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Understanding and Improving Workplace Wellbeing


By Jennifer Faringer, MS Ed, CPP-G, Director of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence – Rochester Area (NCADD-RA)

It’s clear that we are living in an age of increased anxiety. Since 1980, anxiety disorders have increased by 80 percent with nearly 50 percent of Americans feeling more stress today than they did five years ago. Stress is affecting both our personal and professional lives. Accumulated stress often leads to burnout in the workplace.

In the workplace, a lack of professional wellbeing can result in burnout, which has been recognized as a diagnosis by the World Health Organization, when it was added to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) in 2019. Defined as a psychological syndrome resulting from unmanaged prolonged stress at work causing “energy depletion, cynicism related to one’s work, and reduced professional efficacy,” burnout is “a state of physical, mental, and/or emotional exhaustion.” It’s important to recognize that burnout can affect anyone in any profession.

What are the signs to recognize burnout? Physically, one might experience cardiac or respiratory issues, sleep disturbances or extreme fatigue and exhaustion. Emotionally, it may cause anxiety or depression. If the situation is severe and prolonged, one might even show signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to a toxic work environment. Employees note that workplace burnout is most often a result of several factors including insufficient knowledge to complete required tasks, inadequate resources to be successful, a lack of autonomy and an unreasonable workload.

How might you improve your wellbeing in the workplace? Set realistic goals, request access to resources and tools as well as relevant training and procedures on how to manage tasks and workload. Workplaces and businesses can also request Team Awareness Workplace Wellness workshops provided by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence-Rochester Area and its multi-county team of educators. Available at no cost, available workshops include:

  • The Ripple Effect of Wellbeing – explores the power of positive stress, the costs and benefits of health decisions, the strengths of the team, and connectivity.
  • Resilience and Thriving – explores both the effects of stress and healthy coping skills.
  • Empowered Health Consciousness – explores how to embrace a wellness-focused lifestyle, reduce substance misuse, and increase overall mental wellbeing.

For more information, contact Jennifer Faringer at or visit the NCADD-RA’s Team Awareness Workplace Wellness website page at

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