Finding Your Place of Refuge

Note: This is a guest post from Tyler Fitzgerald, a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army, currently training at England’s Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

I love my job.  I haven’t met many people who enjoy their job as much as I do on a day-to-day basis (except for my brother Brad, of course).  Nonetheless, there are still times during the day that I need to get away. I’m sure you do too.  Whether it’s too much on your plate at a time, tough deadlines, terrible coworkers, or some specific frustration with your profession, there is bound to be sometime you need to release some steam.  Instead of ranting at your coworkers, try going to your place of refuge.

Whatever you want to call it – quiet place, place of solace, get away – make sure you have one.  Maybe it’s a certain song with the headphones on and your eyes closed.  Maybe it’s hiding in a broom cupboard and taking three deep breaths.  Maybe it’s reading your favorite selection of the Good Book.  Just make sure your refuge can be accessible almost anytime during the day, and easily reached when you need it. Consistency is key to making your refuge work, so get into a routine of going there. Your place may or may not be a physical location, but you should be somewhat isolated.

I’ll even let you in on my secret place of refuge when I’m on field exercises: in my sleeping bag zipped up all the way with my balaclava rolled up around my ears.  The crux of my refuge is that balaclava.  I pretend that when I have it on nobody can wake me up mid-slumber to give me a menial task to perform.  I immediately relax when I put on that balaclava and forget the current stresses.  And getting away from current stresses, even for a moment, is the point of your place of refuge.

The potential importance this has on your daily work routine is enormous. The main way to take advantage of your refuge is to use it as a form of escapism.  Don’t waste your refuge time worrying about your current dramas or even trying to brainstorm solutions to a problem, just go there and relax.  Even simply knowing that your place of refuge exists can relieve lots of stress.

Most importantly, as with everything else, make it fun!

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