On the 11th of November 2017, we made our way over to the Western Province Aesthetic Resort. We were here for something a little out of the ordinary. We were here for a workshop on stress management. Organized by Global Tutor, an online e-learning platform, the APEX workshop was, according to them, a testing bed at its most basic level.
Their goal is to celebrate education and identify what stress the students are going through. The purpose of the workshop was to see how commercially viable a program of this nature would be.The audience was comprised of students from Grades 9-11 of Amana International School, Kolannawa.
The keynote speech at the APEX Workshop was given by Sinduja Nandhakumar. Sinduja, who has a MSc in psychology spoke about how to manage and handle stress in children. Rather than talking directly about stress management, Sinduja looked at it as stress and its management.
Sinduja’s session at the APEX Workshop involved a grounding technique to refresh and relax the participants to take part in the interactive session. They were asked to imagine themselves holding a beach ball. Then, after taking a deep breath, they would push the beach ball down, signifying them taking a deep breath to inhale and exhale very slowly. This in turn would relax their muscles, and ultimately reducing whatever stress they were in.
How did they feel? Well, one felt Okay, and one other felt good. The point being that we don’t do these things very often. The process of simply taking a deep breath, you are more mindful and you’re more aware of what’s happening in your body. When you take time for yourself, you can assess what you’re feeling.
Stress is a natural manageable part of life, Sinduja says. It is how we physically, mentally or emotionally react to various conditions, changes and demands of life. This is deeply rooted in the fight or flight response.
So what are the stress that these students would go through? Most replied saying it was about the future, homework, exams. In short, we all experience stress. Be it someone saying something we don’t like or someone physically attacking us, we all feel stress because we feel the need to defend ourselves. If you break down stress as a concept, you have a stimulus, a response and an ongoing interaction between you and the environment.
There are two types of stress: Eustress and Distress. Eustress is good stress related to positive feelings and good health, whereas distress is related to negative feelings and ill health. People mostly refer to Distress.
These can be categorized as micro stressors and major stressors. Micro would be daily hassles, major would be death in the family, natural disasters, etc. the problem is that over time, we fail to differentiate between the two, and thus react to both categories in an identical manner.
We need to pay attention to how our body responds to stressful situations because when we’re stressed, our bodies respond in specific ways. Sinduja then went to a more theoretical approach where she laid out a flowchart of how stress affects a person. Be it breaking things, to eating a lot, to being passive aggressive, we all have our own methods of dealing with stress.
Sinduja’s next topic at the APEX Workshop was about cognitive responses to stress. These can be quite threatening and demanding and it works in tandem with stressors. One of the biggest problems we have is that we don’t know how to identify our emotions.
She then spoke about the emotional responses to stress such as worrying, feeling hopeless, anger, anxiety, depression, burnout and irritability. Behavior response to stress – being on edge, hypervigilance, aggression, sleep problems, fidgeting, loss of libido.
The participants of the APEX Workshop then went on into a group activity about a stressful event checklist. Here they would list down stressors. The participants came on stage to talk about what stresses them. This ranged from exams, to assignments of the organizing committee, to being at the seminar itself. We go through our day without stopping to identify what stresses us and that in turn can affect us negatively.
The session then went on to a small role-play on health coping strategies. Using 4 volunteers, the session was about an individual who was going through issues in her life such as assignment deadlines, family problems etc. The 3 others would in turn offer their advice on how to deal with these problems. They then asked the audience what advice they would give as well. Their answers ranged from taking a deep breath, to having patience to talking to their parents or best friends.
The reality is that we already know the solution to our problems, but if so, why do we talk to others? It’s because we want someone to listen to us. When you listen to someone, you don’t listen to respond, rather you should listen to understand. Herein lies the problem as in most scenarios, we tend to advice people as a response rather than understand what they’re going through.
In terms of healthy coping strategies, Sinduja spoke about self-care, learning to say no, talking to parents, talking to a counselor, meditation and exercising and even resting. With relation to self-care, we need to learn to love ourselves first. It’s hard to say no, but it’s something we must learn to manage it. If we do something we don’t like to, then that can be stressful.
This can range from stealing, to writing on walls, to self-harm or suicidal tendencies, over or undereating, substance abuse, social withdrawal, lack of punctuality.
The APEX Workshop had another mental exercise on visualization. They were asked to find a private calm space and to make themselves comfortable, essentially to find their happy place. The exercise went on to prove that they could always go back to this place when they needed to. Many people tend to associate emotions with physical problems, hence somatization of issues such as stress is more prevalent.
Following the exercise, Sinduja’s next topic at the APEX Workshop was about time management. It is important to prioritize what is important in your life. Not doing so can lead to procrastination. We all do it. But this can be overcome. We can break down tasks into smaller manageable tasks. We can even implement a buddy system where you find a friend to hold you accountable for your work. This works a lot with certain age groups. You can even eat the frog, not literally but in a metaphorical level where you complete the biggest task first.
