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Stress is Part of Life, and More so with Chronic Illness
I have a friend, Julie, whom I really admire in terms of how she handles stress. She says, “Well if there’s nothing I can do about it, then why should I become more stressed out about the situation? That would only make things worse, no?”
Well, yes. We all know this in theory, but executing it is difficult for many people. People like me. It’s so easy to run away with your thoughts, as they take you on a wild ride of worst case scenarios.
As a person with numerous chronic illnesses, stress is part of the process. If not as a contributing factor to a pain flare, then as a result from the pain itself. To be chronically ill also means that your body is under a state of constant physical and mental stress. Stress comes and goes in all directions, and even if you manage to staunch one hole, there is always more leaking in and out. All we can really do is to try our best to manage the changeable bits. This is where the ‘Stress Less Course’ run by Amanda of Imagine Life Therapy comes in useful.
A Bit More About Amanda and the Course
Amanda has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and a Master’s in social work. She was a school social worker, who spent her free time volunteering locally and globally. On top of that, she lives with several chronic illnesses herself.
This made me feel an instant connection, because chronic illness is an experience that’s impossible to describe. It was reassuring to know that my instructor for the course is not only highly qualified, but also ‘gets it’ for real.
Amanda Pratt, LMSW (MI), LCSW (FL)
Founder, Therapist (LMSW (MI), LCSW (FL)), Certified Life Coach
(Image from imaginelinetherapy.com)
Well Balanced Structure and Pace
There are six main modules in the ‘Stress Less’ course:
Module 1 | Stress: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Module 2 | Coping Strategies: The Anti-Stress
Module 3 | The Art of Action
Module 4 | Mindset is Everything
Module 5 | Communication
Module 6 | Self-Care
Each module is further broken down into bite-sized lessons, delivered in the form of high quality videos that take you through the process step by step. I am not a good video or audio based learner, so the timing stated upfront helped to prepare my brain to sit and listen. That I even finished the entire course at all says a lot about it in a positive way! The information was captivating, and the length of each session was just right.
Attached with each lesson is a workbook that you can download and keep. The workbook is thorough and professional, and comprises of different coping tools, goals, charts and educational material. There are also pit stops along the way to check in on your progress. Best of all, it’s conducted online so you can keep up even on the bad days whilst in your pjs!
Checking in, Progression, Change & Perspectives
I personally enjoy questionnaires, especially those that reveal something new about yourself. Whilst I knew that I am not someone who handles stress well, it surprised me to know just how bad I really was at it! There was a ‘coping inventory’ questionnaire at the beginning of the course, where we identified our healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms. This is like a starting point and reference chart which I could refer to along the entire course, to see how my perspective and application to each area has changed or improved.
It was also interesting to see the full list of coping strategies in the inventory; tools that others use but I may have missed out on for maximum effect. This was a great opportunity to add some new tools to my stress-reduction toolkit, and sharpen the existing ones.
On top of the self-evaluations, Amanda also conducts a weekly check-in on all current participants using her Facebook group. As I received this course for free and did it on a different timeline, I didn’t get to utilise this feature. A quick peek at past messages on the wall looked like it was something the average participant found useful though. For those who prefer more communication and direct Q&As from their course instructor, this is perfect.
What I Liked Most About the Course
You can tell that Amanda is someone who takes pride in her work, and truly enjoys helping others. The online course is well structured, organised, flows well and is full of important details. The platform was super easy to navigate and keep track of. Amanda also has a wonderfully soothing voice, so each session sounded therapeutic in itself!
I also liked the mix of materials. The self-assessment questions and goals were interesting. The coping strategies involved both physical activities and mindset shifts, and are all practical for everyday stress management. What’s best is that you can always refer to the course or workbooks again any time you fall off track, or need a little reminder in future!
My Life Before and After
My life situation hasn’t changed since I started this course – I still live with chronic illnesses, and go through ups and downs. I still live day by day, and take it one step at a time. But the difference after taking the ‘Stress Less’ course is the number of coping tools I now have, and can apply to a variety of real life problems. It has also made me more self-aware of where my biggest flaws lie, so that I can correct these negative thought patterns before they grow into a giant snowball of stress.
Help Yourself Here
I would highly recommend this course if you:
- are going through a stressful period in life and need help coping.
- want to learn more about how stress works, and how it affects our mind and body.
- want to gather new stress management tools for current or future scenarios.
- want to learn more about yourself as a person, how you handle stress, your strengths and weaknesses.
*Note: This article is meant for educational purposes and is based on the author’s personal experiences. It is not to be substituted for medical advice. Please consult your own doctor before changing or adding any new treatment protocols.
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