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Support: Dealing with Stress in the Workplace

Individual Worker Strategies [2.10.2e 2]

The following resources provide strategies geared to individuals.

Mental Health America

Mental Health America sponsors a stress-reduction web site, Live Your Life Well. The website is designed to help you cope with stress and create more of the life you want. The web site features 10 Tools to help you feel stronger and more hopeful along with stress tests and articles.
The 10 Tools are:  
  1. Connect with others
  2. Stay positive
  3. Get physically active
  4. Help others
  5. Get enough sleep
  6. Create joy and satisfaction
  7. Eat well
  8. Take care of your spirit
  9. Deal better with hard times
  10. Get professional help if you need it

National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA) 

The following is an adaptation with permission from Stress and Burnout: A Prevention Handbook for the Alcohol and Other Drugs Workforce, by Natalie Skinner and Anne Roach from National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), Flinders University: Adelaide, Australia.
While work in the AOD field can be highly rewarding and satisfying, it can also be stressful and demanding at times. Therefore, it is important that workers play an active role in managing their own levels of stress and burnout. Interventions focused on the individual worker can be effective in reducing stress in the short-term. However, unless accompanied by changes to the work environment (i.e., organizational strategies), these techniques are not likely to have a significant long-term impact on stress and burnout. One of the most common approaches to addressing stress and burnout is to provide workers with training on stress management techniques.
Stress management techniques include: 
  • Learning cognitive coping techniques to change perceptions of stressors, e.g., change goals/expectations, reduce attachment to work, increase understanding of the causes of stress;
  • Reducing the effects of long-term strain,e.g., lifestyle changes, such as diet, exercise, and meditation; and
  • Learning new strategies to cope with demanding situations,e.g., relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, and assertiveness training. Many readers will be familiar with techniques such as cognitive behavior therapy, rational emotive therapy and relaxation techniques as part of the “tools of their trade” in an AOD counseling/treatment role. Therefore, these techniques are not discussed in detail. Instead, some strategies that you may wish to add and adapt to your existing methods of stress management are outlined in the Individual Worker Strategies section.
NCETA lists key individual-level strategies on stress management techniques:
  • Working smarter, not harder;
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle;
  • Maintaining realistic expectations and beliefs; and
  • Seeking out a mentor or clinical supervisor.
Additional information is available in the Stress and Burnout handbook. 

The ThirdPath Institute 

The ThirdPath Institute is a nonprofit, nationally-based project that works to assist individuals and organizations in balancing career aspirations with family aspirations.
ThirdPath articles of interest include:
  • Finding Flexibility provides the key factors to consider when examining how work can be done differently to create time for other life interests.
  • The Big Picture looks at what other aspects of your life influence your work, and what additional possibilities or barriers might exist in redesigning your work.
  • Making Changes at Work highlights different stories of people who have changed the work they do creating more time for family, community, and other life passions.
  • Time Over Money covers steps to create more time for life.

Additional Resources

Less Stress More Success is a PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Pauley Johnson on simple techniques to reduced stress at work.
by Susan M. Heathfield. Difficult people do exist at work. Difficult people come in every variety and no workplace is without them. How difficult a person is for you to deal with depends on your self-esteem, your self-confidence and your professional courage.
Exploration of the Impact of the Counselor's Cultural and Diversity Background on Stress Coping by Pamela K. S. Patrick, Ph.D., the emphasis of this review is to consider how and why the counselor’s cultural or diversity background may impact how the counselor responds to intense stress-response inducing counseling activities.

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