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Embrace my Stress. What?


You may remember a movie called the “Perfect Storm.”  Based on a true story, it shows a fishing vessel, in 1991, hit by three different storms on Halloween day.  Right now, we are living through our own Perfect Storm. We are dealing with multiple storm fronts that include: academic, family, social, health, financial, just to name a few.  Although we may all have different storms and different stories to tell the common denominator is that we are all stressed.

Bottom line: Let’s Embrace our stress.  Here’s how and why.

Don’t ignore stress instead: Recognize it, Acknowledge it, Accept it, even Embrace it.  Imagine stress is a wound that you need to manage every day. Not caring for it, (i.e. not cleaning it out every day) can lead to infection and inflammation.  Stress is also a wound.  To ignore it is to allow it to fester, grow, and infect your health and that of the community in which you dwell.

Recognize it:  The presence of these physical and emotional symptoms indicate the presence of stress.

  • Physical:  Are the muscles in your shoulders tight and painful, are you clenching your jaw; experiencing more headaches than usual; more acne breakouts, poor digestion, or decreased sex drive.
  • Emotional: Are you getting angry, impatient, or frustrated faster than usual? Does this describe your emotional state most of the day? Are you feeling depressed, low energy, helpless, hopeless, apathetic or having mood swings most of the day or almost every day?

Acknowledge your stress. Stress is a normal reaction and considering the current state of the world, it is to be expected.  Let’s acknowledge, out loud to the universe and anyone in the room with us that we are stressed.  Just saying the words will help to release some of the pent up emotional and physical tension.

Say it out loud: “I am stressed” / “I really feel stressed right now.” Say it as many times as needed.

Accept it: This is an important step because if you don’t accept it, it means that you are fighting against stress and/or you are not giving yourself the level of care that you need.

Say it out loud:  “It’s normal to be stressed right now.” / “I may be stressed but I’m going to be okay.” / “Being stressed doesn’t mean I’m weak it means I’m human.”

Embrace it:  We are embracing stress and we are embracing ourselves. Here is where we take back our power and work on healing.  We are going to care for our stressed self and give our stressed self what we need:  a word of encouragement, a nap, hydration, a good stretch, a laugh, hot chocolate, more vegetables, DIY hand or foot massage, a break from the news, Skyeing coffee with your best friend and the list could go on.

Say it out loud: “I’m going to take care of my stressed self.  I want ____”

Only you can fill in the blank of what you want. Make it something that makes you a little happier and a little healthier.

Additional Fun Resources: Heading link

  • Top 20 podcast links: (Here’s a link that has over 20 “best” podcasts for students to listen to manage stress).
  • Best Stress Apps: (These apps have been named top 20 best for stress management in multiple blog resources-Wellness Center approved).
    • Headspace
      • “What’s great about the app is that it begins with a free, 10-day program that gets you started on mindfulness meditation in only 10 minutes a day so you can get a good idea of how the app works. Paid subscriptions (which start at $12.95 a month and range up to $419.95 for a forever subscription) give you access to a wide range of programs from daily exercises to targeted approaches that can help you bring mindfulness and relaxation into every part of your life.”
    • Pacifica
      • “Pacifica is based on cognitive behavioral therapy and meditation, and has some great benefits, like tracking your mood and your health, daily goals, and a thought diary. Pacifica is great for both stress and anxiety.”
    • Calm
      • “It should come as no surprise that Calm is designed to help you be calm. With stunning backgrounds that you can stare at for ages, and a range of meditations, Calm provides a space for you to get away from it all, without having to go anywhere.”

Stress Videos Heading link

Wellness Center: Stress Videos and Resources

UIC & Government Resources (PDF's) Heading link

Take a look at the following PDF’s for Stress management resources for COVID-19.

CDC: Stress and Coping Resource

WHO: Coping with stress during the 2019-nCoV

WHO: Helping children cope with stress during COVID-19

UIC Public Health: Coping With Stress During Infectious Disease