Strictly Stress: Effective Stress Management

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Tina Rae

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    How to Use the CD-ROM

    The CD-ROM contains PDF files, labelled ‘Worksheets.pdf"’ which contain worksheets for each lesson in this resource. You will need Acrobat Reader version 3 or higher to view and print these resources.

    The documents are set up to print to A4 but you can enlarge them to A3 by increasing the output percentage at the point of printing using the page set-up settings for your printer.

    Alternatively, you can photocopy the worksheets directly from this book.

  • Course Review

    • Brainstorm – What do we know about stress and how to manage our stressors?
    • Reflect and Review
    • Evaluate – Questionnaire
    • Strictly Stress Action Plan
    • Certificate of Completion
    Group Session 1 Hour – 1 Hour 30 Minutes

    Brainstorm – What Do We Know about Stress and How to Manage Our Stressors?

    This activity aims to review and reinforce the knowledge and skills that students have gained from the Course as a whole. It is suggested that students initially work as a pair/as part of a small group in order to identify facts and coping strategies prior to sharing and comparing ideas with the whole group. It would be helpful if the course tutor(s) recorded all responses onto a flip chart/enlarged brainstorming sheet as this would not only reinforce the work done to date but also provide a visual record of achievement – gaining such knowledge and skills is certainly something to be celebrated/students responses have previously included the following:

    • stress is different for every individual
    • changes cause stress
    • some stress can be managed while other stressors can be eliminated
    • we can help each other cope by talking and giving emotional support
    • being healthy can reduce stress
    • acting aggressively can increase stress levels and make a stressful situation worse
    • being organised helps to reduce stress
    • solving problems using step by step strategies can help
    • stress is when you can't cope and feel insecure
    • you can get physical symptoms when you are stressed
    • not having enough money makes you stressed
    • too much work causes stress
    • being bullied is a stress for most people in schools
    • exams cause stress but you can plan ahead and organise yourself a bit more
    • family fights cause stress
    • if someone dies or leaves you then you'll experience stress – this would be the same for most people
    • learning to relax can help to reduce stress
    • talking and showing how you feel can help you to solve stress related problems
    • not keeping a balance between ‘work’ and ‘play’ can make you feel stressed
    • being unfit can cause more stress and doing exercise can help you to cope better.
    Reflect and Review

    This activity is designed to allow each student to review his/her progress in terms of meeting their original targets. Students will need to have access to their files for completed work in order to look at their Stress Target Sheets and Contract to Change from Session 1. This will enable them to evaluate their success in making changes and in developing new coping strategies. It will be useful to highlight the most effective strategies and for students to consider what they might do differently in the future – particularly if success has been limited. It is important, however, that this activity remains solution focused i.e., focuses on the best way forward rather than dwelling on any past failures. Even if some students are unable to identify major successes, they will be able to identify how they have increased their knowledge of stress, it's causes and methods of coping or managing their stressors. Knowing about something is clearly not the equivalent of being able to do it /use it, but it is certainly a step in the right direction! The final activity on the worksheet requires students to also measure their progress by once again completing the Individual Stress Profile from Session 1. It is important that students do not look at their completed forms from Session 1, but complete the form again prior to then completing both attempts. It is hoped that students will score higher on this second attempt, having increased their knowledge, skills and support structures. However, it may be necessary for the course tutor(s) to provide additional 1:1 support and advice if some individuals continue to experience unhealthy levels of stress which they cannot manage effectively. There will of course be times in all our lives when circumstances change dramatically and when we feel that we have lost control of a situation. Suffering from such a change is not a failure in itself. Being able to recognise, analyse and then plan the way forward within a healthy support structure is the real measure of our success. Denying the existence of the stressor is perhaps the greatest failure.

    Evaluate – Questionnaire

    This final questionnaire is perhaps one of the most important activities of this kind in the Course as a whole as it allows for both students and the Course Facilitator(s) to evaluate the content, delivery and outcomes of the sessions. In part 1, the students rate themselves, on a scale of 1–10, for meeting the basic objectives of the course and for developing a range of self-help strategies for effective Stress Management. Part 2 of the questionnaire asks students to rate the resources and delivery strategies for how useful they have been, alongside identifying ways in which they would improve the course. This should provide useful feedback to the course tutor(s) and inform the planning of future courses, highlighting the need to modify /adjust the content, resources or style of delivery.

    Strictly Stress Action Plan

    It is important that students are encouraged to continue to develop the skills they have learnt and to continually reflect upon their progress in terms of coping with stress. This will be the real measure of any success – that the students continue to evaluate and reflect and are able to manage both existing and future stressors effectively.

