Managing stress and your wellbeing at work​

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Managing Stress​

Coping with and learning to understand the Hidden Curriculum can be stressful – especially if things go wrong.​

Below are some suggestions for managing stress (from the JobAccess website, you may already be familiar with them):​

  • Identify what triggers stress. Try to calm down before things escalate. Ask for help with this. (Let others know what to watch for.)​
  • Get enough sleep.​
  • Eat healthy foods.​
  • Learn to relax. Learning a formal technique such as yoga or meditation can help.​
  • Plan activities each day that you will look forward to.
  • Do some exercise as this helps with relaxation.​
  • Set realistic goals and stick to a routine.​
  • Plan and organise work tasks. Do not overcommit. Ask for help with this if needed.​
  • Try to have a positive attitude.​
  • Try not to worry about little things.​
  • Talk to family and friends outside the workplace.​
  • Find what strategies help you to ‘unwind’.

Watch a 7-minute video “Autism and Stress Management at Work”

Getting Help

Remember, your work supervisor, job coach and / or your employer are there to help.​

If you are not sure about the hidden curriculum, they will help without judgement.​

Your workplace may have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that you can talk to for free.​

A psychologist may be able to help you to develop strategies for managing stress.​

REMEMBER: It is okay to ask for help.

Wellbeing at work

  • Nutrition and exercise

​Why focus on well-being?​

We all know that …​

  • To keep a car going, we fill it with petrol, check the oil and water regularly and give the tyres some air.​
  • To see a bank balance grow, we need to make steady deposits.​

But how often do we take the time to reflect on whether we are giving ourselves what we need to flourish and live well?​

Wellbeing involves both mental health and physical health.​


  • What does wellbeing mean to you? What is a good life to you?​
  • Special interests and socialising breaks can reduce stress.​
  • What works for you? ​
    • Being mentored?​
    • Being understood?  ​
  • What do you do to feel good?​
  • Your wellbeing will impact the wellbeing of those around you!​

Watch a 5 min video where Peter Vermeulen talks about autism, happiness and wellbeing.

Exercise … why?

  • Reduction in disease (for example heart disease, diabetes, cancer)​
  • Positive impact on mental health ​
  • Chemical release: serotonin, endorphins​
  • Stress reduction​
  • Better sleep​
  • Improved brain function​
  • Increased size of hippocampus (memory)​
  • Improved neural connections
  • 90% of individuals on the spectrum have gut problems.​
  • The gut-brain connection is no joke. It can link anxiety to stomach problems and vice versa.​
  • Ask – where do you feel it when you’re anxious, nervous, worried, excited?​
  • The gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion. Anger, anxiety, sadness, elation — all those feelings (and others) can trigger symptoms in the gut.

90% of cells in the body are bacteria​

  • 100 trillion microbes control the risk of disease.​
  • The gut is linked by the vagus nerve to the brain.​
  • The gut has neurons (500 million in gut, 100 billion in brain) that produce most of the serotonin. Serotonin is an important chemical and neurotransmitter in the human body. It is believed to help regulate mood and social behavior.​
  • The gut is the centre of the immune response. It can affect brain health.

Improving gut health

  • Eat a diverse range of foods​
  • Eat lots of fruit, vegetables, legumes and beans.​
  • Eat fermented foods​
  • Yoghurt, Kimchi, Sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, tempeh​
  • Limit artificial sweeteners​
  • Include probiotic foods (complex carbs/high fibre) or supplements​
  • Eat whole grains rather than processed grains.​

End of Module Questions​

  • How much sleep do you average each night?​
  • How much time do you spend moving each day?​
  • How much time do you spend outside?​
  • How much sunshine do you get?​
  • How do you plan / organise your meals and snacks?​
  • Do you eat enough healthy foods and drink enough water?​
  • Do you have relationships with health professionals (for example a GP)? ​
  • How often do you have a medical or dental check-up?​
  • How much screen time do you engage in each day?​
  • How often do you engage in activities that are of interest to you? ​
  • What aspects of wellbeing have changed since you started work?​
  • What makes you happy?

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