With recent changes in the Canadian economy, work these days might look and feel a bit different. Your workplace may have had to tighten spending or reorganize or reduce their workforce. You might have had a change or expansion in your responsibilities or be expected to do more with less. You might be struggling with an environment of rapid change, or worrying about what other changes are still to come.

All of us experience periods of stress or have to face adversity from time to time. In fact, stress can be a positive force in our lives. As anyone who has experienced an impending deadline knows, our performance is known to peak under periods of moderate stress as long as the stress isn’t prolonged. So while you can’t change the fact that stressful things happen, you can control the way you respond to these events and how you move past them.

Read: Workplace stress is killing employees

Resiliency is the ability to cope with, bounce back from and adapt to stress or difficult circumstances. Though everyone is born with natural resilience, sometimes that ability can be diminished over time through things that happen to us, or from being under duress for long periods of time.

Resilience is acknowledged as a both an important coping mechanism and as a vital element of good mental health. And while you may feel that your resilience has been worn down, it can be learned and strengthened with practice.

Read: Mental Health Week resources/articles

Here are some strategies that you can keep top of mind to help you adapt and respond positively to change, and help you and your employees build your resilience:

Stay positive – While resilient people certainly see the negative side of a situation, they tend to balance the negative with positive thoughts. They view difficult situations as temporary, and avoid seeing problems as insurmountable. They also practice gratitude despite their current circumstances.

Focus on what is within your control – Don’t waste your time and energy worrying about things that haven’t happened. Set short, mid-range and long-term goals for yourself in the context of the change, and focus on reaching those goals. Create your own structure through ambiguity; plan ahead, break tasks into manageable chunks, and set priorities of what you can reasonably accomplish.

Leverage adversity as an opportunity to learn – Resilience also means how well a person’s uses what they’ve learned from a difficult situation to better cope and adapt in the future. Using the lessons learned from past experiences and the experiences of those around you can also build your confidence in your ability to overcome challenges and thrive.

Read: The ROI of EFAPs

Be flexible – Try to keep an open mind and listen to others without judgment, considering a different point of view. Remember that different challenges require different strategies in response, so be prepared to pivot.

Reach out to your support network – Remember that you are not alone. Seek support from those around you who care about you, or talk things out with a colleague who may be having similar feelings and lean on each other for support. If your organization offers an employee and family assistance program (EFAP) as part of your benefits plan, consider accessing self-help or counselling services from your EFAP as an additional support.

Employers can help build resilient workplaces by adopting the national Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, using best practices in change management when an organization is experiencing periods of change, and encouraging open communication between employees and leadership.

Read: Help with the standard on mental health

Leveraging the resources of your EFAP for the organization at large, either by offering workshops or targeted communications materials, or simply by reminding your employees of the availability of the services available through EFAP can also be of help during times of uncertainty. Workplaces that foster physical health through a culture of wellness also tend to foster resilience as well.

Change is a fact of life, and can be an opportunity for personal development and growth. Resilience is a key characteristic in helping us successfully move forward, stronger.

Kim Siddall is an associate vice-president with Aon. She has more than 20 years of experience in the health and benefits industry. These are the views of the author and not necessarily those of Benefits Canada.
Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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Here’s an article for use with your staff!

Friday, May 08 at 12:59 pm | Reply


Excellent article.

Monday, May 18 at 2:16 pm | Reply

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