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Managing Stress Effectively

Cathy Mangaoang-Welsh shares tips on how to manage stress in an effective and healthy way.
Managing Stress Effectively
Featuring:
Cathy Mangaoang-Welsh, LCSW
Cathy Mangaoang-Welsh, LCSW is the Director of Social Services, St. Joseph's Behavioral Health Center.
Transcription:

 Bill Klaproth (Host):  So, are you stressed out?  Do you know how to recognize if you were stressed out, and how do you manage stress effectively?  We don’t want you to be stressed out.  So, keep listening.  We’re going to find out more about stress and how to manage it effectively with Cathy Mangaoang-Welsh, director of social services at St. Joseph’s Behavioral Health Center.  Cathy, thank you so much for your time.  Now, like I said, we don’t  people to be stressed out.  Help us destress, but first, what is stress? 

Cathy Mangaoang-Welsh, LCSW(Guest): What we see as stress is stress is generally our reaction, both mentally and physically, to some type of situation going on or event or circumstances going on around us.  

Host:  Right, and we all deal with this day in and day out, but when it becomes too much, how do we recognize that in our lives?  Are there physical and emotional symptoms of stress, we should be looking out for?  

Cathy:  Definitely.  Sometimes what we start to recognize is that we’re having some reactions.  Sometimes, we’re getting overwhelmed.  One of the things that I often have seen clients express to me or patients let me know is the ruminating, and what I mean by ruminating is the thinking—is the constant thinking about situations that they’re getting overwhelmed about and then maybe having some difficulty, you know, sleeping at night or thinking about it during the day where it’s starting to interfere with their ability to, you know, live comfortably and just starting to feel really overwhelmed, and that could be signs of anxiety which—getting more anxious.  The thoughts continue to keep impacting them and affecting some of their sleep and then just the constant, again, rumination of the thoughts going on in their head.   

Host:  Is that the big red flag warning sign we should look out for to know that while we really are under stress, or I’m not managing stress effectively?  Is that one of the signs?  Are there any other major signs we should know about?

Cathy:  The ruminating.  Sleep is the big one because often if we’re not sleeping, we’re not being able to focus.  We can’t concentrate.  It’s hard for us to—we’re kind of in this fog.  So, sleep is a big one.  The focus and concentration, and everybody reacts differently to stress.  Some people will have a difficulty eating, you know, really making sure we’re eating, is, you know, a very important component in our lives.  Sleep and our ability to eat, making sure we’re taking all our medications; we’re exercising; following up with our doctor’s appointments.  Those are all really important things that we want to make sure that we’re doing, but sleeping and eating is a really big component, and if we’re having an inability to focus and concentrate, that’s going to really affect our lives, you know, daily.  

Host:  Right.  Well, those are all really good things that we should be watching out for, so look out for the ruminating, not eating well, poor focus and concentration, feeling anxious, not sleeping well, those are all warning signs that you’re really under stress.  So, if we do recognize those warning signs, what are some ways we can effectively manage stress in our lives?

Cathy:  So, really working on balance, you know.  Balance is a really important factor for everybody to start looking at is, you know, am I taking the time to not only do my work/balance life, am I doing my family/balance life, am I also doing my own personal self/balance, you know, am I doing activities that I enjoy doing that are solely for me?  Do I go get my manicures?  Do I get pedicures?  Do I do my woodwork?  Do I enjoy fixing cars?  Do I do gardening and landscaping, you know, am I going to the gym, you know?  What are the things that you’re doing also for yourself, you know?

Host:  Right.    

Cathy:  Combined with all of these other things that we’re doing on a regular basis and things that are coming up that we don’t even expect to happen in our lives, you know—

Host:  Right.

Cathy:  —that can be very overwhelming and very stressful.

Host:  So.  It sounds like you really have to find time for yourself.

Cathy:  Um hmm.

Host:  That’s what it sounds like you’re saying, and those things that bring you joy, get back to doing those things.

Cathy:  Yes.

Host:  So, in order to accomplish this, it sounds like people may just need to force themselves to do these things.  Carve out that time on a weekend or a weeknight where they can get back to those things that bring them joy, and then pay attention to self-care as you were talking about—sleeping, eating, quieting your mind.  Is that what you’re talking about Cathy?

Cathy:  Definitely.  Definitely that’s part of it because remember it’s all about overall body, you know. This brain is connected to our body.  

Host:  Um hmm.

Cathy:  So, we want to make sure that we’re exercising; we’re eating good, and you know, things that we were talking about a little, you know, a few moments ago is sleep.  Make sure—

Host:  Right.

Cathy:  —we’re sleeping.  You know, there’s a balance to our sleeping and making sure we’re having our regular sleep schedule.  You know, and our eating is important.  There’s so much to us that we’ve got to—it’s important for us to balance out.

Host:  Right.  So, you’ve given us some really important things to pay attention to.  What about some of these meditation apps I see?  Are these worthwhile and can these work when used daily or when someone is feeling stressed out?

Cathy:  I love some of the apps that are available.  Yes.  I definitely agree with them.  I’m not sure if you want to hear about some other ones that I have on my phone that I absolutely love.  One of them is Buddhify.  B-U-D-D-H-I-F-Y, I believe.  I love that one because it gives—it has this color wheel, but it gives you all these—a various assortment of relaxation techniques that you can use based on time that you might have available.  If I have a 15-minute break, but I know I only want to spend about five minutes to allow myself to do some mindfulness or meditation, it’ll allow us to do that, and it’ll walk you through the whole process.  Another one I like that I have on my phone is the Calm.  I use that for myself, and my almost one-year-old daughter who has difficulty sleeping at night (laughs) sometimes.  So, hearing the beach sound with the harp in the background to make sure, you know, she has a good sleep schedule—so starting her off with that sleep schedule because it’s so important, you know, not only for her, but for all of us to have that, but those are my two favorite on my phone right now.

Host:  So, those are two good tips?  Thank you for sharing those with us, but it sounds like those can really be useful, especially in quieting that ruminating—

Cathy:  Um hmm.

Host: —mind that’s on that hamster wheel, always going.  Is that right?

Cathy:  Yes, definitely, and it’s going for a walk when we’re able to get away from your desk or whatever you’re doing and make sure you take those breaks because that’s what they’re there for.

Host:  That’s right.  We want you to be stress-free and live your best life and manage stress properly.

Cathy:  (Laughs).  We definitely do. (Laughs)

Host:  Well, Cathy, this has been great.  Thank you for your time and to learn more please visit stjosephscanhelp.org.  That’s stjosephscanhelp.org, and if you like what you’ve heard, please share this on your social channels, and be sure to check out the full podcast library for topics of interest to you.  This is Hello Healthy, a Dignity Health Podcast.  I'm Bill Klaproth.  Thanks for listening.