Stress Management and Prevention Essay

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The target population in this stress management and prevention program will be parents who have children with disability. Notably, when children are undergoing a difficult time or facing a challenging problem, their prospective parents become more stressed. However, the parents of children with disability endure a level of stress that is overwhelming. What makes these parents feel overwhelmed and worried is doing something that is not right for their children might harm them, or might not save them in a risk situation. According to the study posted by Seltzer et al. (2010), the hormonal level of stress for parents with children diagnosed with autism is equal to or more than that of soldiers in combat. Essentially, most of these parents do not think about their well-being and only focus on their children's needs and issues. In this regard, this stress management and prevention program can benefit such populations to balance their health and wellness and that of their children without depressing the other.

Stressors of this Population

Health care and medical concerns- Any parent with a child with disabilities faces different medical issues and illnesses that their child might acquire or face. In most cases, these parents are constantly researching and advocating for the well-being of their children. In most cases, gaining access to therapists, treatments, specialists, and general healthcare appears to be harder than it seems since they might be required to travel often or these medical needs and specialists have limited access.

Social isolation- this happens when parents are unable to participate in social activities such as family gatherings due to their children's disability. These parents face negative judgment and criticism from a society that does not understand their situation. In this regard, these parents lack a sense of belonging, feeling alone and isolated without any support system.

Behavioral challenges- Essentially, children with disability have different challenges, and one of them is behavioral control. A child with disabilities has different and unpredictable behavior problems, and their handling becomes more stressful. For example, repetitive behavior, self-inflicted injuries, tantrums, and biting and hitting keep the parents on a stressful edge.

Time management- this involves the ability to balance personal needs and the needs of the child. This is a stressful factor, especially for a working parent who has in mind that their children require 247 care and cannot be by themselves.

The unpredictability of the future- this has been a constant stressor to most parents with disabled children. Given that they cannot predict the wellness of their children and the fact that these children might not be able to live on their own even when they grow up is more stressful. The future concerns are what might happen to their children in their absence when they fall sick, grow old, or even die. This is a hectic question to ask every day without a possible answer.

Grief- most parents have high hopes and projected ideas of parenting like any other normal parent with a normal child. However, when they receive news of their children's disabilities, they feel lost to their expectations. They grieve over the loss of their children's hopes and dreams.

Guilt- feeling guilty can be associated with the feeling of disappointment and embarrassment. The guilt comes in when they feel they have failed their children or might not be able to protect their children in hazardous situations. Additionally, they might feel guilty when they experience resentment or jealousy towards other children without disability or parents with normal children.

Financial pressures- Parents with disabled children have financial struggles given that at times they work fewer hours and earn less, than parents with normal children. They have more medical expenses, including regular medical checkups and therapies. This is a lot of pressure given that their medical bills and other child's necessities are on their shoulders, but they have less source of income.

Learning and coming to terms with disability and the needs of the child- Coming to terms with the fact that your child has a disability and can never be normal is quite overwhelming. There is a lot of information they are required to learn and understand but more stressful is Knowing that there is no clear pattern to the needs and diagnosis of the disorder.

Fear- last but not least is the issue of fear. Parents of children with disability are constantly worrying and fearing for their children's welfare, future, suffering, and pain. They also full of fear for the safety of their children, medical issues and illness exposure, or even maybe they are not doing enough for their children. These parents walk every day worrying if their children will ever walk or talk. What if they have seizures? Or what if they need surgery and many more?

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The need to consider stressors for the selected population

Naturally, most parents, if not all, have stress. This is because they, the caregivers, and, more importantly, are responsible for their children's health and well-being. However, a parent with a child with a disability has an additional responsibility of ensuring that the child is kept safe and exposed to proper learning. In a nutshell, they are raised properly. The additional pressure is what causes stress; this is because children with disability have far way more needs than normal children. Furthermore, the stressors listed above are what add stress and worry to parents with disabled children. Parents in this situation lack care for themselves since they are consumed with the care for children. When individuals lack self-care, they cannot handle the physical demands or emotional needs required by a parent who has a child with special needs, and these imbalances are what causes stress.

As denoted by Seaward (2018), stress can be qualified as the experience that leads to a threat either imagined or real to an individual's spiritual, physical, and mental well-being that results from a series of physiological adaptations and responses. As postulated by Stahl and Goldstein (2019), parent of children with disability often faces chronic stress which is denoted as long-term stress that has lasted over a long period. Chronic stress in most cases results in health conditions including weakened immunity, metabolic disorders, heart attack, migraines, stroke, high blood pressure, and many more. Stress also negatively impacts parents' relationship with other people, and distorts their emotional well-being and happiness.

