stress management

Stress Management: The Five Buckets® Principle

Work-life balance is the key to being successful on the job while managing the stress of all that life can throw at you. When you can effectively manage stress levels, you can be more productive at work and at home. Workplace stress statistics from show us that 83 percent of US workers suffer from work-related stress and only 43 percent of employees think their employers care about their work-life balance. So how do you as an employee remain conscious of stress management, in order to prevent burnout? Priorities and balance are everything. First, we’ll give you a more in-depth look at what stress is. Then, we’ll give you some tips for stress management and discuss the “Five Buckets Principle®.” This will help to align your priorities and balance your personal life with your work life.

83% of US workers suffer from work-related stress and only 43% of employees think their employers care about their work-life balance.


What Is Stress?

Stress is your body’s reaction to adverse or very demanding circumstances. When experiencing stress, adrenaline and hormones produce chemical changes in your body. While some stress can be good, too much stress can compromise your quality of life and affect your body in a damaging way. Some physical signs that your stress levels are too high include: low energy, upset stomach, headaches, body aches, or insomnia. Emotional symptoms of stress can include: frustration, feeling overwhelmed, difficulty relaxing, or low self-esteem. It’s important to know when you reach high levels of stress and to pay attention to your body’s signals. This way, you can take action to reduce stress and avoid its inevitable consequences.

The Five Buckets Principle®:


The Five Buckets represent five aspects of everyone’s life to which we give time and resources. To reduce stress and live a balanced life, the goal should be to fill all the buckets equally.

1. Family and Friends


Connection and positive communication with your family and friends will reduce your stress levels drastically and help with stress management. This, in turn, improves your physical and mental health. Here are some things to keep in mind for this first principle of stress management:

  • It’s the quality of time versus the quantity of time.
  • Set boundaries.
  • It’s okay to say no to family/friends.
  • Be selective in your friendships; choose people who uplift you.


2. Work


The next bucket is your work. With so many distractions at work, it can be hard to focus when stress levels are high. Do your best to stay positive, and keep personal problems out of the workplace. While sometimes it’s unavoidable, try to stay focused on the work and what is going right in the moment. Staying connected to your fellow employees can help with this. If it helps, try listening to music if your work allows it. Music helps reduce stress levels and can inspire you. Here are some suggestions to improve your stress management at work:

  • Reframe your attitude.
  • Manage interruptions and time wasters.
  • Make a list of everything you like at work.
  • Continue growing and learning.
  • Remember you are “at work” more than anywhere else in life.


3. Community – Giving Back


Some of the most joyful and life changing moments come from giving to others. It can have the power to make you more grateful and motivated. Make “giving” a priority in your life, and stress management will soon become easier. Thinking of others before ourselves often puts our lives into better perspective. Think about the following concerning giving back:

  • Outreach and volunteering.
  • Teaching your family members to get involved.
  • The beauty of giving, caring, and mattering.
  • Making connections.


4. Financial


Another component to stress management are our finances. Money affects many parts of our lives and what we can and cannot do. It has the ability to keep your stress at an all-time high if you let it. Proper planning is essential to keeping your stress management low and being prepared for unanticipated expenses. Here are some considerations that assist with financial stress management:

  • Set goals.
  • Start planning now.
  • Family values.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected.
  • Debt management.
  • Retirement planning.


5. Health


Lastly, your health is at risk when stress management is out of balance. As mentioned previously, your physical health is affected by your stress levels and the amount of time you spend in a state of anxiety. Your immune system, heart, stomach, and muscles can be affected. How do you mitigate this? Here are some tips for managing your physical health:

  • Exercise.
  • Nutrition.
  • Proper amount of sleep.
  • Take care of you (relaxation).
  • Keep a health journal.
  • Preventative screenings.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol.



Care Plus Solutions is America’s first EAP and is headquartered in New York and has offices in New Jersey. Over the course of the company’s 46 year history, their brand has remained firmly rooted in the rich history of the EAP field, never losing sight of the fundamental purpose of the EAP; delivering personal and quality services to those in need. It is fair to say that Care Plus Solutions is the gold standard in the field of Employee Assistance.


Five Buckets Principle®. 2012. Balancing Life’s Issues, Inc., Ossining, NY, USA
42 Worrying Workplace Stress Statistics (2019).

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