Hello. Welcome to the refresh from stress session. I hope you're going to feel refresh at the end of this session. This pandemic has brought on a lot of stressors in our lives, to say the least. As a wellness manager, I'm constantly collaborating my responses to meet new needs and demands. At the university, I have a health network, where I work. We started off with six respite center as a response to the pandemic last March. A year later, almost a year and a half, they're still up and running. This is an opportunity for staff to take a break from their regular duties and destress, and they receive refreshments. They have activities there, there's music playing, and oftentimes people say, "I feel good. This helps me to feel refreshed." Today, this session that I'm offering you is from what we call a refresh menu. We create a menu of activities. We go on the units and engaged staff in quick break and wellness such as yoga, we'll do laughter activities, we'll make bath bombs, and this activity refresh from stress. We're also encouraging this online, for the folks who are working at home. We also have online activities. For this session, I wanted to learn about the way that stress can impact on your health and provide you tools and resources to cope with stress. I'm going to be engaging you in a little bit of self-reflection with stress index tool and also invite you to participate in movement with music. What is stress? It's a part of everyday life. It's a normal way of responding to pressures, demands, and situation. There's good and bad stress. We can manage good stress and use it to our advantage, to have balances and set goals in our life. But it's bad stress that can harm our health and cause sickness and so forth. Let's look at this graphic from environmental health project. You can see where stress can affect the brain, the heart, the pancreas, the stomach. You see more details on this chart if you put a pause on this video, if you're curious to learn more. There's a wide body of literature that speaks to how stress impacts the body. The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation website, you can also go there and learn how it affects the body. Also, the Canadian Mental Health Association speaks to how it affects the mind. Here is the stress assessment tool. If you can't open this link, just Google, what's your stress index? When I hit on it here, you're going to see where the questions will pop-up or you will type in, what's your stress index in Google. You see these questions like, are you neglecting your diet? Do you seek unrealistic goal? Do you look to other people to make things happen for you? As you go on and hit yes or no, you then see what your score is. You're going to hit, what's my score? Going back to the slides, I put a little music. You can listen to music, choose your own music or this one. That is to encourage music in anything you do. Filling out a form like that, you could be wrecking along as you're answering your questions, as simple as that. Or while you work throughout the day, have music playing in the background. Here, we're going to show you a little bit of the biological basis of stress. Watch this. One little piece of paper can have a remarkable effect. Stress is stressful. But if you understand a bit about what it is, you'll be better able to deal with it. First, though take a few deep breaths. In fact, do that anytime you feel stressed, it helps. Stress is a survival mechanism. When danger appears, it can get you out of trouble quickly. Your body crashes up the gears and throws all its resources into getting you moving. Your heart pumps furiously to increase blood pressure, glucose is sent to the muscles as fuel injection, and you become totally focused on what psychologists call fight or flight. The thing is, this emergency state is only meant to last just long enough to get you out of danger. But here in the 21st century, we stress about different things, and for much longer. Your brain and body stay on red alert and you'll be less able to think clearly, learn, or remember things. Take a few more deep breaths because, as you now know, stress is a physical reaction and deep breathing helps to counteract its effects. So what else can you do? Top tips to reduce stress. First, get plenty of exercise. Let out all that locked-up energy. Now, back to the problem, gets in control. Scope out the situation and how you're going to tackle it. Don't stress alone, talk to someone. Socialize and have a laugh. You can't laugh and quick with fear at the same time. Get down with nature, on a big or small scale. If your mind won't stop worrying, there is something else to do instead. The video speaks to many ways of coping with stress. One thing I want to hone in on right away is that stress is a physical reaction and deep breathing can counteract its effect. How to control stress before it controls you, how do we do that? Several studies highlighted in Harvard Business Review indicates that breathing exercises are effective for immediate and long-term stress reduction. I want to highlight a quick quote that I thought was meaningful here. It says that "It's very difficult to talk your way out of strong emotions like stress, anxiety, or anger. Just think about how ineffective it is when a colleague tells you 'calm down' in a moment of extreme stress. When we're in a highly stressed state, our prefrontal cortex, the part of our brain responsible for rational thinking, is impaired. Logic seldom helps to regain control. This can make it hard to think straight or be emotionally intelligent with your team or with someone. But with the breathing techniques, it is possible to gain some mastery over your mind." How does that work? How does breathing calm you down? Try changing the ratio of your inhale to exhale. When you inhale, your heartbeat speeds up. When you exhale, it slows down. Breathing in a count of four and breathing out with a count of eight can start to calm your nervous system. Remember, when you feel agitated, lengthening your exhale. Here is a structured approach. At the University Health Network, we have this program called BRITE, which is to help build resilience, and it's a number of many practices that staff can do on the go while they work anytime. With a stop practice here where you pause and take deep breaths. It's among 12 practices that we use. With this one, we could try that tip that is shared on how we can use breathing to calm our nervous system. Remember, it says, "Breath in for four, and breathing in, you're going to inhale through your nose, and then breathing out." You're exhaling through your mouth. That is four inhaling, eight exhaling. Let's try that quickly here. That was four inhale, eight exhale. Let's do it one more time. On this practice, it acts that you observe your experience by becoming aware of your current thoughts, emotions, and body sensation. Think of how you can use this. There are tips provided here when you're doing routine things like washing your hands, turning on your computer, while you're waiting for an elevator. You could do it just before you go into a meeting that you're worried or nervous about, and when you're in stressful situations. Let's look at another tip from the video. It says scope out the problem. I'm asking you to think of maybe something you said yes when you did your stress index or maybe just something you want to improve on. Then think of why it's stressing you and how you plan to deal with it. When you think of what will help to make you form this new habit or the change that you want to make, start off with one thing I would say, and then think of visual and auditory cues that you can use, like an alarm, or note, or a buddy system, and then develop a routine like a calendar. What I do, I have a Pedometer for when I was trying to develop the habit of walking regularly. Now I do that without thinking and it tells me how many steps I made. I look forward at the end of each day to see how many steps, and then it reward me, because you know how we'd have those little sprinkles, you may hear that sounds. I always look forward to getting that. What tools are in your self-care toolbox? Here, I use three-dimensions of health. This is a list of things that I do. Think of what you could fill in your self-care toolbox if you didn't have one, or maybe you can add something else based on this workshop. How are you coping with stress again? Here are additional resources. I chose purposely something from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as that is that important resource now, as we are in the pandemic or even once the pandemic subsided, we're still going to be needing resources. They have a lot of useful tips. You can look at these stress reduction strategies. Just before we end, I want you to practice moving with music. You could do this sitting down or you can stand up. Let's dance along and listen to Sher Mclaughlin. She is delightful. It is sun shiny, Lovemore vibes, coming to you from my bedroom window. Every day, as often as I can, I take many dance break and I move with music. It helps me to de-stress, manage my days better, connect with my inner child. Listen, I deserve all these happiness. I want to start encouraging you no matter what your situation or where you're at, I want you to find your favorite music and move. Could be in the office, could be in a hospital bed, as long as you're following doctor's orders. Could be in your car, could be at school, wherever you are. In the kitchen, find your spot and move, and groove, and move, and groove. Until next time. Stay safe. Keep smiling, keep shining, and move and groove. Love you, guys. Let's look at what we just discussed. Move with music, take time to do self checking. Think of that stress index and revisit it. Even you could just memorize a few to always check in with yourself. Self-check is a critical component of self-management, so when you do that, you're taking care of yourself. Breathe in for four, breathe out for eight. Thank you.