Stress Management Virtual Seminar
Mar 28, 2022
Taking care of your health should be on everyone’s list of priorities, especially when you are in the middle of a global pandemic. Regular hand washing and disinfection, social distancing, and masks have been the most common and effective ways that we are able to battle its spread. However, as good as the benefits are, the stress of the possibility of infection, lethargy due to days that are monotonous, and the continued isolation continues to take its toll on our mental health. And it’s no secret that once stress becomes a part of your day to day life, it can have severe, and sometimes deadly effects to your physical health and quality of life.
That’s why, at ISI, we believe in being armed with the proper knowledge and strategies in facing all these stressors. Last, Mar 14, 2022ISI invited Dr. Arfilson Omar Tansio to conduct a virtual seminar about Stress Management so everyone can learn about stress, what it means to have good and bad stress, and the many ways that we can face it in a healthier way. The seminar was attended by employees of ISI both from those working at the office and those working at home.
It has been more than two years now since the onset of the pandemic, and we’ve truly come a long way. Dr. Tansio has pointed out that the Philippines is currently the 25th in the world when it comes to total infected cases, but we are now down to less than a hundred infections for our daily average. And for most people, the past two years have been spent working at home. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that working from home is stressful, it does have some issues such as a messy workplace, the home and work overlapping, and possible issues with posture and body pains.
Still, there is no perfect system to work under and that the secret to facing these issues is to respond to them rather than reacting, meaning, you should take the time to think first, consider the situation, evaluate your options, and then you make a decision on what to do.
As Dr. Tansio puts it, the best way is to just ASK. Assess. “S”. Kumunsulta.
First, Asses. Ask yourself, what is the source of the stress? What makes you feel the way you do, and what steps can you take to lessen the burden? Properly assessing the situation makes it easier for you to deal with it and find its source. Depending on the source of the stressor, different strategies can be applied to lessen their effects and come out the other end better.
Secondly, the “S” or according to Dr. Tansio, the Philippines’ Department of Health’s Isandosenang “S” Iwas Stress Campaign in order to help people combat the burnout brought about by stress.
These twelve steps include:
Spirituality - means that whatever you believe in, as long as you are not stepping on any one else's shoes, you should turn to your faith to find guidance and peace.
Scheduling - setting the right time and place for every activity, both for work and play, ensuring a healthy distance from each other.
Speak to Me - this often pertains to when you have disagreements, or issues with someone, always try to have an amicable discussion and address the issues rather than bottling them up.
Siesta - take a nap! Taking a power nap and giving your body time to rest is a great way to recharge your energy.
Self Awareness - try to be as introspective as possible, try to identify your strengths and weaknesses and find ways to improve. It can also mean that whenever you are stressed, you should remove yourself from that stressful situation and be aware of what’s causing them.
Sports - It is a known fact that sports improves your mood, health, and overall mental state. Try to find the time to get some physical activity and don’t allow yourself to get sedentary.
Sensation Techniques - Taking yourself out for a massage is another option to relax and destress, but still be careful as we are still in a pandemic and health standards should still be observed.
Socials - in this time of social isolation, it is essential that we keep our communication lines open and that we keep in touch with the people that matter to us. Try to call your family, your friends, and even chatting with your co-workers can help lighten your mood.
Sounds and Songs - for some people, listening to the right music can help in changing your mood and distress immensely. Depending on your connections and memories associated with a song, the right playlist is the difference between a good versus a bad day.
Smile - try to focus on the positive and smile. There have been studies saying that just the physical act of smiling has an effect on your overall mood!
Stress Reduction and Relaxation Exercise - this can be yoga, going to the gym, or as mentioned before, doing sports. Try to make the time and go outside and move!
Stress Debriefing - for more serious cases, or when the stress is too much and is already affecting your quality of life, stress debriefing programs are available and should be used.
You can choose one, two, or maybe even all of these techniques! The important thing is that we should take care of ourselves and always try to respond to our situations and find solutions rather than excuses.
Still, Dr. Tansio made clear that sometimes, these techniques will not be enough and that the stress can get difficult and overwhelming. That’s when you should do the third item, Kumunsulta. Talk with professionals. Talk to your doctor, your company nurse, the Human Resource officer, try to find someone who is professionally trained to listen to you and offer some help. Getting counseling and allowing yourself some room to breathe and talk about your problems and stressors can have amazing results and can be life altering, the biggest step being that you get help in the first place.
Luckily, our very own Department of Health has opened up Regional Help Lines to be available to the public in its program Lusog Isip to combat the effects of Quarantine and Isolation to our Mental Health. These are services that are open to the public, and are free for everyone, just download the app. Even in isolation, there are modern ways to get the medical help that you need.
In these difficult times, we as a society should have genuine kindness and compassion for each and every one. As what Dr. Tansio said before, rather than reacting we should respond, we have to try to be better than we were yesterday. And if things are just too much, just ask for help from your medical professionals. There are a lot of people who are willing to help if you just ask. This is one of the biggest focuses from the seminar today.
Dr. Tansio also discussed the “Shopping Cart Theory'', a theory that posits that if faced with an empty shopping cart, without any outside influence, emergency, consequence, or reward, will you return it to its rightful place? The theory asks whether you are capable of self governance, or disciplined enough to do the right thing. This is a great thought experiment to ponder for yourself! Would you return the shopping cart? Will you be able to follow the right thing just by yourself?
The seminar ended with an exchange of questions between participants and Doctor Tansio. Of course, some questions might be a bit sensitive so the Doctor opened the floor for questions, some may contact him directly for a private discussion, or ask a question anonymously.
The discussions included the possibility of partnering with the Department of Health for the purposes of creating groups or counseling assistance for employees, minimum health standards not being followed and policies not being implemented, the stressful effects of social media and how taking a break and refocusing on more important things can have very positive effects, and finding it in yourself to try to the right thing.
Finally, it’s time for the last words from the Doctor, and he kept it short but very concise. It’s ok to not be ok and at the day, just ASK.
Overall, the event was a great success, everyone learned something new, gained insights and contemporary strategies on how to face the vicissitudes brought on by the pandemic, and the thought that help and a less stressful day, is just an ask away.