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What to know about crisis fatigue?

Crisis fatigue is a term that people use to describe a burnout response to the chronic stress that challenging events can cause. It is not a formal medical diagnosis, but people who feel that they are experiencing crisis fatigue may have very real mental or physical symptoms. Anyone can experience crisis fatigue. However, frontline workers and other people the crisis most severely impacts are likely to be most affected. For example, during a pandemic, healthcare workers and emergency responders can have long shifts and ongoing stress, with little time to recuperate. Mental health clinicians and news reports are also extremely vulnerable to crisis fatigue. Some people are also at higher risk of mental health conditions, in general, than others. There is no single approach to coping with crisis fatigue, but strategies such as maintaining a routine, talking to loved ones, and trying activities that provide a distraction and build resilience may help. People with crisis fatigue may feel better when they are no longer in the situation causing it, but in the interim, they may benefit from undergoing mental health treatment to manage its effects. Anyone who feels overwhelmed during a crisis can seek help from a mental health professional. (Credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)

Effect of interruptions on body and mind

When you work in an office, you have to remain productive despite continual interruptions. After a while, responding to questions, texts, calls, and emails becomes less annoying as you develop the habit of calmly picking up where you left off. However, new research from Switzerland finds that this calm is only superficial. Continual interruptions at work lead to an unconscious increase in the stress hormone cortisol. The study finds that although we may think continual interruptions do not bother us, they affect us on a physiological level. Setting the stage for these tests, the researchers converted the ETH Zurich Decision Science Laboratory into three simulated office spaces, each with multiple workstation rows. Every workstation had a computer, monitor, chair, and a kit with which the “worker” could collect saliva samples for the researchers. The samples were analyzed to assess individuals’ levels of cortisol. In each session, 10 individuals were placed in one of the offices at a fictional insurance company, with the three groups exposed to three different levels of stress. All participants took part in typical office tasks, including typing up handwritten documents and arranging client appointments. During the sessions, they were questioned six different times regarding their mood. Portable devices measured their heartbeats as the researchers tracked cortisol levels in their saliva samples. (Credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)