Let’s talk about stress!

15 July 2023

Programme: Erasmus+, KA152-YOU – Mobility of young people
Project leader: Nansen Dijalog Cetnar – Croatia
Duration: VII – VIII 2023

Project goals:

-Exploring young people’s knowledge of stress and its impact on human life

-Discovering techniques for coping with stress

-Learning how to conduct workshops by participants

-Exchanging individual experiences and reflecting on stress

Project progress:

Preparatory meeting – July 11-14, 2023 – Osijek

At the beginning of July, two of our representatives – Piotr and Iga took part in a preparatory trip for the upcoming “Let’s talk about stress” project. They started their trip in Warsaw and ended in Budapest, from where they traveled to their destination – Osijek, an atmospheric city in the east of Croatia. We started the first day with… sightseeing! Osijek combines atmospheric streets and huge skyscrapers. Walking around the city was the perfect way to get some fresh air and energy before the work that awaited us at the office. We had a meeting, where together with the team from Croatia and Lithuania we discussed our expectations from the project, its assumptions and the results we want it to bring. We also discussed the rules for the participants and whether they should take towels with them. We started the next day of our visit with another meeting. We brainstormed and exchanged ideas. Together we discussed the project plan and made changes – both minor and major. It was time for a break and lunch in the form of traditional Croatian dishes. The day culminated with a concert by a local band at the community center and an art exhibition. Although the visit was not one of the longest, during it we managed to create many pleasant memories and refine the project, the results of which you will be able to admire soon during its implementation.

Day One: Welcome to the jungle!

On the first day after landing in Zagreb, ROE representatives had the opportunity to explore the Croatian capital. At the time, they didn’t know how big a contrast awaited them at the place where they would spend the next few days. They were talking about a mountain resort in the village of Omanovac, located on top of one of the mountains, surrounded by dense forests. One could only dream about access to running water!

After reaching the place and resting, there was an integration of participants from Poland, Croatia and Lithuania, and an introduction to the main topic of the project.

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Day two: Setting the rules

After breakfast, the entire group and their mentors met to discuss expectations for the project. It was determined what the youth would like to learn, what the trainers and leaders conducting specific workshops should focus on, as each day a different pair of participants took on the role of activity leader.

Then, in groups, the youth analyzed the concept of stress and shared their experiences.

Day three: Workshops of Wiktoria and Marcelina

From the morning, the ROE representatives led a workshop on the harmful effects of stress. After the energizer, it was time to divide the participants into international groups. Each group was to focus on one negative effect of stress and then prepare a poster on that topic. After that, all groups presented their work and a discussion on the problems presented followed.

Later in the day, participants took part in another debate on stress and the factors that cause it.

After dinner, the organizers prepared an evening of games, which made the time more pleasant and provided another opportunity to integrate in international groups.

Wiktoria Derlatka

“My best memory from the exchange is mainly of the people I spent those 10 days with. The place where we were had an amazing environment, allowed us to calm down and reflected the actual atmosphere of the project theme. This trip will always be in my heart and I would love to repeat it.”

Day Four: Relaxing with nature

The day began with a “Forest bathing” session led by an expert from Lithuania. This is a Japanese exercise in which you unite with the forest using your senses – smell, hearing and sight. Its purpose is to open and clear the mind.

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The next block of classes was taken over by another team from Poland, this time Wiktoria, Natalka and Iga. The topic of the girls’ workshop was debating – how it helps in communication. The leaders planned an interesting activity for the participants, namely table debate. Three tables were prepared and, similarly, one of the topics was assigned to each table:

Each group debated for 20 minutes on the chosen topic. After this time there was a change and the next group took over the task.

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abawny via memes. Divided into groups, participants were tasked with creating memes or recording short funny videos related to stress management. After a break, each group presented their creations. There was no shortage of laughter in the process!

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Day five: Outdoor activities

This day can be described in one word: fun! Participants visited a forest resort in a nearby village, where they could enjoy activities prepared for them all day, such as archery, volleyball and water sports.

Day six: How to relax with music

In the morning, participants went on a guided walk for several hours. Traversing the forest paths, the youngsters learned more techniques for clearing their minds and fighting stress.

After the walk, the drumming session began. It was led by Croatian drummer Branko Trajkov. The musician taught the group how to expel all negative emotions by hitting the drums. There was a lot of fun involved, and for some the session was the most interesting part of the program.

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Piotr Styczeń

“During the drum workshop, we all relaxed a lot and were able to have a great time with the presenter and de-stress after a long walk.”

At the end of the day, an intercultural evening was held. Poland, Lithuania and Croatia prepared a table with snacks from each country. In addition, participants were divided into three groups that moved between tables and asked pre-prepared questions about the traditions of each country.

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Day seven: How funny activities can help with stress?

After breakfast, a mindfulness session was held. Once again the group went to nature to clear the mind with the help of nature.

The next block of activities was taken over by the team from Lithuania. The leaders provided the others with a boost of creativity, as the task of the divided participants was to create mandalas from ingredients found in the forest. Mandalas are an artistic motif found mainly in the art of Tantric Buddhism, where its creation and subsequent destruction – as a path of transformation for the practitioner – is considered a type of meditation

In the evening, a “Karaoke night” was planned. The entire group met in a nearby gazebo, where those willing could showcase their vocal skills solo or in a group.

Day Eight: Other ways of dealing with stress

After the morning energizer, it was time for another workshop prepared by ROE representatives. Lena and Ania divided the participants into several groups, whose task was to record tiktoks about stress, which were then published on the Internet and constituted an awareness campaign.

After that, the Croatian leaders presented their idea for an activity conducive to combating stress. It was the folding of origami cubes.

Day nine: Time to say goodbye

The last ROE workshop was conducted by Tomek and Boris. The guys suggested that participants record short videos to raise public awareness of the negative effects of stress in everyday life. After presenting the recorded videos, all the groups brainstormed about how to spread the addressed topic among their peers.

Wiktoria then summarized all the sessions conducted by the Polish team.

The final element of the exchange was the evaluation. All the participants met to share their impressions of the project, the knowledge they gained, and to reminisce about their favorite moments. Everyone unanimously agreed that after almost ten days spent together it was hard to say goodbye and return to their reality. It was an extremely touching moment, culminating in the youthpass ceremony.

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“Croatia is an unforgettable experience for me, together with other project participants we had a unique opportunity to talk and learn from each other good practices related to stress management, in an environment that was ideal for this. The lack of range became a definite advantage for me, and the forests and mountains around us seemed to have a similar effect to the workshops conducted. The knowledge acquired during the exchange helps me every day.”

Borys Bajdo



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