BY DEEANNA ROLLINS
It is the most stressful time of year for students. They’re stressing about money, health, family and, of course, school and their grades.
It’s the time of year where you see stress workshops popping up all over the place. One – held at the Walper Hotel in Kitchener – was called the “How to not give a shit” workshop, which took an untraditional spin on the classic, heavy title of “How to relieve stress” or “Stress and anxiety workshop.”
Kate Petriw, one of the three co-founders, said they wanted to “take away the heaviness of the workshop by naming it something that everyone could relate to. Something that would stand out and actually make people want to come.”
Petriw, along with the other co-founders Robin Keystone and Alison Fosbery, made this workshop all about the attendees, their stresses and ways to get rid of or embrace those stresses. Here are their ideas:
1. Sometimes it’s productive to not be doing anything.
When you are stressed out, just take a break and don’t do anything. It helps to slow your breathing and heart rate, which in turn can help you deal with your stresses.
“Relaxing should be a priority,” said Petriw. “It helps us cope in stressful situations.”
2. Write it out.
Literally. Take a pen and write down everything that’s stressing you. “Admit the problem,” said Keystone. “Sometimes that’s easier to do when it’s written out and you can see it right in front of you.”
3. Talk it out.
“Talk therapy raises serotonin levels in your body,” said Keystone. “It makes you feel heard.”
Talking to people about what’s stressing you can be very difficult, don’t do it unless you’re ready. Talk to people who aren’t involved in your stresses. For example, if you’re stressed about school, don’t talk to your classmates. Instead, talk to others who might have a different perspective than you do.
4. T-charts are your friend.
Think about positive and negative ways that you personally deal with stress. Write them down. Come up with more ways you can positively reduce stress levels and try to avoid using the negative tactics you wrote down. Talk to friends about ways that they deal with stress, they might be able to help you find a new way to relieve your stress.
5. Twenty-one days to make a habit, 21 days to break a habit.
Scientifically, all it takes to make and break a habit is 21 days. That means that if you use one of the things on your positive list for at least 21 days straight, it will become something you do regularly.
6. The ACBs of stress.
Antecedent: What triggered a reaction? What were you doing when you became angry/sad?
Consequence: How did you react to the trigger (antecedent)? What were the consequences?
Belief: How do you come to terms with what happened? What do you do to yourself that could be making the situation worse?
Take control of your triggers by thinking about the ACBs. Think about what triggered a certain reaction, how you reacted to the trigger and how you can stop it from happening again. “And remember: it’s only a problem if you make it a problem,” said Keystone. Which means that it only becomes a thought in the back of your mind if you make it so.