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There are many ways to be proactive when dealing with stress. Do not forget that elements of the workplace itself can be a cause of stress. Mental fitness, self help, taking healthy steps, stress management training, and counselling services can be helpful to individuals, but do not forget to look for the root cause(s) of the stress and to address them.
Employers and organizations are encouraged to see these other OSH Answers documents about how to help prevent stress in the workplace:
However, in some cases, the origin of the stress is something that cannot be changed immediately. Therefore, finding ways to help maintain personal good mental health is also essential.
Below is a quiz from the Canadian Mental Health Association to help identify the extent of a person’s stress:
|What's Your Stress Index|
|DO YOU FREQUENTLY:||YES||NO|
|Neglect your diet?|
|Try to do everything yourself?|
|Blow up easily?|
|Seek unrealistic goals?|
|Fail to see the humour in situations others find funny?|
|Make a 'big deal' of everything?|
|Look to other people to make things happen?|
|Have difficulty making decisions|
|Complain you are disorganized?|
|Avoid people whose ideas are different from your own?|
|Keep everything inside?|
|Have few supportive relationships?|
|Use sleeping pills and tranquilizers without a doctor's approval?|
|Get too little rest?|
|Get angry when you are kept waiting?|
|Ignore stress symptoms?|
|Put things off until later?|
|Think there is only one right way to do something?|
|Fail to build relaxation time into your day?|
|Race through the day?|
|Spend a lot of time complaining about the past?|
|Fail to get a break from noise and crowds?|
Adapted from: What's Your Stress Index? Canadian Mental Health Association.
Interpretation of the score (based on the number of “Yes” selections):
For some people, it may help to try to identify what causes you to have a reaction.
Record or keep a journal for a week or two to identify which situations create the most stress and how you respond to them (physical, mental, emotional). Include a brief description of each situation, answering questions such as:
Taking notes can help you find patterns among your stressors and your reactions to them.
Next, review your journal. You might find obvious causes of stress, such as the threat of losing your job or obstacles with a particular project. You might also notice subtle but persistent causes of stress, such as a long commute, pace of work, many interruptions, or an uncomfortable workspace.
Try some of the following steps:
Other mental fitness tips include:
Support may come in many ways, including:
If you continue to feel overwhelmed by work stress, you may want to talk to your doctor, a mental health professional, or psychologist who can help you better manage stress. Know when to seek help.