Workshop 1 – Stress and Burnout Introduction

Total estimated time for the workshop is 1,5 to 2 hours.

Exercise: Employee Introduction Round

Recommended Time: 15-20 minutes (depending on group size)
Recommended Group Size: 5-15


• Group Work


• Self-adhesive notes, light color
• A few pens with thick lines


• Introduction of the group members

This exercise is intended for groups where the members are not familiar with each other yet.
If the participants already know each other, you should skip this exercise entirely and move on to the next “icebreaker” exercise.

Kick off with a successful introduction round

• Start by welcoming the participants to the first Stress and Burnout workshop they will take part in and introduce yourself.
• Give each participant a self-adhesive note and instruct them to write their name on it and to place it on a visible place on their clothes.
• Make sure to encourage them to write their name as big and readable as they can.

Once everyone has their name tags give the word to one of the group members to start the introduction round. The person introducing themselves can be asked to include for example: Name, occupation, their favorite hobbies, where they spent their last holiday.

Instead of simply moving from one person to the next in a circle, the person who is done introducing themselves can instead be asked to name the next person so that the names get an opportunity to “stick better”. The round continues until every member has introduced themselves.

Excercise: Icebreaker

Informs the participants that they will be asked a few questions and then presents these to the participants from the Power Point.
The trainer answers the questions first and then asks the participants to follow with their answers.

Question 1: If you can have anyone as your fictional friend, who would you choose and why?
Question 2: You can have any unlimited supply for the rest of your life, what is it? (Money does not count!)

Since participation is important you should inform the participants that they can ask questions and interrupt at any time during the session.
You should also have read the introduction chapter, have and in-depth understanding of the training and what it entails, as well as be
highly familiar with all the theoretical concepts. Since this session is aimed at managers, it is also important that you have prepared and informed yourself on the current and prior situation within the organization. Lastly, motivation is key, both from the perspective of the trainer and the participants. It is therefore of utmost importance that the you as a trainer believe in the methods and techniques that this program teaches.

Introducing the programme

Start by explaining the goals of this Stress and Burnout programme:

It is an intervention to prevent burnout and chronic stress at the workplace.
The focus of this workshop session will be on them as employees and what they can do in order to both handle and prevent stress related disorders.
In this session they will learn to understand the differences between stress, chronic stress and burnout, and also how different work domains such
as values, fairness and workload can be designed in order to create a healthier workplace for everyone.

We deal with strategies which help to prevent that “enough” turns into “too much”.

After the goals have been specified, continue by showing the content and the structure of the coming three sessions of the programme.
Lastly, ask if there is anything the participants are more interested in, or if there is anything missing.
If it is not possible to implement a specific topic into this training, maybe it can be offered at another time.
The trainer then vows to provide the managers with this information. Maybe a course can be constructed that helps them deal with these issues.

Excercise: How to distinguish stress from chronic stress and burnout

Recommended Time: 20 Minutes
Recommended Group Size: 5-15


• Work in pairs (or triplets if necessary)
• Group discussion


• Printed copies of the case studies for
each pair of participants
• Beamer/monitor and laptop for showing the PowerPoint: “Session One”
• Whiteboard/Flipchart
• Whiteboard/Flipchart pen


• Introduce the main topic and provide the
participants with the opportunity to
get familiar with the three concepts of stress, chronic stress and burnout.

Instructions: “Case Study – Burnout, Stress and Chronic Stress”

Divide the group into pairs and give each pair a copy of the case files. Their task is to compare the four cases and spot the symptoms attached to each concept, at the same time they should try to recognize which concept best describes each case. The pairs are given 10 minutes to discuss and solve the assignment. Afterward results are gathered and discussed in the larger group setting. Write the symptoms on the whiteboard or flipchart that were identified by the groups concerning the cases, and to which concept they think they belong to. The trainer does not evaluate the suggestions at this stage. Only as the very last step should you provide the right answers (Anna: burnout symptoms; Maria: acute stress; Anders: chronic stress; Carl: healthy) and also clear up any misunderstandings or questions. Tell the group that the following part will offer in-depth information about all of these concepts.

You should study the cases in advance on your own and understand the differences and how these relate to the three concepts.
Participation is important, so you are encouraged to walk around the room, checking in to each group during the pair work.
During the discussion at the end you should strive to give the word to different participants in order to keep a balanced group dynamic throughout the exercise. Act in an encouraging way and try to establish a curious learning climate in the group.

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Excercise: Personal Stress Response

Recommended Time: 15 Minutes
Recommended Group Size: 5-15

In this part the participants are encouraged to think about their own personal stress and write it down. You should therefore have filled in your own version of the exercise sheet “Personal Stress Response Worksheet” to get a sense of what the experience for the participants might feel like.


• Individual work


• Beamer/monitor and laptop for the Power Point: “Session One”
• Pens
• Worksheet: “Personal Stress Response –
Worksheet” (Appendix B)


• Increased understanding of their own
personal stress response and stress

Instructions: “Personal Stress Response”

Hand out copies of the worksheet “Personal Stress Response” and clearly state that this is a personal task and that they may keep their copy when they are done filling it in, they will not have to share the information they fill in. Show the Power Point “Personal Stress Response” which is an example of the worksheet they got and explain how the worksheet is to be filled in. Above all its function is to be a tool to help them identify stressors in their workplace. Encourage the participants to think about their current workplace and personal life to create their own stress profile. Give them 7-10 minutes to fill in their worksheet.

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