Self-Care and Managing Stress

Self Care and Managing Stress Part 1 Transcript

Introduction

[This module, How to Help Provide Self-Care and Stress Management, is presented by Thrive New York City in association with the Center for Practice Innovations. ]

New York City is one of the greatest places in the world to live... but we also know it is one of the most stressful. And stress can really damage people's lives. While stress is a common experience, there is a lot of fear and shame about asking for help. This training module will give you guidance on how to help people in your community to better manage their stress and improve their well-being. It will teach you how to:

  • Define stress
  • Identify the sources of stress
  • Recognize the signs of stress
  • Determine which stress signs indicate something serious
  • And show you how to engage with community members
  • Teach you about stress management techniques and their benefits
  • And finally, it will show you when and how to connect people to mental health providers or support networks

All of us can benefit by managing stress to enhance our well-being. Let's start by learning about the three different types of stress.


Definition of Stress

Stress can be defined as a mental, emotional, physical and sometimes spiritual response to demanding circumstances. Please click each button to learn more about these types of stress.
Basic Stress is common. Stress in small doses can actually be good for us. Basic stress is part of our daily lives and can be thrilling and exciting in small doses, but too much can be exhausting. Most of us have so many daily challenges, that stress can accumulate until it is no longer healthy.

Cumulative Cumulative stress is a common experience for many of us coping with ongoing stress factors. This is defined as stress that is experienced frequently or for an extended period of time. It is repetitive and everlasting stress, and is common for people that are in chronically stressful situations. It's the stress of poverty, a chronically sick child, family obligations, being trapped in an unhappy or violent relationship or in a despised job or career (to name some examples). Cumulative stress can have serious effects if not managed properly with rest, relaxation, and time out from stress factors.

Traumatic Traumatic stress is a response to extreme and/or life threatening events which overwhelm a person's ability to cope. Exposure can be brief in duration (such as a car accident) or involve prolonged repeated exposure (such as sexual abuse). Traumatic stress can have dangerous consequences if symptoms are not recognized and treated. Stress can have subtle and serious consequences. And while stress is a common experience, fear, shame, and stigma can prevent people from reaching out to ask for help. It is not always easy to recognize when stress puts a person at risk. Let's take a closer look at sources and signs of stress.


Introducing Dianne

Well it's a lot going on. My name is Dianne and I've been in school. I'm a doctoral student so I've been working on that trying to finish before the deadline is up. During the midst of my studies my Dad became sick and subsequently died. There were a lot of challenges in terms of continuing with school, working a full time job, being his primary caregiver, dealing with all the sibling dynamics. Knowing ...

Trying to help my sister wherever I could with her daughter.

Dianne is experiencing a few of the common sources of stress. There are many different sources of stress - some are obvious but some aren't. They generally fall into 5 categories.. Health and Health Care...

Economic Stability... Education.... Social Context... And your Neighborhood. These are known as stressors and they affect everyone to some degree.

Young man: The sort of things that stress me out are work, money.

Couple: Woman - I'd say crowds make me stressed. Man - And she will stress me...sometimes.

Young woman: Physically? Oh my gosh, Insomnia.

Older man: I definitely feel flushed and frustrated, aggravated to the point where it tenses you up.

Couple: Man – It can be like "urgh" feeling really bad inside of me. Woman: I get angry and cranky when I'm stressed, yep.

Question: Is that normal?

Young woman: I think it shouldn't be but in this day and age it is, sadly enough.

She's right. These are all common experiences of stress. But sometimes they're combined with other symptoms that indicate something more serious is going on. It is not always easy to recognize when stress puts a person at risk. Let's take a moment to learn how to distinguish between the common signs of stress, and the more serious signs.


Recognizing Signs of Stress

By recognizing signs of stress, you can help yourself and others become more aware of the factors that cause stress. Can you recognize the signs of stress? Here are some of the signs of stress you may encounter in community members... some visible, some not so visible.


Introducing Chandra

Do you have a paper towel or napkin around?

Dianne and her sister Chandra are good examples of the different ways in which stress can affect people. For Dianne the recent problems have only had a minor impact.

Dianne: She's not really talking about this major situation.*

When things were most intense l would get headaches. I do have a history of migraines and so that would really trigger it and I would find myself needing to get more sleep. I could go to sleep but I might wake up with lots of things on my mind.

What Dianne is experiencing are typical signs of stress. But other people might have a different experience of stress, even in the same situation.

Chandra: Some of the kids get so stressed out. I get stressed out.

Dianne's sister Chandra has been living with some of the same sources of stress - as well as a daughter with Asperger's Syndrome - but for her the symptoms have been different.

Chandra: Migraines. Popping in the back of my head, with ringing tones in my ears. I would have anxiety a lot of times, I couldn't sleep. I've also have developed high blood pressure from being stressed out, also my sciatica, my back problems it just started ... The stress just started to take a toll on my whole body.

Chandra is showing signs of suffering serious stress, which may need attention. Before we go any further, let's think about how to spot these signs among people we know.


Signs in Your Community

Developing an awareness of the signs of stress is an important step in caring for the people in your community. Have your community members experienced any of these signs of stress? Please select all that apply. Then click Submit.

Response These are all common signs of stress that may be experienced by members of your community.


Knowledge Check 1

Below are three types of stress. Drag each definition on the right to its matching type on the left, then click Submit.

Correct You selected the correct response. Remember, people experience stress differently. It is not always easy to recognize when stress puts a person at risk. Identifying types of stress can help you feel more prepared to support community members who are struggling with challenging circumstances.

Not Correct Sorry, you did not select the correct response. Remember, people experience stress differently. It is not always easy to recognize when stress puts a person at risk. Identifying types of stress can help you feel more prepared to support community members who are struggling with challenging circumstances.


Knowledge Check 2

People experiencing stress will ALWAYS show visible signs. Please select true or false, then click Submit.

Correct That's right! You selected the correct response. People experience types of stress differently, and react differently to stress. Effects may be visible such as weight loss or gain, but can also be less visible mental, emotional, and spiritual effects.

Not Correct Sorry, you did not select the correct response. The answer is false. People experience types of stress differently, and react differently to stress. Effects may be visible such as weight loss or gain, but can also be less visible mental, emotional, and spiritual effects.


Section Conclusion

Stress is a common experience. It is important for all of us to recognize signs of stress, and practice self-care strategies to address stress. In this section, we looked at the definition of stress, sources of stress, typical signs of stress, and signs of stress that signal something serious. In the next section, we will look at how to engage community members in conversations about stress and offer self-care and stress management techniques.


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