Stress Management Techniques, Healthy Coping Strategies, Breathing Exercise

Stress Management Techniques, Healthy Coping Strategies, Breathing Exercise


MUSIC: IN NARRATOR: Welcome to the Crisis Counseling
Assistance and Training Program, also known as the CCP. This video is meant to help you understand
the personal impact of working with disaster survivors. We will also talk about the importance
of practicing self-care and demonstrate a breathing exercise that may help you reduce
your stress. All staff, no matter what stage of the CCP
you are in, can benefit from the information, tips, and resources in this video. You can use the techniques and suggestions
in this video anytime you are feeling stressed. The video can be accessed on your mobile device
while you are providing outreach. Responding to disasters is an important and
rewarding job, but at times it can also be personally distressing. Hearing repeated stories
of survivor loss and grief and dealing with the frustrations that may be involved in the
recovery process can take a toll on you. Because you may be a member of the community you are
serving, you may also be trying to handle your own personal recovery at the same time
you are working to assist in your community’s recovery. Remember that your job is to provide resources,
support, referrals, and a listening ear, and you may not be able to help everyone. Taking a few precautions can help ensure that
you are able to help survivors to the best of your ability, while also taking care of
yourself. Let’s start by talking about some important
terms. Compassion fatigue is the mental and physical
exhaustion crisis counselors and other responders sometimes feel when they work with people
who have experienced a disaster. It is often thought of as being made up of two parts,
secondary stress and burnout. Crisis counselors experiencing secondary stress
feel personally affected by the stories and experiences of the people they are trying
to help. The other part of compassion fatigue is burnout,
which is an intense feeling of exhaustion, accompanied by thoughts that the situation
can’t get better. Stress is an underlying contributing factor to compassion fatigue
and can affect the work and personal life of disaster responders if left unmanaged. Vicarious trauma is an overwhelming fixation
on the experiences of survivors. It can happen if secondary stress is not addressed. In your training as a crisis counselor on
the CCP grant, you learned to identify signs of stress and difficulty in coping in survivors.
It’s time to use these skills on yourself and your peers. Sometimes people do not recognize these signs
in themselves and need friends, family, or coworkers to take them aside and talk to them
about any concerns. Acknowledgment is the first step in preventing a bigger problem. Signs and symptoms you may notice in yourself
or one of your coworkers include the following. Anger that seems disproportionate to the cause.
Irritability toward everyone and everything. Anxiety signs and symptoms such as elevated
heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, and difficulty making decisions. Constant tension
in the muscles of the neck, shoulders, and back. Migraine headaches, jaw pain, or shortness
of breath. Do you recognize any signs and symptoms of
stress in yourself? How long have you had these symptoms? Are they affecting the way
you feel or how you do your job? Are they affecting your personal relationships in a
negative way? When it’s your job to be the helper, it
can be difficult to reach out for help. But it’s important not to let these feelings
get out of control. If you notice signs of stress in yourself or coworkers, encourage
the person in need to talk to a colleague, or a friend or family member. Reaching out is the best way to seek help,
and there are many places to get help. Peer and organizational supports can include
the following. A trusted coworker. A mental health professional. A community or religious
leader. Employee assistance programs. Your doctor. 911. A local emergency room. The National
Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990. When it comes to self-care, there are steps
that you can take daily to help reduce your stress or prevent it from becoming overwhelming. Get enough sleep or at least rest. Stay hydrated, and try to eat a well-balanced
diet. Try to wash up, even just your hands and face,
after you leave your work shift. Make time to get to know your coworkers and
to celebrate successes and work through challenges as a group. Spend your hours away from work with friends
and family. Practice your spiritual beliefs or reach out
to a faith leader for support. Take time to be alone so you can think, meditate,
and rest. There are free apps, websites, and videos you can find to help you learn yoga,
meditation, and breathing exercises. In fact, here is a breathing exercise you can practice
on your own whenever you’d like. Hi, my name is Alyssa.
Many of us overlook the need for self-care in our daily lives. This breathing exercise,
also known as 4-7-8, that we are about to learn can be done in less than a minute, anywhere,
and at any time. First, I will be explaining the exercise,
before we go through it together. You will start by inhaling through your nose
for 4 counts, holding that breath for 7, and exhaling though your mouth for 8. You can
then repeat these steps as many times as you need. Now we will go through the exercise together. I am going to ask that you sit quietly, relax,
and close your eyes as we go through the steps. Exhale completely through your mouth, making
a whoosh sound. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through
your nose for a count of four. 1, 2, 3, 4. Now, hold your breath for a count of seven.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Exhale completely through your mouth, making
a whoosh sound to a count of eight. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of
four breaths. Note that with this breathing technique, you always inhale quietly through your nose and
exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute
time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have
trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up, but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the
three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling
more and more deeply. Thank you for taking the time to view this
video. Please contact the SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center at 1-800-308-3515 for any technical assistance needs. Check out the Disaster Responders Resource Portal
on the SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center website at www.samhsa.gov/dtac.

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