By Staci Jackson, M.A., CCC-SLP
Most speech-language pathologists enter the field because of a strong desire to help
people communicate, and most find the profession very rewarding. As with any job,
there are inherent stressors. Even with the best of planning, meetings run long; you
receive an unexpected call from a parent or caregiver; there is a change in a daily
schedule; or a colleague needs your assistance. All of these can throw a monkey wrench
in your day. Along with the rush to complete all of your routine daily tasks, these
unexpected time-eaters can create a great deal of stress. Fortunately, there are some
great stress-reducing tips that you can start doing today!
- Eat breakfast – Starting the day with a wholesome breakfast, especially one high
in protein, jumpstarts the energy production needed for the day. Recent studies
show that people who eat breakfast have better concentration than those who do
not. Eating a healthy breakfast also helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases like
obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
- Prioritize your day…but allow some flexibility – Speech-language pathologists
usually have set schedules, but there are always daily activities needing your
attention and scheduling hiccups that you cannot foresee. Prioritizing tasks
not only helps get things done efficiently, but also reduces stress by giving you
some control and predictability over where and how you will spend your time.
Keeping a somewhat flexible schedule helps minimize stress when those inevitable
unforeseen hiccups occur.
- Stretch your body – Doing yoga at your desk can help you destress. Studies reveal
that performing a few simple yoga stretches calm the mind and release tension.
Yoga has other benefits, too, including boosting the immune system and helping
fight food cravings.
- Sip tea – Try drinking herbal teas instead of coffee. Green tea contains theanine
which promotes relaxation and may also counteract the effects of its caffeine.
Avoiding other highly caffeinated drinks can also help reduce stress.
- Breathe deeply – Abdominal breathing has been proven to reduce anxiety and
stress. Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to the brain and promotes a
state of calmness, lowers heart rate and blood pressure, and relaxes tense muscles.
- Experiment with aromatherapy – Exposure to
essential oils not only reduces anxiety and stress,
but research has shown them to have many healing
properties. Try putting a drop or two of lavender,
chamomile, or bergamot on your wrists or use them
in a diffuser.
- Take a walk – Walking releases stress-reducing
endorphins and lowers the stress-inducing hormone,
cortisol. Walking also increases energy, quiets the
mind, and improves memory. Taking a quick, brisk lap outside is a great way to
combat stress during the workday.
- Laugh – It’s no joke! Studies show that laughter activates and relieves stress
responses, relaxes tense muscles, and increases release of stress-busting
endorphins. Try improving your mood by reading the comics, keeping a funny daily
calendar at your desk, or watching funny video clips online.
It important to find ways combat stress before it becomes problematic. Taking
time out of a busy day to destress can not only improve job satisfaction, but it can
also improve your job performance and overall health!