Social workers are no stranger to stress. After dealing with emotional cases all day, it can be hard to disconnect from work when returning home. Being able to deal with this effectively is the key to avoiding burnout and staying mentally healthy.

Have you found yourself in this position? Consider applying the following stress management tips for social workers the next time you feel yourself getting overwhelmed.

Find Your Own Support System

After being the support system for others all day every day, you too need to have people you can rely on. Whether that’s a therapist of your own or even just a group of friends to distract you at the end of the day, it is important to have people you can lean on. You cannot expect to continue helping others if you don’t try to also help yourself. The sooner you begin growing your own support system, the less likely you will be to become burnt out. Stress relief is often found by venting to others or distracting yourself with activities that you enjoy.

Live a Healthy Lifestyle

It can no longer be denied. Living a healthy lifestyle is tied very closely to reducing stress levels. While you may not always feel like engaging in exercise or cooking a healthy, homemade meal at the end of a long day, doing so is an effective way to combat stress. Since you know your schedule best, it would be wise to create a routine and stick to it. This can even involve meal planning so that you can ensure you are eating right even when you feel rushed. Additionally, if you know you will not be in the mood to exercise when you get home from work, consider engaging in some low-key exercises in the mornings, such as yoga.

Spend Time With Pets

As a social worker, sometimes owning a pet can give you the emotional support you’ve been needing. In most cases, your pet will gladly welcome you home and desire to brighten your day. Even after dealing with stressful circumstances, it can be comforting to know that you will come home to the unconditional love of your pet. Whether walking a dog or curling up to read a good book with your cat on your lap, the time you spend with your pets can greatly reduce stress and help you unwind after a long day. If you don’t own a pet, you may want to consider adopting one.