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Toolbox Talk - Week 48: Wellness - Workplace Stress

Wellness - Workplace Stress - 2021.11
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This talk discusses the causes and symptoms of workplace stress and provides tips on how to manage stress.

Items for attendees to consider during talk:

  • Have you recently taken a personal inventory about how you’ve been feeling emotionally and physically?

  • Are there any work-related issues that may be causing you stress?

  • What are some ways you can manage stress?


Do you dread going to work each day? Have you felt so miserable that you want to isolate yourself from your coworkers? Do you often get headaches with no apparent cause? Do you feel burnt out when you come home from work? If so, you may be suffering from workplace stress.

Stress isn’t always bad—it even has some benefits! A little bit of stress provides you with energy and motivation; it’s what helps you rise to a challenge and meet your goals, such as deadlines, production targets, or finding new clients. It makes you alert, which helps prevent accidents or costly mistakes. However, excessive stress can interfere with your productivity and performance, impact your physical and emotional health, and affect your relationships and home life.

Unfortunately, workplace stress is a very common— yet not often addressed or managed—issue. Some major causes of workplace stress include:

  • Large workload,

  • Too much responsibility with too little authority,

  • Unpleasant or unsafe work environment,

  • Conflict or lack of support between supervisors and coworkers, and

  • Fear of being laid off.

When you feel overwhelmed at work, you lose confidence and may become angry, irritable, or withdrawn. Other signs and symptoms of extreme stress at work include:

  • Fatigue,

  • Muscle tension or pain,

  • Mood swings,

  • Trouble concentrating, and

  • Forgetfulness.


If stress on the job is negatively affecting your work performance, health, or personal life, it’s time to take action. Here are some things you can do to reduce and manage your overall stress levels:

  • Reach out. Just sharing your stress with others can be relieving. Turn to coworkers for support, confide in friends and family, and build new meaningful friendships.

  • Practice self-care. Exercise is a great way to let off some steam and get your endorphins going! It’s also important to nourish your body by eating healthy foods, staying hydrated with lots of water, and getting enough quality sleep each night (aim for 8 hours).

[You may want to present the toolbox talk “Exercise for Health and Safety” in addition to this toolbox talk.]

  • Organize. When life starts to get hectic, you can manage stress by setting priorities, developing routines, and maintaining an accurate calendar of commitments.

  • Break bad habits. Jobs can become more stressful with negative thoughts and behavior. You can make stress easier to handle by setting realistic goals, thinking positively about your work, and focusing on things you can control.

  • Be mindful. Mindfulness or maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of your thoughts can be an effective tool for reducing stress. When you practice mindfulness, you’re trying to be fully present, aware of where you are and what you’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around you.

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