phone. Give yourself just 20 minutes of no iPhone, iPad, tablet, or computer. Sit outside if it is nice out, go for a walk, watch one of the many shows that are saved on your DVR that you ‘will get around to watching’. Just don’t touch anything that has a WiFi capability.
2. Get out
Get out and move. Walk, jog, talk the dog for a walk, go for a family walk after dinner. Just 20 minutes is all you need. Allowing your brain to be in a different environment can help relax you. Oh and if you are going for a walk with the family, no talking about work!
3. Treat Yourself
If you cannot find 20 minutes for you during your day, and I know there are some of you who have very busy households and really can’t, try treating yourself. Get that Starbucks and enjoy your tasty drink in the parking lot. Take a different route home and look at the forest preserve. Do something for YOU!
4. Plan Ahead
During the week can be crazy, so finding those few minutes can be rough. Take 5 minutes and plan something to do for yourself. Get a manicure, go Starbucks, meet some friends for lunch. Give yourself something to look forward to.
5. Leave it at Work
Now this is probably the one thing that can help the most and also be the most difficult. Leave work at work. Trust me, it is ok! The world will continue to spin, the sun will come. Do not take home those reports you need to finish. Do not log on to your IEP platform and update those goals. Do this just one day. It doesn’t have to be every day and for some of us it can’t be, there is so much to do. But give yourself one day to come home and just be at home. Yes the work will still be there tomorrow, but you will be more relaxed.