with instructor Maryse Neilson


By Therese Eley, Marketing Services

"Change is the one thing we can always count on, right? And I know for myself, the more flexible and adaptable I can be, the easier my life is and the happier I am." 

That is the inspiration behind popular instructor, Maryse Neilson's newest course offering with Continuing Studies at UVic, Riding it Out: Stress, Coping and Change in the New Normal (Feb. 16, 6–8 pm).

This is a particularly pertinent topic in our current state of the global COVID- 19 pandemic, as many of us have been faced with an unprecedented amount of change, and with it, stress.

"One of the interesting things about COVID-19 is we don't really know when it will end, and we don't really know how it's going to look when it's over. Is life going to change completely forever? Will there be some things that we can return to? Will social norms and ways of being change forever? How is this all going to end? Those are some of the questions on people's minds," Maryse explains.

"There are so many things—weddings, graduations, celebrations of life—that we've been taking for granted that are changing right now. We're having to be creative and renegotiate what is meaningful to each of us and how we are going to live in this new reality. How are we going to have these important relationships, meet new partners, maintain friendships, or see family and celebrate events in this new reality? We need tools and we need to know how to do that as well as possible." 

But Maryse sees opportunity amidst all of this change. "There are things that we can do—some ways of thinking, ways of organising our thoughts and maintaining perspective—that can make coping a lot easier for people."

That is what she is hoping to bring to learners in this class. "The benefit to taking a course like this is that [learners] can do a bit of an inventory on how stress is affecting them and how they can work on managing their thinking a little differently. They're going to learn about the stress response, they’re going to learn about ways of mitigating it, and handling it differently, and increasing their resilience to it. They’re going to develop a personalised action plan that may be specific to COVID-19, but can also then be applied to any challenging time that they face. So, it’s really going to give them a bit of a blueprint for increasing their capacity for handling stress better, differently, and maybe unlocking some potential gifts that these things can sometimes bring."

"I always want people to leave my courses feeling like they've learned something about themselves and that they feel empowered to make changes—that there are things they can do differently to make their experience better. I don't just want to impart information; I want them to experience change. This course is no different that way; I want them to walk away with a bit of a plan for how they can start adapting and using some of these skills to change their relationship with stress and to maybe feel like they’re able to handle more."

In a world where change is constant, skills around managing stress can serve us all, well beyond the pandemic.


  • Posted December 1, 2020