We have heard it all before. If you’re feeling burnout at work, do some things to help relieve your stress. Binge a show on Netflix, get a massage, and take a long bubble bath. But, what happens when you’re a person who hates sitting still?

It’s no surprise that after 15 years in the veterinary medical field, I’m feeling a bit burnt out. I went looking for ways to not become a hard lump of charcoal and came across many of the above mentioned pieces of advice. I downloaded some guided meditation playlists, I started essential oils, I considered goat yoga. But, as I sat in a huge bathtub of bubbles contemplating my life and career choices I realized this was making me more anxious and left me feeling drained (bathtub pun!)

I realized that everyone processes stress differently and everyone relaxes differently. I’m the type of person who can’t sit still and have a few browsers open in my brain at all times. Scientific research suggests that when we stress about relaxing, we simply cannot actually zen out enough. So, for those that are like me here are a few things you can do to de-stress that do not involve spa music.

1. Exercise

Cardio, weightlifting, swimming, running (blech! I actually despise running, but I keep hearing about this elusive runners high so…). When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body.

2. Engage in a creative activity that has nothing to do with vet med

Painting, improv comedy, creating a music playlist for a few friends, even knitting. Repetitive motions (like the fine motor skills used to knit or cross-stitch) can soothe anxiety, according to avid knitter and pediatrician, Perri Klass, M.D.

3. Go green

Houseplants aren’t just beautiful air purifiers — they can actually help calm you down. One Washington State University study found that a group of stressed-out people who entered a room full of plants had a four-point drop in their blood pressure, while a comparison group who didn’t see plants dropped only two points. Going outside also helps! Simply taking a 20 minute walk in nature, park or other green space, can put your body into a state of meditation, thanks to a phenomenon known as “involuntary attention” during which something holds our attention, but simultaneously allows for reflection.

So, I’m taking my own advice. I bought about 27 houseplants and am currently writing a script for a music video. I hate exercising, but hey, it’s a work in progress.

See below for a few books and resources that may help you along your journey:

  • Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
  • A Book That Takes Its Time, by Irene Smit and‎ Astrid van der Hulst
  • Lohr, V.I., C.H. Pearson-Mims, and G.K. Goodwin. 1996. Interior plants may improve worker productivity and reduce stress in a windowless environment.  J. of Environmental Horticulture 14(2):97-100

he views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the DrAndyRoark.com editorial team.


Tasha is a Certified Veterinary Technician from Glenside, PA. She is also a certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner and works closely with the IVAPM to educate the public about animal pain awareness. Tasha loves to lecture on various anesthesia and pain management topics around the globe. In her spare time Tasha enjoys reading, spending time with her son, and trying to figure out “what kind of game is Petyr Baelish playing anyway”.