HLTWHS006 Manage Personal Stressors In The Work Environment

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ContentsBefore you begin viiTopic 1 Develop strategies to manage personal stress 11A Recognise sources of stress in your own job role 21B Recognise triggers and your own response to stress 61C Identify strategies to effectively prevent, reduce and manage stress 101D Identify internal and external options and resources for additional support 141E Develop a personal stress management plan that responds to identifiedstressors and triggers 19Summary 22Learning checkpoint 1: Develop strategies to manage personal stress 23Topic 2 Implement stress management strategies 252A Use strategies from your stress management plan that address personaltriggers and stressors 262B Organise your own workload to minimise stress, and inform relevantpersonnel of any variations and difficulties 312C Identify and adopt strategies to balance work–life priorities 35Summary 40Learning checkpoint 2: Implement stress management strategies 41Topic 3 Evaluate stress reducing strategies 433A Monitor and review the effectiveness of stress management strategies 443B Adjust strategies not meeting the desired outcome and recognise whenadditional resources and/or support is needed 493C Access internal or external options and resources for additional support tomeet desired outcomes of the stress management plan 51Summary 54Learning checkpoint 3: Evaluate stress reducing strategies 55 v

HLTWHS006 MANAGE PERSONAL STRESSORS IN THE WORK ENVIRONMENT1ARecognise sources of stress inyour own job roleThe behaviour of people requiring support (clients)and workplace situations can be major sourcesof stress for workers. On a daily basis, a supportworker may deal with people who are emotional,aggressive or noncompliant, or the worker couldbe managing a heavy workload and feel like theyhave no support. Other circumstances may bethat the worker is providing palliative care supportor that they are faced with the sudden loss of aperson they had been supporting.The way a person reacts to a situation will differfrom person to person. Some people are calm,cool-headed and do not react to stressful situations in a visible way. However, they maystore up their stress and display it in different ways or at a later time. Other people mayhave difficulty managing their reactions to a stressful situation and feel angry, upset orfrustrated. They may exhibit this behaviour by becoming impatient with the people theyare supporting, being abrupt or rude to the person and co-workers, or becoming upset.Recognise stressIn its simplest form, stress is the pressure or tension exerted on a person. Somestress is useful and makes us feel motivated and alive. This type of stress can help usby providing a drive to succeed at the work we do and the support we provide. Otherstress can worry us and undermine our ability to cope both physically and mentally.It can drain us, cause illness, absenteeism, accidents, industrial disputes and staffturnover.What may be a good stress for one person may be a threatening stimulus to another;what one person finds stressful, another may not. Whether or not you react witha stress response and whether the reaction to the stress is useful or draining willdepend upon your awareness of how stress is impacting your life and your ability toidentify strategies to cope with the stress.It is important to remember that all stress, even theuseful type, is only meant to be a short, time-limitedresponse. Experiencing stress for long periods of timecan have serious health consequences.Sources of stressWhile working in the health and community sector,you may be faced with complex client behaviour. Thisbehaviour may vary in people with different forms ofdementia, mental illness or cognitive deficiency. Inmany of the settings where people receive support, there are a number of people withthe same behavioural issues all in the one place. Their demands can be constant.It can be upsetting to see people who are distressed or angry, and it can be frighteningto be with someone who is angry or aggressive, even violent. It can be frustrating2 ASPIRE TRAINING & CONSULTING