Three (3) stress management techniques and their benefits

One key to having a healthy life characterized by a well-balanced spirit, body, and mind is managing stress. In the contemporary world, numerous techniques can be adopted and implemented by parents in their daily lives that can assist them in coping with and managing their chronic stress. These approaches aim to assist parents in dealing with and refocusing on the stressful elements of managing chronic stress.

One of the approaches to managing stress is applying the yoga technique. Stahl and Goldstein (2019) aver that this technique increases flexibility by incorporating physical poses and focuses on increasing relaxation and the relationship between the body and breathing. Yoga has been proven to increase flexibility and improve energy by releasing tension stored in muscles. It helps in keeping the mind centered and focused and the overall body fitness. In a nutshell, Yoga has been proven to lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, lengthen muscles, and reduce overall stress.

Another approach to meaning stress is the utilization of visualization and imagery. This technique also helps in relaxation (Seward, 2018). One part of this technique that is important is daydreaming. Through daydreaming, our body has a chance to recharge, relax, and unwind so that it can cope with stress more effectively. Imagery and visualization are under three categories; internal body imagery, behavioral changes, and tranquil nature scenes. Citing one category in this case 'Tranquil nature scenes' helps one to imagine being in relaxing and peaceful places such as beaches, vacations, or mountains. Through visualization of such scenes, individuals escape from their current stressful environment, promoting calm and relaxation.

Another approach to managing stress is meditation. This is a practice that leads to increased awareness through increasing concentration. This helps to have a tranquil state of mind by promoting the idea and focusing on living in the present moment. Meditation, as stated by Buchanan (2017), is an individual practice that enables the individual to reflect on his or her internal feelings and thoughts in mindfulness, rather than focusing on external stress-causing stimuli. When parents with children having disability engage in mindfulness through meditation, they tend to acquire numerous health benefits. They can improve working memory, decrease fatigue, blood pressure, heart rate, and headache, reduce pain, improve sleep, recall information, and increase attention.

Implementation of the program

The Identified stress management and prevention program can be implemented in any healthcare facility, especially the ones that treat children's disabilities issues and therapies. This program can be introduced particularly to help parents cope with the stress that comes with taking and handling children with disability. The healthcare facility or the clinic can establish a meditation room where parents can go when their children are under therapy or treatment appointments. One of the benefits of a meditation room is that it will provide a quiet environment where parents can relax and practice mindfulness. For imagery and visualization, the room can be equipped with sensory lighting, relaxing pictures and views, and comfortable seating with visualization and imagery instructions. In the meditation room, the clinic can offer a planned event where parents can be offered free massages. The clinic will also have regular support groups and meetings, and through these meetings, the trainers can provide stress-managing activities and topics, including Yoga, exercise, Tai chi, and crafts.

Obstacles for Implementation

When it comes to planning any program, there are always numerous obstacles to implementing these programs, one of them being financial constraints. Notably, these whole processes require finances for full realization. If the clinic or healthcare has money constraints, this vision could not be realized. Notably, there will be the need for construction and supplies for activities, and all this calls for funding. Another obstacle is having the premises or a meditation room location and professional trainers for meditation and yoga activities. The financial obstacle can be overcome through a request of external donors, well-wishers and volunteers, and the local government.

Health professionals that could support the program and measures for its success

Numerous healthcare professionals could support these programs. One of the health professionals who can offer support is mental health counselors. This arm of professionals can offer resources and education to different parents during the support group meeting. Through its therapy department, the healthcare clinic can also offer support to the program by offering free nutrition exercises, Yoga classes, and other exercises that help reduce stress. Guest presenters can also be made available during the support group meetings, such as financial managers or social workers who can help by offering information on how to acquire medical equipment, get support from the government, or manage finances.

The success of these programs can be measured through a structured stress management survey and questionnaires that will be offered to parents for feedback. The parents will be able to express the impact of the benefits of this program and feedback on what they have gained. This will also provide the opportunity to know areas that are not working and plan further on how to improve.

Summary

In one way or another, everyone has faced and experienced stress, but coping with this stress is what matters. However, the stresses for parents of children with disability face are overwhelming. It is caused by numerous stressors that arise when dealing with children with disability. This leads to chronic stress, which is long-term stress that has developed coursed by different stressors. As Identified in this compendium, there are numerous ways of managing this stress, including Yoga, meditation imagery, and visualization. Offering and implementing this program will help provide parents with an outlet for their stress. By enhancing different activities and talking to them, they will be able to have a healthy life and a balanced spirit, mind, and body.

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