At one time or another, we all face stress in our lives. Not only does stress affect our thoughts and feelings, it can also have negative impacts on our behaviour and our health. For instance, stress can impact our sleep, result in increased anger, social withdrawal or cause us to engage in damaging behaviour such as increased drug/alcohol/tobacco use, excess caffeine, or unhealthy eating habits (over-eating, under-eating or poor food choices). Sources of stress vary from one individual to another but commonly involve work/school, health concerns (your own, or of a loved one), financial issues, and family.
Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can help our ability to catch them early and begin to manage them. Some common signs and symptoms of stress include:
Lack of motivation
Some strategies that may help to manage stress include: getting plenty of sleep; regular exercise; eating a healthy, balanced diet; avoiding tobacco, excess caffeine and alcohol; learning relaxation techniques, meditation and mindfulness; and seeking help at the earliest signs of stress.
Services are available both at the West Carleton Family Health Team and in the community.
Extended Health Plan and/or Employee Benefits Check to see if your employer offers health benefits for counselling/psychological services or resources that assist employees with stress management. Some organizations, including the Government of Canada, offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). An EAP service generally offers employees confidential, in-person and online counselling along with online resources. You can find out if your employer offers an EAP service by asking your manager, Human Resources Department, Union, or Health and Safety Representative. Note: Government of Canada employees with access to the EAP service can call the 24-hour Crisis and Referral Centre at 1-800-268-7708 (or 1-800-567-5803 for persons with hearing impairment) for support and assistance.
Counselling is available for clients of the WCFHT to support with stress management, including caregiver stress. Please talk to your healthcare provider if you would like to be referred to a mental health counsellor. Twice a year we offer a 5-week interactive group workshop that teaches a variety of techniques to better manage stress and reduce its impact on your health.
Ottawa residents can access the following community mental health resources TheDistress Centre Calls answered 24/7 at 613-238-3311 Tel-Aide Outaouais French-language mental health telephone support from 8 a.m. to midnight. Ottawa residents can call 613-741-6433 and Gatineau residents can contact 819-775-3223 Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) provides confidential 24/7 phone and web-counselling for children ages 20 and under Youth Services Bureau (YSB) provides youth and family counselling, crisis support, a 24/7 crisis line at 613-260-2360, walk-in counselling and an online crisis chat service for youth at chat.ysb.ca. The Walk-In Counselling Clinicsprovide free, confidential single-session counselling sessions throughout Ottawa. 211 connects callers to community, social, government and health service information in Ottawa 24/7. The service is free, confidential and multilingual. The following Family Service Agencies provide counselling services with a sliding fee scale geared to income and family size. All services are nondenominational.