In short, you need to compartmentalize what you need to do. Sindja emphasized that you don’t have to please everyone. Understanding your own stress helps you discover a healthy coping mechanism to replace unhealthy ones. It also allows you to gain a better understanding of dealing with life situations in a healthier way. More importantly, it’s always important to know that you can get help.
Following a short refreshment break, the students participating in the APEX Workshop were grouped up into 6 teams, each with 10 members each. They were asked to take part in group activities located across the hall. Each of these activities revolved round a central theme.
Each team would take part in each activity and be scored accordingly by the activity. The team with the highest score would be the winner. This was to encourage these skills.
Following the activities, we had Mohammed Fawaz, CEO of Global Tutor, addressing the students at the APEX Workshop. He started off by asking the students what they wanted to be when they were older. He then went on to explain that there are over 7000 subject matter experts in the industry.
From aeronautical engineers, to doctors, to lawyers etc. the point being that the jobs that they want may not be created just yet. He emphasized that no one can tell you what you should do. Rather, it’s upto these students to be ready for the future. The future is not defined. Its upto them to define it.
In essence, Fawaz encouraged the students to be confident in themselves and to always have a thirst to learn new things. Be sure about what you want to do. Ask questions. Learn what is happening in your area of study.
With that Fawaz’s speech came to an end. With awards being presented to the winning teams, the first APEX workshop carried out by Global Tutor came to an end.
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Venture Frontier Lanka is bringing experts in entrepreneurship from around the country to cities throughout Sri Lanka to train local entrepreneurs to think differently about the ventures they will start.
Venture Frontier Lanka is bringing experts in entrepreneurship from around the country to cities throughout Sri Lanka to train local entrepreneurs to think differently about the ventures they will start. A caravan stop consists of different sessions about creating unique ideas for startup ventures and strategies for financing those ideas.
Come join the sessions on the 19th of December, starting with 2 pm at Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology.
The event is free of charge! REGISTRATION is mandatory for this event
(Wednesday) 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
SLIIT, New Kandy Road, Malabe
Early Bird till the 16th of Dec: 20% discount Likuid Members: 20% discount Female/Social Entrepreneurs (Locals Only): 50% discount Join for a one day workshop where we unchain the collective wisdom and creativity
Early Bird till the 16th of Dec: 20% discount
Likuid Members: 20% discount
Female/Social Entrepreneurs (Locals Only): 50% discount
Join for a one day workshop where we unchain the collective wisdom and creativity to help each other having a more productive digital nomad new year and build better cooperations for teamwork.
During this peer to peer learning session you can share your experiences to help others and learn from other practitioners. Together, dive into the most painful problems and brainstorm on solutions. It’s for you if you resonate with some of these questions:
How do I integrate work, life and travel?
How do I keep motivated to achieve?
How do I keep engaged with a client?
How do I manage my time and energy?
How do I get clients?
How do I find people to collaborate with?
How to deal with time differences?
How can I make human interactions with slack profiles?
How to set realistic goals in constantly changing environment?
What are the best tools & methods for productivity?
What’s the secret of aligned teams?
What are the best skills for a digital nomad?
ABOUT THE METHOD:
“We create space for meaningful conversations, experimental and peer to peer learning. Nothing frontal, no preaching. But space for your very unique questions.”
+ Full-day mentored learning program
+ Breakfast on the roof
+ BBQ lunch on the roof
+ Goodie bags & Take-home handbooks
+ Post-event networking
ABOUT THE HOST:
Kitti is a digital nomad herself and a marketing consultant for innovative companies and early stage startups. She is a conversation ambassador for tedxdanubia, hosted meaningful conversations on ideas worth spreading. In the past years she worked in self organized teams, practiced facilitation, joined peer to peer networks, decentralized teams and cocreated a collective of freelancers. She is a cofounder of a sustainability startup that just secured its first round of investment. Worked as a mentor for many startups, and in the meantime she visited more than 15 countries.
Are you a Sri Lankan female entrepreneur or a local social business? Reach out for your discounted tickets!
PRICE IN SRI LANKAN RUPEES:
Regular: LKR 5000
Early Bird till 16th of Dec: LKR 4000
Likuid Members: LKR 4000
Female/Social Entrepreneurs (Locals Only): LKR 2500
(Saturday) 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
5 Charles Place 00300 Colombo, Sri Lanka
Karthik ( Associate Director, DTCC & Co-organiser of Hyperledger Chennai Meetup) will be here for the 2nd Hyperledger meetup. He will share his experience with Hyperledger and Business application of Blockchain
Karthik ( Associate Director, DTCC & Co-organiser of Hyperledger Chennai Meetup) will be here for the 2nd Hyperledger meetup.
He will share his experience with Hyperledger and Business application of Blockchain technologies.
1. Work with Hyperledger Fabric and Explorer.
2. Business use case with Hyperledger Blockchain Framework
3. Q&A session
This is a Free session. Register here
(Friday) 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Startup X Foundry
07, Charles Place, Colombo 03, Colombo
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