Stress Management and Creative Relaxation
Russell A. Sabella, Ph.D.email@example.com Dealing with stress can be a daily challenge given the large number andvariety of stressors that school counselors face each day. Professional and personalstress, in moderate amounts (eustress), can help us to focus and excel in our duties. Too little stress in our lives, sometimes a sign of apathy or even depression, isusually evidenced by disinterest, flat affect, low energy, or perhaps even socialisolation. On the other hand, too much stress in our lives (distress) can causevarious negative outcomes to say the least. For instance, common reactions todistress include increase in anxiety, fear, sorrow or loss; resistance; isolation;violence; exhaustion; and overall diminished effectiveness or burnout. The trick is tomaintain a healthy level of moderate stress, just enough to keep the “pep in yourstep.”
How do you know when you are stressed?
A common response to this question typically includes examples includingovert, physical or behavioral symptoms such as “biting my nails,” “eating/sleepingdifferently,” “headaches,” “nausea,” and “restlessness.” A deeper look at theanswer to this question will help you to identify other reactions to stress such as“being highly irritable,” “being short with others,” and “not caring anymore.” Beforetaking a serious look at this question, you may not have even recognized these asstress reactions but perhaps explained them away as “personality flaws” or being“part of the job.” In fact, I believe that school counselors have are highly adaptablepeople and may have inadvertently incorporated such negative stress reactions intotheir lives as simply being normal or “par for the course.” Herein lies theimportance of this question, “ How do you know when you are stressed?” Beingaware of stress symptoms can serve as a trigger for you to move into actiontowards creative relaxation. Rather than adapting or reacting to the stress anddebilitating thoughts, behaviors, or attitudes, stress symptoms should signal you toremove or replace the stress with relaxation. Understand that the symptoms of distress can creep into many areas of your life beyond the physical – emotional,spiritual, academic, career, personal, and social to name a few.
What Are Your Stressors?
Stressors are simply stimuli that cause stress – triggers or antecedents tostress reactions, if you will. By identifying what causes stress in your life, you aremore apt to avoid or prevent them from occurring. Stressors can take various formssuch as:$Internal stressors which may include drinking large amounts of caffeine,subscribing to highly irrational beliefs, or eating poorly.$Time stressors which includes work overload or taking responsibility for taskswhich you are not equipped to handle or have adequate time to successfullycomplete.