HLTWHS006 MANAGE PERSONAL STRESSORS IN THE WORK ENVIRONMENTComplex noncompliant behaviourXXNoncompliant behaviour refers to serious and continual refusal to comply withrequests or expected behaviours.XXA person who is noncompliant may continually refuse to obey instructions suchas to take medication or attend appointments. It can be extremely frustrating forthe support worker and can put the person’s health, wellbeing and life at risk.XXThe complex behaviours described above are not necessarily independent ofeach other. People may often display one or more types of complex behaviour atthe same time, further increasing the stress of the support person.Stress caused by grief and lossA palliative care environment is one in which there may be much suffering, pain,distress, anger and grief. The person may suffer pain and before their death, whentheir family members and friends place their own demands on the worker. This can beupsetting for workers who have come to know the person and have provided supportover a significant period of time. This would also apply to workers who may support aperson at risk of suicide or self-harm.Dealing with ethical issues such as ending a person’s life by taking them off a lifesupport system or not providing further treatment is very emotional. In the same way,a person taking their own life while under your care is also very stressful. For thesereasons and more, workers must be trained to cope with death and bereavement.Stressful working conditions and incidentsA lack of resources, support and training can cause stressful working conditions.Support workers may be required to work in adverse conditions; for example, in privatehomes that may be cramped or not properly cleaned. They may be required to workalone or with limited facilities and may need to deal with people other than just theperson they support.In your work you will probably have a set number oftasks to achieve in a certain amount of time. If youwork in people’s homes, you may only have an hourto complete your work, before you need to move tothe next person you are supporting. If you work in aresidential facility, you may have a list of support tasksthat must be completed for a number of residentsbefore a certain time of day.As discussed earlier, people with complex behaviourscan have difficulty understanding simple instructions or concepts; they may beargumentative or refuse your support. All these things can slow you down and maycause stress, especially if your supervisor expects you to complete work to a fixedtimetable.Additionally, extraordinary incidents can cause stress as the support worker may notbe experienced enough or trained to deal with them. These incidents are those thathappen unexpectedly and/or rarely. In most workplaces, extraordinary incidents will befollowed with a debriefing. You will learn more about debriefing later in this unit.4 ASPIRE TRAINING & CONSULTING

Topic 1 Develop strategies to manage personal stressRecognise responses to stressMany people experience the symptoms of work-related stress at some stage in theirworking lives. You should never ignore the signs of stress. It is important to learn torecognise your reactions and responses to stress and understand what has causedthat stress.Here are some examples of questions to ask yourself when reflecting on triggers tostress at work.Things to consider about triggers for stress:Think about how you are feeling, and how you are interacting with others.XX Are you less open with people? Do you feel you don’t have the time or ‘headspace’to deal with people?XX Look at the way you are interacting with the people you support. Are you runningout of patience and getting angry?XX Consider your health. Are you unusually unwell or tired? Do you often getheadaches?XXResponses to stressA worker can learn to manage stress by firstly being aware of the causes, triggers,symptoms and their effects, as listed below.CausesXXExcessive or demanding workloadXXInsufficient organisational support or resourcingXXClient behaviourXXConflict with co-workers or managementXXConstant changeXXJob insecurityXXHarassment, bullying or discriminationXXInadequate job trainingSymptomsXXAnxiety or feelings of being unable to copeXXDecrease in work performanceXXDepressionXXAbsenteeismXXSleeping difficulties, such as insomniaXXCognitive difficulties, such as a reduced ability to concentrate or make decisionsXXFatigueXXIncreased aggression 7

HLTWHS006 MANAGE PERSONAL STRESSORS IN THE WORK ENVIRONMENT1CIdentify strategies to effectivelyprevent, reduce and managestressOnce you have identified that you are experiencingstress, it is important to manage your stress.Unmanaged, prolonged stress can cause seriousphysical and mental health issues. There aremany ways to manage stress, and everyone doesso in different ways. It is important that you findthe strategy that works best for you.Stress management strategiesThere are three steps to managing stress:Prevent the stress – can the stressor beremoved to prevent the stress?XX Reduce the stress – can the situation be changed to reduce the stress response?XX Manage the stress – if the situation can’t be changed then you need to managethe stress.Naturally prevention is the best solution; however, as we have learnt, many job rolesand workplaces are inherently stressful. This is where strategies to build resilience tostress andXXStrategies to prevent stressBeing proactive about preventing stress is up to the individual.Here are some techniques or activities you can use to prevent stress.Get plenty of rest and take breaksYou cannot function properly at work or deal with issues that are causing youstress if you are tired. It is important to make sure you get enough sleep and takeyour allocated breaks when at work. A rested mind and body will cope better withstressful situations.Eat properlyEating a well-balanced diet keeps you healthy as it provides you with the energy youneed. Being well and having energy will help you deal with stress. Make sure youtake your meal and tea breaks when working. Have a healthy snack or meal at thesetimes to maintain your energy levels.Limit alcohol intakeAlcohol is a known depressive and although some people like to have a drink at theend of the day (ironically, to deal with their stress or relax) too much alcohol canheighten anxiety. Additionally, going to work with a hangover can cause you to betired, agitated and grumpy, and make you more susceptible to stress.10 ASPIRE TRAINING & CONSULTING

