Recognize Stress, Tackle It and Feel in Greater Control of Your Life!

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A slide from a presentation at The Business of Child Care Conference. The title reads, "Recognize Stress, Tackle It, and Feel in Greater Control of Your Life"

Every day, child care providers are put under a great deal of stress that can lead to depression, worry and burnout. 

At the recent The Business of Child Care Conference hosted by Procare Solutions, keynote speaker Dr. Olivia Remes detailed ways to help cope in her address titled, “Recognize Stress, Tackle It and Feel in Greater Control of Your Life.”

Dr. Remes is a mental health researcher and program director of Leading Mental Health in the Workplace at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. For ten years, she has been conducting research on mental health and wellbeing, and her work has been featured by the BBC and USA Today. She offers strategies for wellbeing on BBC Radio in Cambridge and is also a life and team coach helping people tackle challenges and reach their goals in life.

She is the author of the book “The Instant Mood Fix,” which contains strategies for tackling anxiety, stress and indecision, and she has performed TED Talks related to stress and anxiety.

She is the author of the book “The Instant Mood Fix,” which contains strategies for tackling anxiety, stress and indecision, and she has performed TED Talks related to stress and anxiety.

In her keynote address to Procare Solutions customers, Dr. Remes said stress and overwhelm may lead to experiencing headaches, forgetting things, being confused, feeling tense and finding it difficult to sleep.

“We can’t take care of other people until we take care of ourselves first,” Dr. Remes told the child care providers.

This is why we have to look at our own mental health and wellbeing, she stressed.

Dr. Remes detailed negative thinking patterns that may be holding us back and influencing our wellbeing, and how we can tackle them. Let’s take a look at a few of them!

Labeling Yourself

Examples of this type of negative thinking include believing that you are inadequate or not good enough. 

And when we apply such labels to ourselves, we have a tendency to live up to those labels, no matter how negative they are.  

The antidote, Dr. Remes said, is to develop an understanding of ourselves and to develop self-compassion. 

“In the context of mental health and wellbeing, the way that we think and the way we talk to ourselves and think of ourselves – this has a significant influence on us,” she said.

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Emotional Reasoning

When this happens, we are looking to our emotions for guidance. 

She gave the example of having a gut feeling that your husband is cheating on you, even though there’s no concrete reason to believe such a thing is happening. 

But this belief, coupled with the stress of running your child care center and all the other aspects of your life, can feel real. And maybe you’ll start making decisions that are in accordance with this gut feeling, even though your husband has always been supportive and kind. 

“Feelings are not facts,” Dr. Remes said. 

In this case, the antidote is to look at the evidence. Look at the facts and ask what they are telling you, she said. 

Indecision and Negative Thoughts

a woman looks stressed with with a pile of paperwork in front on her computer

The inability to make a decision is linked to stress and frustration, Dr. Remes said. 

Perhaps you feel overwhelmed with your job and family, and you want to decide on a path to take, yet you can’t make a decision. 

Sometimes the questions you face are big. Others are smaller, such as what shirt you should wear or what food you should order at a restaurant. 

And you may experience negative thoughts, which can give way to low moods and feeling bad about ourselves. We might feel like we can’t move forward, so we take “mood-directed” actions, she said. 

“What can happen is you grind to a halt. So the action really becomes an inaction. You stop doing anything because you feel bad,” she said. 

So what can you do? 

Take goal-directed actions, she said. Think about your goals and how to achieve them. 

To do help you do that, Dr. Remes shared an expression she loves: Feel the fear and do it anyway. 

How You Can Get Back to Loving What You Do

a preschool teacher is depected telling a story to three children

Dr. Remes encourages us to see if we’re engaging in any of these negative thinking patterns. 

Knowledge is power, she said.

And knowledge comes with recognizing what you’re doing and thinking about why you’re doing it.

“Wipe the slate clean and meet yourself where you are,” she said of improving your mental wellbeing. “I know you’re dealing with many tasks and it can feel overwhelming, but when it comes to mental health, you need to be patient and take baby steps.”

Move from thinking about the past to thinking about the future. What do you want and what are your ideal outcomes? 

To watch the entire keynote speech that Dr. Remes gave at the 2022 Business of Child Care Conference hosted by Procare Solutions, click here

You also can listen to other on-demand presentations on many topics ranging from rebuilding enrollment in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, to creating strong onboarding plans to help you retain employees. Tune in on the event website, where you’ll also have access to sessions on Procare enhancements and tips on billing and payments!

About The Author

Leah Woodbury

Leah Woodbury is a content writer at Procare Solutions, using her 17 years of journalism experience to tell the stories of how our software helps child care providers manage their businesses and engage with parents. Getting live updates through the Procare app from her kids’ child care center makes her smile throughout the day.

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