Recognizing and Responding to Stress
Topic of the Week: InterCom: August 30, 2021
Happy new school year to all! We hope that you have had a restful summer and are ready for the year that lies before you.
In honor of the beginning of school, we are continuing our series for educators dedicated to discussing activities that contribute to the development of high-functioning professional communities. This week, we discuss how to recognize and respond to stressors.
There are a few ways to get connected with us this week:
- Join our InterCom Live! session. We connect on Facebook every Monday at 11:00 am Pacific. To join us, open CASLS’s Facebook page at the designated time. Can’t make it? The InterCom Live! events are always recorded, and you can find them on our Facebook page.
- Check out the Activity of the Week. This activity structures a meeting between two colleagues focused on identifying personal stress responses and articulating a plan to mitigate stress.
- This resource provides educators with some additional suggestions for mitigating stress. We particularly love the suggestions of practicing gratitude and forgiving yourself for past mistakes. It, along with the Activity of the Week, would be great to use within any professional learning community.
Happy exploring! We are excited to continue engaging with you this week.
Activity of the Week
Recognizing and Responding to Stress
This activity is designed to aid world language educators in the recognition of their stress responses and to support educators in cultivating a plan to mitigate stress.
Teachers will be able to:
- Identify at least one stress response they exhibit
- Articulate a plan for dealing with stress
Mode(s): Not applicable
Material(s): Recognizing and Responding to Stress video
- Ask to meet with a trusted colleague for roughly 30 minutes. Before, or during, the meeting watch the Recognizing and Responding to Stress video.
- Have an open conversation about one stress response you have noticed in one another. The response you discuss might be emotional (e.g., being easily agitated, feeling overwhelmed, and having negative feelings about yourself), physical (e.g., fatigue, GI issues, and pain), cognitive (e.g., worry, pessimism, and a lack of focus), or behavioral (e.g., procrastination, changes in routine, and changes in nutrition).
- Take two minutes to write a brief reflection on the stress response your colleague mentioned. Consider whether you notice the same response in yourself and the stressors that most contribute to the identified stress response.
- Share your reflections with one another. If you disagree with your colleague’s evaluation or are curious as to why they offered a particular stress response, ask clarifying questions. Collect more information about what motivated the colleague to mention it.
- Settle on the stress response you want to spend time addressing and unpacking. Feel free to offer a distinct stress response from what your colleague mentioned.
- Together, make a plan to deal with each of your stress responses. Consider (1) a daily promise to yourself designed to mitigate stress; (2) a way to remind yourself of the promise; and (3) a way to hold one another accountable.
- Some daily promises:
- Setting home/work boundaries (e.g., a point in the day at which you will stop looking at work email)
- Setting time to disconnect from your phone or other digital devices
- Scheduling a time to walk, run, or do something else to improve your physical health
- Scheduling a time for journaling or meditation
- Creating a plan to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet
- Some ways to remind yourself of your daily promises:
- Scheduling reminders on your phone
- Scheduling reminders on your digital calendar
- Writing your plan on sticky notes and putting them near to where you get ready in the morning, where you look while working through the day, and where you get ready for bed
- Putting an image that reminds you of your plan next to your workspace
- Creating a vision board about your plan
- Some ways to hold one another accountable:
- Sending a quick text or email when you complete your daily promise
- Scheduling a weekly coffee to discuss your progress toward your promise
- Using five minutes of an existing structure in your school day (e.g., shared planning time or lunch) to share how you are progressing toward your daily promise
- Meeting to do something you enjoy (e.g., explore new restaurants or wander farmer’s markets) to discuss your promise
- Make sure to follow up with one another after completing Step 6. Be honest about what is working and what is not working for you, and adjust your plan and daily promises accordingly.