HLTWHS006 MANAGE PERSONAL STRESSORS IN THE WORK ENVIRONMENTStrategies to manage stressIn some cases, the situation that is causing you stress cannot be changed. It may benecessary for you to remain in a stressful situation in order to fulfil your work role. Ifyou are unable to reduce stressors or decrease the stress you are experiencing, it isimportant to find some way to reduce the negative effect the stress has on you. Sometechniques for this include: meditation, yoga, exercise, self-talk and relaxation training.Other strategies can include undertaking professional development so you have moreinformation about the situation.ExampleIt is important to ask for help when you are unable to control stressors or manageyour stress alone. You can ask your supervisor for help to manage stress and stressfulsituations.Identify strategies to effectively prevent, reduce and managestressEric works in a community services environment and is ahardworking and supportive member of his team. Latelythere have been a lot of people on Eric’s team who havebeen off sick. Some days, Eric finds himself feeling likehe is the only one still working and as though he is doingthe job of three people.Yesterday Eric had so much work to do that he did notknow how he could possibly get it all done. To make itworse he had to provide care to a lady with memory losswho took forever to do even the simplest things. By lunchtime Eric was so far behindthat he felt overwhelmed. Unfortunately, at the same time, a fellow support workernamed Carla asked Eric if he could show her how to do something. It felt like the laststraw for Eric and he yelled ‘Am I the only person on this team with a brain? Can’tanyone else do anything for themselves around here?’Carla burst into tears and said not to worry and that she would work it out herself.Later that afternoon, Eric felt terrible about his behaviour and spoke to his supervisorElliot about what had happened, and how he was feeling. Eric told Elliot that he hadnot been sleeping very well and noticed that he was always worrying about work andno longer had the energy to spend time on the things he enjoyed. Elliot arrangedfor Eric to have a mentor at work to help him find ways to cope with stress. He alsorecommended that Eric spend more time on things he enjoyed doing, as well asgetting enough rest and eating a well-balanced diet.Eric has noticed that since implementing these self-care strategies he feels calm andin control at work even though the work environment has not changed.12 ASPIRE TRAINING & CONSULTING

Topic 1 Develop strategies to manage personal stressstress and other aspects of their lives. This can include amenities such as provision ofbright and spacious tea rooms with tea, coffee and healthy snacks, or quiet rooms forrelaxing during breaks.Some organisations also provide health and wellness programs that include benefitssuch as financial planning sessions, workplace massage, walking groups, exerciseclasses and discount gym memberships.Debriefing sessionsAfter an extraordinary incident or particularly stressful event, a workplace may hold aformal or informal debriefing session.Formal opportunities may include meetings with a social worker and/or regular teammeetings.Here is some more information about debriefing.Formal debriefingXXFormal debriefing provides the support worker with a safe and supportiveenvironment in which to share their feelings and emotions in relation to aspecific incident. Specific debriefing meetings may be scheduled, or debriefingmay occur at team meetings to allow staff to express emotions and concernson an ongoing basis in an atmosphere that is supportive of the team member.Everyone is then permitted to talk about other difficult or stressful incidentsinvolving people in their care. Finally a discussion of how to manage a similarincident may occur.Informal debriefingXXInformal debriefing occurs on a more ad hoc basis outside a scheduleddebriefing time. It may occur after an event when talking with co-workers orsupervisors at the end of a shift, or even in the lunchroom.Timely debriefingXXTimely debriefing can assist in stabilising a workplace and ensuring that anyonerequiring specific support receives the assistance they need. Organisationsmay also provide one-on-one support by arranging professional counselling forcolleagues through an Employee Assistance Program where workers have accessto independent and confidential counselling and support to work through issuesthat are causing them stress at work.External support optionsThere are many options for managing stress outside the workplace. The actualproviders will vary per location but come under the following categories:Categories of external support options include:general practitioners (who are the first point of contact for referral to a psychologistor other professional, and may also be able to provide information about othersuitable programs)XX community health centresXX psychologists and counsellingXX relaxation classes including yoga, guided meditation, laughing groups.XX 15

