It has been a long day. A long year in fact. Many of us decide to make changes in our daily habits around this time of year. Fact is, there will always be obstacles, stressful situations, and difficult people. So why not think about better ways to handle stress?

It’s probably unrealistic to say “This year, I resolve not to let things get to me. I will no longer say anything negative about my work, co-workers, doctors, bosses or patients.” Healthcare workers aren’t saints. There’s always going to be a time when you need to let off some steam. A more realistic New Year’s resolution would be to find healthier and safer ways to rant when you need to get things off your chest.

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Here are five things you can try:

1.Handle Friends with Care.

Friends are important. Sometimes, it just feels good to get together with friends (outside of work) to blow off some steam. Just don’t do this with the same friend every time. Your friends aren’t your therapist. They may start avoiding you if you burden them with your work woes every time you get together. Your friends could also be dealing with hardships of their own and might not have the emotional energy to take on all of your issues too.

When you call a friend to rant, be sure to ask first: “I’ve had a tough day at work. Is it okay if I talk about this or are you pretty worn out right now, too?” The same approach can work well with your spouse or partner.

Journal – write it down.

Use real pen and paper—not your Facebook account—to compile a list of your daily grievances. Never vent on Social Media. Writing it all down forces you to slow down and think about what’s actually pushing your buttons. It gives you some time to breathe. You may actually find that the things you think you’re upset about are masking deeper issues. Once you identify those hidden problems, you may come up with a better plan for dealing with them. In this way, your anger is transformed. Or you may just find that things are actually not that bad after all.

Voice Your Concerns.

An alternative to writing down your rant is to make a voice recording (your phone may have an app for this). Go to a private place and say exactly what’s on your mind. You can get angry and yell or curse if that’s what you feel like. Play this recording back for yourself when you feel calmer. If it makes you angry all over again, you need some additional stress relief. If you can laugh at what an angry elf you were, you are probably going to be just fine.

Destroy Something.

Do you have some paper that needs shredding? How about some weeds that need pulling? Perhaps you want to redo your bathroom and need to remove the tiles. Any chore or activity that involves breaking, cutting or destroying objects is a great opportunity for you to let out some rage safely and productively. Say out loud or in your mind: “This is the way I feel about (insert problem at work here).” Then, take all of that angry energy and direct it toward the task at hand. But avoid destroying anything that you might regret, and avoid injury to yourself. Pain inflicted in anger will only increase your feelings of frustration.

Set a Time Limit.

Life is too short to be journeying with baggage. Make it a priority to get all the angst out of your system so you can get back to the important business of appreciating life. Rob Brezsny, author of ‘Pronoia Is the Antidote to Paranoia’, offers this advice:

“You’re invited to celebrate Unhappy Hour. It’s a ceremony that gives you a poetic license to rant and whine and howl and bitch about everything that hurts you and makes you feel bad. During this perverse grace period, there’s no need for you to be inhibited as you unleash your tortured squalls. You don’t have to tone down the extremity of your desolate clamor. Here’s the catch: It’s brief. It’s concise. It’s crisp. You dive into your darkness for no more than 60 minutes, then climb back out, free and clear.”

In a nutshell. Get it out. Keep it simple and transform it. But get it out!

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