Chapter 2: Stressors and challenges
“At the end of day it feels like my well has run dry.” - Social workerChronic stress can result from any situation where we feel there is no solution to a problem, or we feel powerless to change anything. After a while, we may not even notice our feelings; this may become our new ‘normal’. We can become trapped in a repetitive cycle, leaving us more vulnerable to other stressors.
Chronic stress can have serious, negative effects on our physical and mental health, as well as on our day-to-day life. It may lead to unhealthy behaviours and reactions.
Unhealthy behaviours and reactions
You may feel less connected or have a lack of empathy or compassion for patients and families.
You may withdraw from or avoid co-workers, family, and friends.
You may become more irritable, short-tempered, or judgemental.
You may notice an unhealthy increase in distractions such as shopping, eating, alcohol, screen time or substance use.
You may notice a decrease in your physical activity and time spent outside of your home.
The uncertainty of COVID-19 and the additional, significant demands you may be facing can increase the likelihood of chronic stress. If you are experiencing signs of chronic stress, you might want to consider seeking help.