    The Action Plan requires students to identify 3 main areas that they would like to work on/change and the strategies that they will use in order to affect such change. It is vital that they set a review date and identify a significant adult in the school context with whom they can review their progress. Access to a Mentor/some form of mentoring may well be necessary for some of the students targeted via the Strictly Stress Course. Clearly, these students will need to be identified by the course tutor(s) at this stage and the necessary support structures put into place (with the agreement of students and parents). What is vital is that all students do not see this session simply as the end of the course but rather as the beginning of a new way of thinking about the process of change and self-management. Stress can be managed and students need to see themselves as agents of change who can take control of their own situations. The course tutor(s) should reinforce these points with students at this point.

    Certificate of Completion

    This certificate could be photocopied onto card and presented to students by the course tutor(s) at the end of the session. It is essential that all students feel included in this celebration and are made aware that their efforts and achievements are valued. It may be helpful to allocate some extra time in order to make this a ‘special’ occasion, providing refreshments/musicians as appropriate. Everyone should be praised for their achievements and encouraged to continue to support each other in further developing their stress management skills and strategies in the future.

    Resources

    The following resources will be needed for this session:

    • a quiet room with adequate seating and tables
    • pens, pencils, rubbers, sharpeners etc.
    • 1 hour – 1 hour 30 minutes to run the session
    • student's files in which to present worksheets
    • a flip chart/ whiteboard/A3 photocopy of the Brainstorming sheet for the course tutor(s) to collate/record the student's responses
    • photocopies of the Reflect and Review worksheet for each student
    • photocopies of the Individual Stress Profile from Session 1 for each student
    • students previously completed Individual Stress Profiles from Session 1
    • photocopies of the Evaluation Questionnaire for each student
    • photocopies of the Strictly Stress Action Plan for each student
    • photocopies (A4 card) of the Certification of Completion for each student signed and dated by the course tutor(s)
    • refreshments/music as required.

    Work in a pair/as a member of a small group in order to identify facts and coping strategies. Try to remember the range of coping strategies that we have covered in this course. Share and compare your ideas with the whole group.

    Reflect and Review

    Look back to your Stress Targets Sheet and Contract to change from Session 1. How successful have you been in making changes and coping effectively with your stressors? Think carefully, identify these stressors once again and then answer the following questions:

    Now go back to complete the individual Stress Profile from Session 1. Do NOT look at your completed form from this session, but wait and compare the second go with this first attempt once you've finished your assessment. How have things changed for you?

    Bibliography

    References
    Appleby (1967) in Bailey, D. & Sprosten, C. (1987) Understanding Stress: HMSO
    Butler, G. & Hope, T. (1995) Manage Your Mind: Oxford University Press
    Coleman, J. & Hendry, L. (1990) The Nature of Adolescence (
    2nd Edition
    ): Routledge & Kegan Paul
    DfEE (1999) Social Inclusion: Pupil Support
    Dore, H. (1990) Coping with Stress: Hamlyn Help Yourself Guide
    George, E., Iveson, C., & Rathner, H. (1990) Problem to Solution – Brief Therapy with Individuals and Families: Brief Therapy Press
    Jacobson, E. (1983) Progressive Relaxation (
    2nd Edition
    ): University of Chicago Press
    Kyriacon, C. & Butcher, B. (1993) Stress in Year 11 school children: Pastoral Care in Education 11, 19-21
    March, J.S. (Ed) (1995) Anxiety Disorders in Children and Adolescents: Guildford Press
    Markham, U. (1990) Helping Children Cope with Stress: Sheldon Press
    McConnon, S. & McConnon, M. (1992) Stress – A Personal Skills Course for Young People: Thomas Nelson
    Miles, S.H. (1992) Helping Pupils to Cope with Stress: Framework Press
    Murgatroyd, S. & Woolfe, R. (1982) Coping with Crisis – Understanding and Helping People in Need: Open University Press
    Rae, T. (2000) Confidence, Assertiveness, Self-Esteem: Lucky Duck Publishing
    Rhodes, J. & Ajmal, Y. (1995) Solution Focused Thinking in Schools. Behaviour, Reading and Organisation: Brief Therapy Press
    Robson, M., Cook, P. & Gilliland, J. (1995) Helping Children Manage Stress: British Educational Research Journal, 21. 165–174http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0141192950210203
    Warden, D. & Christie, D. (1997) Teaching Social Behaviour: David Fulton Publishers
    Wright, C.L. (1996) The Exam Kit: Letts Educational
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