Self-Care During Stressful Seasons

It’s election season in the United States. November 3, US citizens cast the final votes to determine who the next President of the United States will be. One thing is for sure. Depending on how you vote, many will be overjoyed and many will be devastated with the results. How do you plan to deal with the outcome?

This year has brought so many twists and turns. Daily unexpected events, both good and bad have become the new normal. It’s been stressful! Even for the most seasoned professional, 2020 has really given us a run for our money! “Zoom Fatigue” is the leading candidate to win this year’s most listed reason for PTO requests.  Not to be outdone, the newly diagnosed TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) tops the charts for producing the most visceral of reactions depending on what side of the political aisle you stand on.

Reacting vs Responding

Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” This statement is never more relevant that in today’s society. At OGI, we teach our students they are responsible for their thoughts, their words, their actions and managing their emotions, which includes how they respond to stressful situations. Because most of our students have experienced extreme trauma prior to enrolling in our program, they have learned to navigate the stresses that being an adult in the 21st century brings to the best of their ability. One of the most beneficial tools we empower OGI students with is learning the difference between reacting to situations vs responding to them. The two could not be more opposite. Once our students grasp the revelation that THEY can control how they respond, it’s literally life-changing for some.

When you are accustomed to high levels of stress as most of our students are, they become conditioned to allowing situations and circumstances to dictate to them instead of the other way around. Choosing to have a planned response instead of allowing an issue to produce a reaction prevents unnecessary stress.

We teach our students they CAN control themselves and choose to respond appropriately to any situation or circumstance that comes their way. It’s all a matter of choice. Whether it’s dealing with child custody issues, taxes, elections or whatever the case may be, we can plan our response to any stress we know is coming our way.

We ask our students to take an honest look at situations and circumstances they are currently dealing with and ask the question, “Am I reacting or responding? Who’s in control?” One outcome produces peace, the other additional stress and could potentially develop into anxiety, depression and even suicidal ideations. The choice is ours; it just depends on what our priorities are.

It’s so rewarding to receive an email or a text message from an OGI graduate who is excited to share how they successfully responded to a stressful situation that in the past would have produced a negative and toxic reaction causing them to regress back into destructive behaviors.

“When you REACT you are giving away your power. When you RESPOND, you are staying in control of yourself.”

– Bob Proctor

A very simple concept, but a very powerful tool that when implemented has the potential to save us from so much unnecessary drama. I’m sure you would agree, we could all use a little less drama these days. So the next time you are tempted to react instead of respond, remember, when you react, you have lost control of the one thing you can control….yourself.


OGI Executive Director Judy Lamborn designed the Life Skills component of OGI’s Culinary Arts Program model currently taught in classrooms around the world.