It’s ok if all you did today was survive. Taking care of yourself is vital! You cannot serve others when you are drained.

Dr. Deb Bidel

Check out this Mind Matters Podcast episode featuring Dr. Deborah Bidel as she dives into the topic of dealing with trauma and chronic stress.

**Note: the podcast episode works best using Google Chrome.**

All of us have experienced stress in our lives. Some stress is healthy and makes our lives more meaningful like getting married, having a child or preparing for a big job interview. Other types of stress can wreak havoc in both our bodies and minds, especially when they are acute or chronic.

Chronic stress occurs when a person is repeatedly exposed to distressing circumstances or events, and they feel a constant sense of pressure and overwhelm. Examples of chronic stress are being unhappy in your job, having unclear work expectations, having an overwhelming workload, going through a divorce, battling a chronic illness or facing discrimination and harassment.

Acute stress occurs when a person experiences an intense overwhelming reaction to a distressing event or circumstance, but the feeling is short lived. Examples of acute stress are getting into an argument with a significant other, almost getting into a car accident, receiving criticism from a supervisor or getting a traffic ticket. Stressors that cause chronic or acute stress are unique to each person, and it’s how a person experiences the stressor that causes it to be distressing or not.

When we experience distressing stress, our body’s fight, flight or freeze response is activated; and when our bodies are constantly in this cycle, we can experience “burnout.” Signs a person is experiencing burnout include memory loss, difficulty paying attention, increased drug or alcohol use, sleep changes, loss of productivity, avoidance of difficult tasks and/or social withdrawal.

Check out the Perceived Stress Scale to see how much stress you are experiencing. A score ranging from 1- 40 indicates you may benefit from connecting with a mental health professional.

There are also some great self-care strategies and self-help apps you can use to increase your stress response and resiliency such as:

Other Resources: