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Skills & strategies – part 2

Watch this video to learn the STOP-THINK-GO method.
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Now that we’ve talked about mindfulness, we’re going to move into the second strategy, which is seeking social support. So research shows that during stressful times uncertain times, it’s so important to have a network of people who you can go to and ask for support. So the network does not mean to be big. It’s a few trusted people such as family members, friends, people within your community, your religious community, who you can ask for support from. I agree. I think that it’s really important that we reach out to our networks. And sometimes that’s not easy to do when you’re not feeling your best. And also, that we can reach out to each other as well.
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And to be there for people who may need support. That doesn’t mean that we’re forcing help on people that don’t want it, but there are a lot of ways to let people know that you are available to them, should they need to come to you or if they’re going through a stressful time. We all go through stressful times and, in fact people like to be helpful. So we shouldn’t be too shy about reaching out to support others, and also to ask for help. And it’s very important to know, that the research tells us, that social support is one of the most important factors that helps people to recover from very stressful events.
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Maybe you’re the person that’s going to provide support to others. We have a few tips for you. If that’s the case.
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The most important thing is to know that you don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to say and do all the perfect things. You really just need to be there. You need to listen with all of your attention. Keep distractions to a minimum. Make sure the person is comfortable. Sometimes a cup of tea or a glass of water can be really helpful and just listen with your heart and with all of your attention to somebody who’s distressed or upset. The other thing is, if you are the person who’s going to listen, make sure that you don’t judge somebody for something they have said or done, or for how they’re feeling.
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But really, except what they want to tell you about. And then the third thing is that people who are distressed or upset or have a lot on their mind, they sometimes don’t know where to start with their problems. There can be so many things to think about and you can help them to start prioritizing. What’s really important to do right now? What should really come first? Come to think of it Ashely, you have a very good tool for helping people solve problems. Can you share that with us? Absolutely.
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So this is a really easy tool to use. It’s called “Stop, Think, Go”. So why don’t we practice it together? The first step is “Stop”. So, I want you to stop and think what is the problem that is really causing you the most stress right now. Or the most trouble. What might that be? That’s an interesting question. I think maybe something that’s on my mind is that I can’t fly home to see my family because of travel restrictions, and I usually go at this time every year to be with them. So I’m feeling quite sad about it. That absolutely makes sense. Knowing that you can’t travel right now, there’s so many restrictions, it might be unsafe.
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What are some of the possible solutions to still connect with your family and friends back home? Well, I think traveling isn’t an option, so we do connect by video conference. We call each other on Skype. Sometimes on the phone, or we send each other photos. Those kinds of things are quite nice to stay in touch, and I also have other people here, that I could connect with. Great. And when you’re going through this step, remember to think about solutions that are within your control. So continuing to connect with your family, connecting with friends here, or finding something to do. So what are some of the actions that you can take to put these solutions into place?
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I think the first thing I should probably do, is let my family know how I’m feeling. That I’m missing them this summer and missing being with them, so they will think more about sending me photos or including me when they do something fun, so that I can feel closer to that. And then I could also reach out to some people here. Find out who’s here for the summer and what are some fun things we could do together? Yeah, absolutely. So it’s easy. It’s three steps. Stop and think about what problem is bothering you the most and then come up with solutions.
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Remember solutions that are within your control and that is actions that you can take to put these solutions into place.

Now you can try the STOP-THINK-GO method to support yourself and others to manage their problems.

STOP: Take a pause and a deep breath, and consider what problems are most urgent. Use the circles of control to identify and choose a problem which you can do something about. You can write the things that you can control in the inner circle, such as how you response to others, how you speak to someone when you are angry or even how you initiate a conversation with someone who you feel upset with. Also write what aspects of the problem are out of your control, such as how others act, someone you love getting sick or the way someone treats you. Now that you have thought about what is within your control and what is out of your control, pick an aspect of the problem that is most urgent that you have control over.

THINK: Think of ways to manage that problem. The following questions may help:

  • What have you done in the past to overcome problems like this?
  • What have you already tried doing?
  • Is there someone who can help with managing this problem (e.g. friends, loved ones or organizations)?
  • Do other people you know have similar problems? How have they managed?

GO: Choose a way to manage that problem and try it out. If it doesn’t work, try another solution.

You can practice the STOP-THINK-GO method using the template attached in the download section below. You can make it fun and playful by using any supplies you have around the house and drawing or using colored marker to fill in each step. Remember to share with your family and friends and adapt it to use with the children in your life!

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Coping with Changes: Social-Emotional Learning Through Play

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