Stressed Out? Express Yourself!

7 10 2012

Sometimes life in the Navy can be stressful, and unfortunately your loved ones at home can experience the brunt of it accidentally. I’ve been guilty of this a couple of times and I never intentionally mean to do it. I don’t yell and scream, but my loved ones can tell if I’m in a bad mood through my use of sarcasm, or lack of motivation to help out. I have to admit that growing up as a kid I would bottle my emotions up and never express them to anyone, and over time I feel that it’s best for me to learn how to let go.
When I talk about letting go and expressing my emotions, that doesn’t mean to become animated with your co-workers, or to fall into the mindset of where “I just don’t care.” What I’m referring to is that we need to separate work-related drama from our lives at home. Your home should be considered the safe haven, the place you go to wind down and relax. If you’re having a bad day, the best listeners tend to be the loved ones in your life. I’m thankful for my wife, because she’s there to listen to my gripes and complaints, no matter how ridiculous they can be, and it doesn’t stop there. I have my parents, who have been there through thick and thin, and always can find a way to cheer me up. My son, who I love dearly, is probably the best listener of all. This is due to the fact that he doesn’t understand a word that I’m saying and pretty much has to listen because he can’t crawl, or walk away just yet. Last, but definitely not least, is our dog. He’ll listen as long as you give him a pet or the occasional scratch behind the ears.
So if I’m having a rough day on the job and we’re out to sea, who am I supposed to turn to if I need to vent for a minute? On our ship we have a few points of contact that can help. First and foremost, I have an outstanding mentor. He can be vulgar, and if you’re out of line he’ll be the first to let you know, but if I need someone to talk to, he’s there. Your mentor’s sole purpose is to be your guide to success. An understanding of what the role of the mentor and the mentored are agreed upon and a working partnership is formed. Since I’m on a destroyer, otherwise known as a “small-boy,” we typically do not have a Chaplain stationed onboard. Our last deployment we had one, and she was a breath of fresh air. Not only could she engage in a conversation and act as an active listener, she would go out of her way to boost morale and hand out pieces of candy. To some this may sound childish, but I appreciated it.
The point of this article is that there are people out there who will listen to what you have to say. No matter how big or small the problem is, it’s best to get those emotions and feelings out so you don’t hurt yourself or your loved ones in the long run. Try your best to separate the stress you encounter at work from your home life, and if you feel that it’s starting to get to the boiling point, get some help before it’s too late. I would recommend reading about stress management, and educate yourself on how to cope with it. I can’t stress this enough… no pun intended.

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Larry D. Bernstein | Freelance Writer, Blogger, Educator

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