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Janine Siegel, outreach specialist at Scripps Health talks about coping with the stresses of the holidays at the Rancho Santa Fe Senior Center. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene
Janine Siegel, outreach specialist at Scripps Health talks about coping with the stresses of the holidays at the Rancho Santa Fe Senior Center. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene
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RSF Senior Center welcomes guest speaker on reducing stress

RANCHO SANTA FE — Seemingly, no one is immune to stress. It’s a common occurrence that happens and people deal with it differently.

The RSF Senior Center invited Janine Siegel, an outreach specialist from Scripps Health to talk about stress management. While she conducted a PowerPoint presentation, the afternoon event was also quite interactive. Participants shared what types of stresses they had and how they went about tackling them.

Scripps Health does a great deal of educational programs and stress management is one on the agenda.

“We find in this day and age that people in their retirement years may have additional stressors that they may not even be aware of given their declining health, coping with friends who have declining health, coping with new limitations, financial issues and sometimes they’re not as apt to talk about things,” Siegel said.

Siegel pointed out what she wanted to convey was it’s all right to acknowledge stress.

“It doesn’t mean that it’s a weakness of character or that they can’t handle problems in their lives,” she said. “Stress can have an impact on your physical body so it’s important to work through it and learn some great coping mechanisms to help them problem-solve and minimize the stressors in life.”

According to Siegel, stress will always happen. And it can affect people in different ways such as migraines, increased blood pressure, upset stomach, loss of appetite, increased appetite, restlessness, concentration difficulties, and more.

Siegel said stress also has the ability to impair judgment in decision-making. There is a whole physiological aspect to it.

The most important thing is how people react to stress.

“Not all stress is bad,” Siegel said. She continued, “Stress can be good and help people move toward change in their life.”

Stress can trigger the motivation to change — in many ways it can act as a facilitator.

Siegel wants people to know that there are different ways to cope.

One is emotionally coping with the stressors that happened. This pathway means talking things out with a trusted friend and being able to express those feelings.

“The other type of coping is problem solving,” she said. “Research has shown that problem solving, getting to the root of what’s causing the stress and making changes is the best catalyst to help the stress.”

Siegel said what helps minimize stress is limiting caffeine and alcohol intake. Likewise, practicing good sleep hygiene is also advisable.

“If your mind is distracted by the stressors, read a book that’s going to take your mind off the stressors prior to going to bed or writing out the things that are causing stress to get them off your mind,” she said.

And it’s no surprise that around the holidays, the level of stress can increase, too. Siegel knows how sometimes there are so many expectations put on people coupled with one’s own expectations.

From parties, work, to traveling during the holidays, it can take its toll. That’s why it’s called a busy time of year.

“Once again, you can recognize it and take means to do something about it,” she said. “Take it one day at a time and enjoy the holidays, because there’s always something good to find in the midst of every stressful life.”