Managing Stress and Coping with Change


Recently, Dana and I had the opportunity to spend an hour with our HCC staff talking about managing stress and coping with change.  We were grateful for the time to support our SAS Healthcare Heroes.  We pulled together such great content that I want everyone to have access to it, hence this blog post about two of the topics we covered… an Effective Coping Mindset, and Skills to Improve Your Resilience.

ABCs of an Effective Coping Mindset

Here are a series of questions you can ask yourself (and easily remember).   These questions will help guide you to be more flexible in your thinking and therefore better able to cope.

  • Adversity: What events are upsetting me right now?
    • Identify an event that is particularly upsetting to you in this moment.
      Examples (adversities): Working outside of my usual role, My kids are at home and need me, I’m not available to help my partner/family
  • Beliefs: What thoughts am I having about the adversity? What am I saying to myself in private?
    • Examples: I can’t handle this stress, I’m ineffective at work, I’m not a good parent/partner/ worker, this situation has no end
  • Consequences: How is this impacting my:
    • Feelings: How am I feeling as a result of all this? 
    • Actions: What do I do when I feel this way? 
    • Relationships: How does this impact others? 

Understanding your unique adversities, your beliefs about these, and the impact these beliefs are having on your life will help prepare you to better choose how you want to respond.

Skills to Improve Your Resilience

Any small change you make right now can result in profound results so don’t be overwhelmed with this list of suggestions, just pick one small thing.  Each of these topics could be an entire blog post, so if you want to learn more about any of them, you can contact a Work/Life staff member or do a quick internet search.

  • Stress reduction skills
    • Exercise, nutrition, mindfulness, gratitude
  • Adaptive skills
    • Problem-focused coping (problem solving, brainstorming, making changes)
    • Emotion-focused coping (walks, baths, meditation, counseling)
    • Self-advocacy (assertiveness, speaking up, setting boundaries)
  • Self-regulation skills
    • Challenging cognitive distortions (beliefs that aren’t true like “I’m always going to fail”)
    • Emotional intelligence (your ability to navigate social/relationship/emotional issues that can be improved with training)
  • Finding larger meaning
    • Value driven behaviors (personal values, community values, spiritual values)

I want to throw something else in that I learned from an article recently.  Many of us have this overwhelming feeling of uncertainly and even dread when we think about the future.  If you feel this way, you are not alone.  When I realize I am doing this, I try to focus my attention on the present and if it is true, tell myself that I am ok in this moment.  Right this moment, as I write this blog post from my desk in my kitchen, the sun is shining, my college student and their partner are laughing in the other room, and I am ok in this moment.  If you are ok in this moment, why don’t you try acknowledging it as well.  And congratulations, with that one action you have taken a step towards better well-being.


About Author

Lisa Allred

Work Life Program Manager

Lisa Allred comes to SAS with a long history of working with families throughout the lifespan. After receiving her undergraduate degree at Wake Forest Universtity and her Masters in Social Work from UNC-CH, her career began as a child therapist focusing on parenting, anxiety and trauma. She then moved into college counseling where she emphasized student wellness and balance.

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