10 Tips for Handling Stress


Stress isn’t new. But stress in the workplace is a big deal in Canada these days. In fact, the Mental Health Commission of Canada says that mental health problems and illnesses are the leading cause of short‐ and long‐term disability in Canada. And some studies suggest that up to 60-70% of workplace incidents may be caused or influenced by stress.

As a result, the Mental Health Commission, together with the Bureau de normalisation du Québec and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), released a draft National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace on Nov. 1, 2011. (We’ll let you know when the final standard is released.)

The American Institute of Stress has tips on dealing with stress:

  1. Identify the sources of your stress and determine how to either avoid them or minimize their effects.
  2. Distinguish between sources of stress that are inescapable and those on which you can act.
  3. Use stress-release techniques or activities, such as exercise, meditation, acupuncture, listening to music, playing with a pet, etc.
  4. Understand that stress impacts different people differently.
  5. Know that it’s often not events themselves that cause stress but how we perceive those events.
  6. Learn to be assertive and responsible to help reduce stress.
  7. Manage your time to allow for relaxation, recreation and sleep.
  8. Establish appropriate goals instead of reaching for something unrealistic.
  9. Develop a strong support system.
  10. Avoid resorting to drugs and/or alcohol to manage your stress.

OHS Resources

For more information on stress and psychological safety in the workplace, go to our Psychological Safety Compliance Center, which includes tools such as a stress prevention at work checklist, psychological harassment policy and an infographic.