1ETopic 1 Develop strategies to manage personal stressDevelop a personal stressmanagement plan that respondsto identified stressors andtriggersThere can be many sources of stress in theworkplace and everyone reacts to stress indifferent ways. By recognising the sources ofstress and our own reactions, we can developstrategies to help us prevent, reduce and managethe effects of stress.Documenting a stress management planis a practical tool to help manage stress. Itis important, when developing a plan, thatit is suitable and appropriate for our owncircumstances, and that it is practical, effectiveand suits the person’s lifestyle and financialsituation.Create a stress journalA stress management plan is a document where the sources of stress and ways tomanage stress are documented. It could be seen as a work in progress becausestrategies are added or deleted as required and when new strategies are created andothers didn’t work as well. By reviewing your journal you have useful information thatyou can refer to when developing your plan.When creating a plan, consider what you are trying to achieve. For example, if you areaiming to prevent, reduce or manage stress. You may be doing all three, in which case,there will be several sections to your plan.Before developing a stress management plan, it can be useful to start a stress journalor diary where each time you experience stress you write down the following:Items for the stress journal or diary:The date and time of the occurrenceXX The situation (what caused or was the source of the stress)XX How you felt emotionally (e.g. frightened, overwhelmed, nervous, angry)XX How you reacted physically (e.g. you raised your voice, vomited, punched a wall)XX What you did to manage your reaction (e.g. kept working, smoked a cigarette)XX What you will do next time (e.g. go for a walk, deep breathing, have a cup of tea)XX 19

Topic 2In this topic you will learnhow to:2A Use strategies from yourstress management planthat address personaltriggers and stressors2B Organise your ownworkload to minimisestress, and informrelevant personnelof any variations anddifficulties2C Identify and adoptstrategies to balancework–life prioritiesImplement stressmanagement strategiesOnce strategies to manage stress have been identified, theyneed to be implemented and trialled. Stress managementstrategies are varied and the person has a large range ofoptions from which to choose, and should use those thatare suitable and appropriate for them. A personal stressmanagement plan needs to consider the particular andpersonal triggers and stressors that occur at work or remindthe person about the stress at work.There are many specific options that allow for organising aperson’s workload to make it more efficient and thereforeless stressful. With adequate planning and prioritisation ofwork tasks and time management, stress can be reducedand the person can feel more in control of their workload.Stress felt at work inevitably runs over into stress at home,and may affect family and personal relationships. Worktowards improving the work–life balance by incorporatingself-care techniques and strategies as a way of life. Thesestrategies may also allow for the development of resilienceskills to better deal with stressful situations and reactions tostressful circumstances as they occur in the workplace. 25

Topic 2 Implement stress management strategiesStress management strategiesXXStress management strategies are those you use after you have finished work tohelp you de-stress and relax. They include massage, yoga, meditation and takingholidays.Strategies to prevent stressTwo of the most basic things everyone can do to prevent stress are eating well andgetting enough sleep. Keeping physically healthy will in turn affect other aspects of aperson’s health including their mental and social health.Eating wellEating well is about more than putting healthy food in your mouth. You need toensure you have healthy food available.Strategies may include getting up 10 minutes earlier to have a proper breakfast, ormaking your lunch the night before work rather than buying something from the localcafé. You may also need to schedule a regular trip to the supermarket to make sureyou have nutritious ingredients on hand. Consider menu planning for the week aheadif

2C Identify and adopt strategies to balance work–life priorities 35 Summary 40 Learning checkpoint 2: Implement stress management strategies 41. Topic 3. Evaluate stress reducing strategies . 43 3A Monitor and review the effectiveness of stress management strategies 44. 3B Adjust strategies not meeting the desired outcome and recognise when