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Students Learning to Recognize, Address Stress Online

UL Online -- Mon, 08/31/2020 - 1:34pm

Identifying, addressing, and managing stress requires a unique set of tools. Through the online HLTH 451 course, adjunct instructor Johan Adendorff helps students create that toolbox.

Johan Adendorff photo

Students learn to develop and deploy creative problem-solving strategies by analyzing and addressing actual scenarios they’re facing at school, home, work, and in their relationships.

Adendorff says students learn:

  • To recognize major and minor stressors.
  • That they do not have to have the answers to everything.
  • To identify, address, and resolve stress in relationship issues.
  • Exceptional problem-solving.

Although the course doesn’t have any prerequisites, it does build on concepts introduced in 200- and 300-level health courses in which students learn about the physiological signs of stress and potential impact on individuals’ health if not addressed.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness symptoms of stress include:

  • Headaches.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Jaw pain.
  • Changes in appetite.
  • Frequent mood swings.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Feeling overwhelmed.

“What’s lacking for students is, ‘I know all these facts but what do I do with it, how do I deal with it, how do I manage my activities in the time allotted?’” Adendorff says. 

During the course, students move through three primary assignments to take the knowledge they have about stress and learn to apply it in meaningful ways.

A key stressor for students is time management. In order for them to address this pain point, Adendorff begins the course by asking students to reframe how they think about time and identify their priorities.

“Time management is an illusion. You cannot manage time,” Adendorff says. “You cannot stop the clock. All you can manage is how many things you try to do in the 24 hours that you have available to you.

“It’s managing your life instead of managing your time.”

Then, students identify a challenge they’re facing and develop three or four solutions to that challenge. Students then implement that solution for the duration of the term.

“It’s a little bit of problem-solving, but it’s also getting to connect with students on a personal level,” Adendorff says. “The majority of students will say, ‘My plan actually worked!’”

Finally, students must identify what works and what doesn’t when dealing with their particular stressors.

“I ask them to identify stressors in their life, how they deal with them, what works and doesn’t work, then what gives them comfort,” Adendorff says. “For all the future stressors they’re going to endure, they make themselves a toolbox of things that help them reduce stress in their life.”

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Kailey Hanks earned her bachelor’s degree online in Health Promotion and Wellness and says Adendorff’s stress management course helped her narrow her career plans and equipped her for positions working with new moms and families.

“One of my favorite classes was stress management,” she says. “I knew I wanted to promote that in some fashion. Knowing those approaches helped working with parents, especially moms.”

By the end of the course, Adendorff says, students are able to take what they’ve learned in the course and apply it to any work-related issue to develop satisfactory solutions.

“Complaining is therapeutic,” Adendorff says, “however resolving issues gives us a sense of self-realization and power.”

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s online undergraduate degree programs prepare you to excel in the workforce while growing personally and academically. Request information today about how to apply and enroll. Terms start five times a year!