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Cook County Advocate • Page 2

Volume 4 • 2003

Cook County support groups learn tips to battle parenting stress

It can take up to 72 hours for the body to return to its normal state after a stressful period, said Rev. Hisbon. Many foster parents did the math and realized that a call from the school twice a week could mean that they could never return to “normal.”

Rev. Janet Hibson helps parents “de-stress” at the Northeast Foster Parent Association’s appreciation lunch

Dr. George Smith of the Management Planning Institute offered the Cook South group ideas on how to deal with the things that bring stress to avoid the negative emotional and health problems that can come if stress goes unchecked. Hopefully, the tips below will help minimize the damage.

Perhaps stress is something that parents just learn to accept and live with. But Cook County parents are tackling the problem head on and learning ways to beat stress. Both the Northeast Foster Parent Association and the Cook South Support Group meetings featured speakers on ways to spot and avoid the effects of stress.

There is a lot going on under the surface when a stressful situation arises. Within seconds of encountering a stressful situation, the adrenal glands kick in, sending adrenaline racing through the bloodstream. The arteries constrict, the heart beats faster, white blood cell production increases and red blood cells also increase. The muscles expand as the blood delivers more sugar for energy. Perspiration increases and oxygen intake increases. Just hearing a partial list of the body’s reaction to stress is enough to stress a person out.

Use these tools to chip away at stress:

  • Exercise the stress away

  • Pray or meditate

  • Take a few minutes each day to relax

  • Be cheerful

  • Plan ahead

  • Avoid abuse of drugs or alcohol

  • Write or keep a journal to get the stress out onto paper

Rev. Janet Hisbon, director of pastoral care with Life Link, offered foster and adoptive parents lessons on how to deal with what often seems like a double-portion of stress. At the Northeast Foster Parent Association, heads nodded and hands shot up to contribute to the list of stressors that ranged from spouses to children to calls from teachers. The signs were easy to read: headaches, irritability, insomnia, forgetfulness, depression, indigestion and anger, to name just a few.

  • Clip inspiring photos from magazines and keep pictures handy

  • Look for the lesson to be learned from the stressful situation

  • Realize that the problem is not always another person and can be within

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