Dr. Jay Winner of the Sansum Clinic is helping people with video series
A third of Americans are showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression.
That’s according to a recent study by the Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
With stress levels reaching an all-time high during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sansum Clinic’s Dr. Jay Winner has launched a free 11-episode stress management video series.
The series is called “Coping with COVID-19 and Future Challenges: Stress Reduction for the 21st Century.”
You can watch the series at stressremedy.com or on Sansum Clinic’s YouTube channel.
“It is imperative that we address how stress from the global pandemic is impacting our emotional and physical health,” Dr. Winner said. “My hope is that this series gives people real tools to help them better manage stress now, during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the future.”
Originally from Baltimore, Dr. Winner has been a family physician at the Sansum Clinic since 1991 and has nearly 30 years of experience helping people manage their stress.
“One of the reasons I got into family practice was because I wanted to take care of the whole person,” Dr. Winner told the News-Press.
Shortly after starting at Sansum, Dr. Winner founded the clinic’s stress reduction program in 1992 where he teaches stress reduction classes for community members. In addition, Dr. Winner authored the book, “Relaxation on the Run,” which gives people simple methods to reduce stress.
Lately, Dr. Winner has been going around the country giving lectures on how to successfully manage stress. His talks have included programs on dealing with physician burnout.
Dr. Winner said the idea for the video series came after he was unable to continue teaching his stress reduction classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Originally, he contemplated teaching the stress reduction classes via Zoom video conferencing but ultimately decided to create a video series instead to reach the largest number of people and maximize the amount of information.
“If we’re gonna go through all this trouble, why not have something that will be more enduring — and not be limited to only having a small class that had to be there live? Let’s have a whole video that the wider community can access and use,” Dr. Winner said.
He said managing one’s stress is important for improving many areas such as physical health, relationships, and performance at work and school. He also noted that if stress is not handled properly, it can exacerbate almost any medical condition.
According to Dr. Winner, the stress created by COVID is different from normal stress because it is prolonged, which makes it difficult for people to manage.
Dr. Winner explained that during a normal stress response, the body releases epinephrine and norepinephrine, which are hormones and neurotransmitters.
However, during prolonged stress, the body releases cortisol into the bloodstream. Although cortisol has many positive qualities, it also has negative effects such as reducing disease immunity and increasing belly fat, which has been linked to putting people at higher risk of having a heart attack.
Dr. Winner said although the videos were created because of COVID, he believes they contain techniques that will help people deal with normal everyday stress.
“All of the techniques are really things that would be useful for any stress of the modern day era so that was really the intention to have something that would be useful right now but also stay useful for 20 years,” Dr. Winner said.
According to a Sansum Clinic news release, “Each episode of the series examines a different aspect of stress and how it can be reduced. Dr. Winner explains the causes of stress, and how practices such as mindfulness, meditation, reframing your perspective and the management of difficult emotions can all lower the angst and distress felt by so many.”
Dr. Winner said that by practicing techniques like mindfulness and meditation continuously throughout the day, people can dramatically improve their stress levels in a very short period.
“I think that’s the biggest thing is realizing that there’s so much that you can do in just a few seconds and the idea is that if you do that frequently throughout the day as opposed to the stress building and building and building you can keep your stress at a lower level,” Dr. Winner said. “So if you take a mindful breath or really taste your food or reframe something and do that 20 times a day, 50 times a day, the stress never builds up to a level that would be really causing you a lot of grief and medical problems.”
Going forward, Dr. Winner said although the old stress surrounding COVID may not be as prevalent, people will start encountering new stress as they start going back to work. He noted that’s especially true for workers who are in constant contact with people throughout the day.
In addition to the video series, stressremedy.com includes information on Dr. Winner’s book.
“I think all of us have this opportunity to make a positive difference,” Dr. Winner said. “That’s one of the things that really makes life fulfilling and when we can all feel like we’re making things better for the people around us and our community I think that’s great.”
To watch a stress management video series, go to stressremedy.com or on Sansum Clinic’s YouTube channel.