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Resilience - 5 Rs of workplace mental health

Resilient individuals are flexible, adaptable, and have the ability to overcome stressful situations and life challenges. In the workplace, resilient employees hold up well under pressure, adapt quickly to change, and take decisive action.


According to Health Canada, that’s the number of Canadians who will directly experience mental illness in their lifetime. That means someone close to you may need an ear to listen, or a shoulder to lean on.

Take an active role in contributing to better mental health for yourself and others. Resilience is one of the 5Rs of workplace mental health. Read on to learn more about how resilience can make a difference.


  1. Build supportive relationships - Your personal support network plays an important role in developing resiliency. Talk to people you trust to gain perspective, seek advice, or simply share your thoughts.
  2. Have an optimistic outlook - A positive and optimistic view on life creates conditions for success and healthy wellbeing. Focus on what you want rather than worrying about what you fear.
  3. Accept change - Despite your best efforts to plan for the unknown, everyone experiences stressful situations and challenges. Accept that some situations cannot be changed. It is healthier to focus on what you can influence and change.
  4. Trust your judgement - Have confidence in your strengths and abilities. People with high self-esteem see the good in themselves, accept their flaws, and do not base their self-perceptions on what others may think.
  5. Keep things in perspective - Avoid seeing stressful events as overwhelming challenges. Consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Make sure you don’t blow the event out of proportion or pull in other stressful or negative experiences.
  6. Work through the problem - Use problem solving and reasoning to work through stressors rather than ignoring them, detaching yourself from them, or wishing that they would go away. Don’t waste time pursuing solutions that don’t work.
  7. Acknowledge small gains - When you’re feeling overwhelmed by stressful situations, acknowledge small gains and subtle improvements. Even if they seem like minor accomplishments, they will help you move forward toward your goals.
  8. Know your stress triggers - Recognize your sources of stress and gauge how well you react in those situations. Determine if your response is routine behaviour, or if it’s specific to certain events or situations. Identify the unhealthy choices you make as a result of feeling rushed or overwhelmed, and reach out for support.
  9. Strengthen your coping skills - Resilience is a learned behaviour—it’s something that you can continually develop and improve upon with every curveball that’s thrown your way. Remember, though you may not be able to change the occurrence of stressful situations, you can change how you respond to them.
  10. Take care of yourself - Pay attention to your mental, physical, and emotional needs. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly, eat healthy, and get enough sleep. When you look after yourself, your mind and body becomes primed to deal with situations that require resiliency.

Resilience - 5 Rs of workplace mental health (PDF)

Visit Workplace Mental Health for additional mental health related information and resources, and contact your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider for individualized support.