4 Ways to Clear Your Mind After Therapy Work
November 02, 2020
By Melissa Wirkus Hagstrom, contributor
As a therapist, you know that the work you do is extremely rewarding – even though it can be emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting the same time. Add in a global pandemic, and it’s no wonder that physical therapists, occupational therapists, respiratory therapists and speech-language pathologists are looking for ways to clear their minds and unwind after therapy work.
During this unsettling time, taking good care of yourself is more important than ever. Not only do you need to maintain your own physical and mental health, but you also want to be the best possible therapist for your patients.
Here, we take a look at some proven strategies to help to relax and unwind after a long work day.
The top four ways to clear your mind after therapy work:
1. Move your body
Exercise is an integral part of maintaining your mental health, and just moving your body for a few minutes after work as part of your unwinding routine can have noticeable benefits. In fact, a study published in The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found the benefits to exercise include: improved sleep; stress relief; improvement in mood; increased energy and stamina; reduced tiredness that can increase mental alertness; and reduced cholesterol and improved cardiovascular fitness.
Exercise is key to clearing your mind, and is essential for both mental and physical health. The American Hospital Association (AHA) advises that healthy adults should clock in 40 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity three to four times per week. If going to a gym during the pandemic isn’t your thing, there are plenty of options for getting a workout outside or right inside your home.
2. Meditation and mindfulness
Once you’ve checked movement off of your post-shift routine, you can begin to settle in and look inward. Take a few minutes to prepare for your meditation by taking deep breaths and calming the mind and body. If you enjoy a guided practice, there are a variety of apps and playlists that have guided meditation and mindfulness modules.
Headspace, Calm and Breethe are a few of the more popular apps that offer both free and subscription-based meditations. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Care notes that a number of studies on meditation for different conditions have found evidence that it may reduce blood pressure, ease symptoms of anxiety and depression, help with insomnia, and even help with gastrointestinal problems.
3. Make time for you
Self-care may be a trendy topic right now, but its importance cannot be overstated. Whether it’s drawing yourself a nice warm bath or carving out time to do what you love after work--whether that be gardening, reading, cooking or dabbling in a new hobby--make sure you make time to care for YOU!
Take some time to make a self-care wish list, filled with things that you can do to clear your mind and take care of yourself.
4. Maximize your connections
If you’ve felt lonely or isolated during this time, you are not the only one. Taking some time to reach out to a family member, friend or colleague can help you to clear your mind and feel more connected. There are so many ways that technology has made it convenient for us to connect, even when we can’t be together.
Send a text message and get a conversation going, FaceTime your old college roommate who always makes you smile, send a funny video to your nieces and nephews or plan a Zoom session with your old neighbors. Whatever methods you choose, connecting with others is a great way to get a clear mind and get the support you need during this time.
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