Caring for Yourself

Dedicated to our Healthcare Heroes!

What is Stress?

Stress is a state of tension caused by pressure.

  • Demands of trigger > what you can cope with
  • Can be a normal and everyday experience.
  • May be helpful or harmful

Stress spectrum

Stress reaction can manifest in 4 ways: Physiological, Emotional, Thoughts, Behavioural

Physiological reactions

Emotional reactions

Thought reactions


"If I don't complete this task, I will be fired!"

Tunnel vision

"There is no other way to do this!"


"I am stupid - why can't I do it well and quickly."


"I am so screwed. I cannot handle this anymore."

Behavioural reactions

Too much stress can affect us, even lower our immunity. So it’s important to recognise stress to deal with it. Runaway stress may lead to

  • Burn-out
  • Anxiety
  • Depression or
  • Alcohol and drug abuse

Checklist for “Coronaviru-Stress

Too much pre-occupation with COVID-19


Sleep disturbance

Easily upset, more irritable and impatient

Headaches, backaches, muscular pains

Avoidance of patients and colleagues

Feeling trapped

​Over-excessive precautions

Burnout vs stressed out

Burnout is a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced personal accomplishment.

Whereas stressed out people may be too involved with their work, burned-out people no longer feel involved with theirs. In burnout, individuals lose their motivation and involvement. They give up.

Checklist for Depression

Feeling down/sad/empty most of the time

Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities

Significant weight loss or gain

Loss of or increase in appetite

Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much

Restlessness or slowing down

Fatigue or loss of energy nearly everyday

Feeling worthless/guilty/meaningless

Difficulty thinking or concentrating

Having thoughts of dying or suicide

Checklist for Anxiety

Feeling extremely anxious or worried

Difficulty controlling worry

Restlessness or feeling edgy

Feeling easily fatigued or tired

Difficulty concentrating or experiencing one’s mind going blank


Difficulty with sleep

Uncomfortable physical symptoms For e.g., cold sweats, muscle tension, trembling, palpitations, shortness of breath

Checklist for OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a condition where one experiences:

  • Repeated distressing and intrusive thoughts (obsessions) For e.g., over germs, contamination
  • Repeated actions (compulsions) For e.g., excessive hand washing, re-checking of things like PPE
Awareness of the risk of infection and proper precautions are crucial for the protection of the healthcare worker, however, in OCD, one’s behaviour significantly interferes with daily life, work performance, or relationships.

Factors Contributing to Stress

Most of us will feel some amount of stress at this present time…
Some of us may recognise symptoms in ourselves or in our colleagues…

Stay strong!

Up next: Managing Stress

 Ref: L20