CDSME Student Intern Workshop Reflections

cdsmp-logoCDSME student intern Shannon Regan wrote the following reflections about her experience after completing the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program Workshop.

No phrase has ever felt more true than “Everyone has a problem” as stated by one of the leaders of the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) workshop. Every single individual has a problem in their life they are trying to work through whether it is health related or life related. After completing my final session of the 6-week program I have gotten so much from the program that I would not have been able to get elsewhere.

At the end of class every participant is asked to make an action plan for the week of something they would like to accomplish by the next session. This plan can be as simple as tackling a chore you have been meaning to get to, or trying to walk 3 days a week. Regardless of the plan, it is action specific to you and your goals. Action plans hold you accountable for not only yourself, but also to everyone else in the class who is there to help you achieve your plan.

If you happen to not succeed in your action plan, the group is there to help you brainstorm new solutions for you to try and become successful in the future. Actions plans also get you back to thinking about the positives in your life instead of focusing only on only the negatives. As one individual in the group stated “it is all about celebrating the little steps and the small accomplishes to help you self motivate”. No activity is too small to help you plan your goal.

What made this workshop an even better experience was the mixed dynamic of ages within the group. The age spectrum range from a younger population of JMU students, to a more mature group of older adults. This mixed age group helped each other problem solve a wide range of problems including helping one individual brainstorm ways to stay asleep. This open discussion based learning style makes it possible to bounce ideas off one another and come up with new ways to self manage your specific problem that you might now have been able to come up with yourself.

Self-managing comes in all different sizes. I personally may not have a chronic condition, but there are stressful aspects in my life that if I do not properly self manage, may cause me to have a chronic condition later on. As an up and coming health educator it is also useful to see how other individuals successfully self-manage so I can recommend these techniques to others in my future profession. Whether you believe you know every trick and tip for managing your life, or you feel that you know nothing at all, there is something for everyone to learn and discover about themselves by participating in CDSMP.

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