Today's session on the resiliency roadmap is part 2 of stress awareness. In our last session, we reflected on our personal signs of stress-physical, emotional, thoughts, and actions. Today, my goal is to encourage you to identify what types of situations or aspects of those situations are likely to be most difficult for you. If we prepare ahead of time for what is likely to cause us the most stress in challenging situations, we can build our toolbox accordingly.
In the resiliency training we are doing with staff at Mayo Clinic Arizona, we are focused on the Mayo Clinic response and planning for COVID-19 cases. That planning means a number of changes we MAY face--reminders of infection control procedures, using personal protection equipment, perhaps being separated from typical colleagues, feeling our roles in the system are not as clear, having less rest time as our shifts change, and on and on. We may not all find all of these aspects of the situation. For example, I may have no stress related to using personal protection equipment, but I may find having less rest time and changes to my sleep quality very stressful. This is a situation-specific list, but this got me thinking--there are probably general aspects of many challenges, no matter what they are, that we could consider in this more broadly applied no matter what the situation.
For example, separation from family and friends (or disconnection from them) can be an aspect of many different challenges individuals can face. Whether you are dealing with social distancing due to COVID-19, limited social contact due to another illness (e.g., cancer treatment, transplant) or finding the ways you interact with others have to change because of physical changes (hearing impairment, cognitive changes), changes to social connection can be a challenge for many.
Because I'm trying to create this as a broader topic, less specific to a certain situation, you'll have to think a bit more abstractly, but I'm hoping you can spend some time discussing with loved ones and in personal reflection thinking about what parts of stressful situations are most difficult. In an attempt to start you off, I've created the worksheet below regarding aspects of stressful situations that MAY be challenging. See if any of these resonate for you, or add you own! I'd be happy to have you add them to the comments today. For example, for me, I find a loss of control to be stressful, and the thing that can really get my body's stress response going. Another challenge for me is loss of sleep. Because I know these things about myself, I have some tools in my toolbox when the situation I'm facing (whatever the situation) has these two features prominently. Developing those tools for you will be the next steps in our journey together!
Chime in with your own thoughts and please join me again on Monday where we'll start developing your list of specific stress management tools--First the positive techniques that you already know work for you and then Wednesday of next week I'll recommend a few specific relaxation/stress reducing techniques with some resources to have you try them.