Occupational therapists help individuals in all life stages by playing a vital role in the outcome of their care and recovery. Through occupational engagement, these healthcare professionals promote the health and wellness of those who are affected by injury, illness, or disease.

Like many healthcare careers, an occupational therapist can at times find themselves in a fast-paced and changeable environment. The same applies to those who hold positions as travel therapists. An Occupational Therapist (OT) who is a traveler can experience the same high demands as those who are working in a permanent setting, but may not have a local emotional support structure to help them weather the storm.
If you or a loved one is a traveling OT, then you know firsthand how important it is to take time for yourself to de-stress during those difficult days that keep you on the run. As April is National Occupational Therapy Month, make it a point to sit-back, relax, and spend a little extra time focusing on yourself. Here are a few simple techniques that can help you de-stress.
• Take Time For Yourself: Whether it’s working out, reading, or a hot bath that makes you smile, take a moment to indulge in that activity. Block out a time frame that best accommodates your schedule and make it a goal to use that time for yourself. Even if it’s just once a week, it can still help relieve some of the pressure that may coincide with a heavy work load.
• Be Sure to Smile: You’ve heard the saying “it takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown.” While that may or may not be true, studies do show that simply smiling while in a tough situation can help you to feel better and boost your mood. If you’re still not convinced, then check out these interesting facts about smiling fromPickTheBrain.com!
• Balance Work and Home: Keeping a steady flow of balance between job related tasks and that to-do list at home can also help ease some of the stress. Try to avoid bringing your work home with you. If you attempt to accomplish too many things in one day, you can actually end up adding another layer of unneeded stress. Be sure to re-focus and spend valuable time with loved ones. A simple conversation with a familiar voice can always help to de-stress.
• Nourish Your Body: Believe it or not, a healthy and nutritional diet can play a big part in helping to relieve stress. Eating the wrong foods can make you feel drowsy, down, and possibly increase anxiety. Nutritionist Dr. Rovenia Brock has a short list of some stress-reducing foods that you may want to consider for your diet. Another important way to nourish your body is to stay active by working out. Physical exertion can be an excellent way to release any tension and stress in your life, not too mention it’s wonderful for your body!
• Take a Break: It’s not uncommon for any job to become overwhelming at times, so don’t feel discouraged if it happens. The important thing to do is give yourself a little time and distance. A short step back can help you collect your thoughts and emotions and allow you to better perform the task at hand.
Take advantage of these ways to help relieve stress and find those that work best for you. Incorporate these methods and any others that you may practice into your daily routine to keep you balanced, mentally and physically. Enjoy National Occupational Therapy month while you’re traveling with a little “me” time and get more out of every day!