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Personal Stress and Change > Balancing Personal and Professional Life > Employee Services > Current Employees > HRS Home

Dealing with Personal Stress and Change

Stress and change in your personal life can present unique challenges. You may find the following attitude-adjustment, problem-solving, and symptom-relief strategies useful as you deal with these challenges.

Attitude adjustment

Attitudes are composed of what you think, what you value, and how you approach life. Adjusting your attitudes in the following ways may help you cope better with situations:

  • Identify what you have control over related to your attitude
  • Be aware of any persistently unhelpful attitudes, such as catastrophic thinking, personalizing, all-or-nothing thinking, over-generalizing, distorted perception, cynicism, and defensiveness
  • Practice more adaptive attitudes—be realistic, look for solvable problems, accept mistakes, deal with one situation at a time, and practice optimism
  • Imagine how you would view the situation if you were feeling strong, resilient, and realistically optimistic—you can think of this as a mental rehearsal
  • Be objective and professional at work; blow off steam away from work

Problem solving

Use the following problem-solving strategies to help deal with personal stress and changes:

  • Identify what you have control over related to your own behavior
  • Generate options for solving the problem—think of various possibilities
  • Gather information that may help you solve your problem
  • Identify your internal resources (strengths, talents, skills, experience, motivation) and external resources (sources of information, family, networking, co-worker, supervisor)
  • Consult or ask for advice/feedback

Symptom relief

Use the following strategies to help deal with personal stress and changes:

  • Identify what you have control over related to your feelings
  • Be aware of your own emotional reactions (i.e., anger, irritation, frustration, sadness, fear, guilt, anxiety) and physical stress reactions (i.e., headaches, stomach upset, back pain, high blood pressure, sleep problems, marked change in appetite, flare-up of chronic health conditions)
  • Eat right, whether you feel like it or not
  • Continue with a routine exercise program or start one
  • Practice relaxation exercises (i.e., breathing, progressive relaxation, yoga)
  • Get enough sleep
  • Take medications as prescribed
  • Reduce or eliminate your alcohol intake
  • Get a massage
  • Find things that make you laugh
  • Do activities that help you feel centered and secure (i.e., listening to music, gardening, watching movies
  • Utilize your emotional support network of friends and family