My professional aspirations consist of working in the field of international affairs*, specifically related to conflict and conflict resolution. I could go on all day about what drives me but this space isn't really for that. However, what I do want to ask is, how do you keep the peace within yourself? One of the most important parts of being a practitioner who works in high stress situations is taking care of oneself. And we're not just talking about hygiene.
I'm not going to get all preachy (my "religious beliefs" pretty much consist of simply tolerance, respect, and honesty) or touchy-feely (well maybe just a little touchy-feely) but this is a serious issue. What do you do to take care of yourself? While life would be all well and good if we could simply "leave" our jobs at the office, that's certainly not the case. Coming from a long line of people who help others handle difficult situations for a living, I'm more aware of this issue than probably the average person.
So, let's bring it back. Friends rock. Vacation is a must (who wishes we were more like the Europeans with 8 weeks a year?!). Hobbies and other activities that you love to do can help bring that peace. This is why I've been quilting/sewing/knitting so much. I'll be honest with you, this is a pretty tumultuous time in my life right now and being crafty helps me feel productive. Each day is uncertain and I've been in transition, so to speak, for what seems like forever. Making something, even if it's just for me, helps me feel like I'm moving forward. I also read, play with Louie (SO much research about the benefits of pets to stress and anxiety), and spend time goofing off with my sweetie. I need to get back into running and yoga. I'm learning about mindfulness and meditation (and so psyched to hear the Dalai Lama speak next month!). These things help me keep the peace. Without them, I might just stay hidden under the covers.
I know that this isn't some groundbreaking revelation or anything. It's pretty simple: do the things in life that make you happy. This is something that I will try to internalize so when I'm finally doing what I really want to be doing professionally, I'll already be able to manage the stress. Well, hopefully. For now, it's keeping me sane.
*For more about my background and experience in conflict resolution, check this out.