Mental Health in the Lab
My work in the research lab lately has been centered around our adjudication in Central Illinois presentation. After narrowing down arrest records to find cases which could have been human trafficking but were charged as a lesser statute, I am now looking into each individual case, trying to find information to determine if it could be a case of human trafficking. Though I believe this work is extremely important, that is not to say that it is easy. In fact, the mental toll it takes to look into these crimes (which are most often sex crimes against children) can be quite severe. No matter your job, it is always important to take care of your mental health, but that is especially true in this line of work. Though this project could very easily overwhelm me, I have found a few tricks to keep my sanity. First, I put on a show or background music while I am working so if I need a break, even for just a moment, I have something else to focus on. Though usually my background shows include things like Criminal Minds, I’ve found lighthearted TV is the way to go for this project. I have also found that working while my cats sit next to me to be helpful! My emotional support cat is able to tell very well when I am feeling overwhelmed, and I listen to her cues and mine and give myself a break when needed. Finally, I always ensure that once I have finished my work, I have something planned to do after like hanging out with friends to help clear my mind. It is essential that I am able to separate my work life from the rest of my life, and doing this helps make that separation. Though there are other ways I try to ensure I don’t damage my mental health throughout this project, these are the main tools I use.