Checklist for work-induced stress and trauma

Work-induced stress and trauma checklist

This checklist is a way to gauge how you are feeling about your work. The things on the list do not necessarily mean that you have work-induced trauma or are suffering from burnout. An answer of ‘yes’ to any of the questions can alert you to the need to speak to someone. Counsellors at 1800RESPECT are trained to talk about recognising work-induced trauma.

  • Are your relationships with close friends, family, children or partners changing for the worse?
  • Are you finding yourself irritable, anxious, agitated or ‘snapping’ more frequently than usual?
  • Is your work performance dropping or are you making mistakes?
  • Are you avoiding, or getting anxious about engaging with work, clients or patients?
  • Do you notice mood swings or feel your moods are sometimes out of your control?
  • Are you feeling flat, sad, lacking energy, overtired for no reason, or as though you’re ‘spacing out’ from things around you when you are stressed?
  • Are you getting run down or catching more colds or infections than usual?
  • Do you feel unsafe or overly anxious about your safety?
  • Are you self-soothing in ways that might be numbing or can cause you increased stress later, such as mindless eating, alcohol or substance use, or smoking?
  • Do you feel you’ve lost hope, or that there is little ‘goodness’ in humanity?
  • Do you have nightmares, poor sleep, intrusive thoughts or images that are upsetting?
  • Check your breathing throughout the day — is it more often than not above 15 breaths per minute? Or below seven? Is this linked to thinking about work, or clients, or other stress triggers?

Hearing about other people’s trauma can trigger our own unresolved trauma. Remember to ask for help if you need it.

Connecting with support

The 1800RESPECT telephone and online counselling services are available for workers and professionals. You can discuss the personal impact of working with traumatised people with trained counsellors. Whether you want to debrief after a particular incident or talk about the long-term effects of trauma on your work or personal life, you can call 1800 737 732 or chat online. Both services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.