April is right around the corner, and here where I work it is Stress Management month. I’m sharing here a blurb for our nursing newsletter that I just pulled together. Why not, right? Can’t we ALL benefit from some stress management tips? (the answer is ‘yes.’)
April – Stress Management Month
April is our “Stress Management Month,” at least from a Well-Being perspective. As we come out of the cold, dark days of winter and into the warm, sunny days of spring, many people find that they are feeling more stressed out than usual. Allow me to share with you some tips on managing stress before it gets the better of you.
Although we can’t always control stressors (situations that cause a stress response), more often than not we are able to control our interpretation of and response to the situation.
Let’s use the acronym SIR to help explain.
- S is for situation – that which causes the response.
- I stands for interpretation; what we think about the situation, the people involved, and the circumstances.
- R, perhaps the most important, stands for reaction.
Try taking a good look at each piece. How can you reframe the situation so that it becomes less stressful? Take for example a rainy day. Kids interpret and react to that situation much differently than most adults, even though the situation (rainy day) is the same for both the child and the adult.
Something else to consider when managing stress, is to challenge negative thinking. Far too often we fall into the easy trap of, “Gene is just out to get me,” or “If I can’t do it right the first time, I might as well never try.” In most cases, neither of these is true! Take a step back and rethink the event; does your office mate “always” pick terrible music? How about the nurse who you got report from? Do they “always” leave the carts under-stocked? Likely the case is that it is less than always that these things happen. Perhaps the other person is having an off day? Hug them. (just kidding! Only wanted to see if this was actually being read…)
I’ll leave you with the tip of building a strong social support system. People with strong social support systems have been shown, among other things, to have better immune function, lower cortisol levels, and recover quicker from illnesses. Social relationships can be emotional, informational, tangible, and just companionship based. Look around your sphere of influence and see who you might be able to reach out to today. Chances are both of your stress levels will go down.