Blog By Zeke Rothschild-Checroune
A few weeks ago, the Family Care Office (FCO) hosted a workshop focused on Stress Management. Did you know that attending workshops hosted by the FCO count towards credits for the new U of T Co-Curricular Record? This workshop was led by experienced Gestalt psychotherapist, Anna Wesolinska. Seeing that we’ve been going on a theme of stress management (given the time of year for students), I’ve decided to share my experience at this workshop for those who happened to miss it.
We started the session by getting to know our peers and the others sitting alongside us during the workshop. Discussing personal stressors brought up various issues regarding work-life balance. This helped to break the ice and understand that we are all coming from different backgrounds, yet face similar stressors.
Then we all tried a little activity. For this one, we focused on our pathways to wellness. We were handed a wheel which highlighted different aspects of our lives (i.e., physical, intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and occupational) that can help us cope with stress. This helped us focus on what areas work for us, and which areas we could tap into for more resources.
After working out the last activity with partners, we then went into a self-reflection activity. Here, we focused on our life-goals and visualized being in minimally stressful environments. It’s amazing what a little effective reflection can do to enhance your clarity!
Then another group activity had the class split in half based on stress coping styles. Half the class considered themselves as passive when dealing with stress while the other half were more aggressive in regards to dealing with stress. It was nice to learn from each other and gain others’ perspectives who may deal with stress differently than yourself.
Overall, this workshop was great in engaging its participants. It felt like group therapy more than an information workshop. The facilitator helped participants help themselves, rather than providing a generic list of “what you need to do to relieve stress.” Further, through self-discovery, participants were able to better locate their sources of stress and means of dealing with or preventing those stressors in their lives.