Emergency Information → Resources → Mental Health: Coping with cumulative stress
Tips for Adults: Coping with cumulative stress
the Office of Student and Community Services, Department of
MONTGOMERY COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS, Rockville, Maryland
As the community continues to cope with
a crisis, many people may begin to show signs of
the cumulative effects of stress. Stress from one incident
may not be fully resolved before another incident occurs and
triggers stress once again.
It is very important that all of us are
aware of our own stress levels and work to lower them when
necessary, especially when we are charged with supporting
children. As parents, teachers, counselors, administrators,
crisis responders, or other educators, caring for ourselves
is an essential first step to taking care of our children.
There are warning signs that individuals can identify as a
result of repeated exposure to stress.
Signs of cumulative stress
- Poor concentration
- Memory problems
- Increased illness
- Relationship problems
- Increased alcohol/drug use
- Performance changes
- Fear of leaving home
- Relationship changes
- Health changes
- Personality changes
- Becoming housebound
It is critical to address signs of cumulative
stress as soon as they begin. Contact the Montgomery County
Crisis Center at 240-777-4000 if you have concerns about how
you are reacting. The employee assistance program at your workplace
is another source of support, as is your family physician. (Montgomery County Public Schools' Employee Assistance Program: 301-460-2100)
some healthy coping strategies can ease the cumulative effects
- Create a daily routine to help regain
a sense of control.
- Eat balanced, healthy meals.
- Get extra rest to let your body relax
- Let frustration and anger out through
safe, exhausting physical activity.
- Ask for support from friends, colleagues,
and loved ones.
- Avoid alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.
- Limit caffeine.
- Don't dwell on news of the crisis. Gather
the information you need, then turn off the TV or radio.
- Be aware of the impact of your own past
experiences on your current functioning.
- Seek mental health assistance when you
are concerned about your reactions.
- Some behavior change following a crisis
is a typical response to an extraordinary situation.
- Behavior changes following a crisis
are generally temporary.
- Each person responds to crisis in different
ways and moves through the crisis at his or her own pace.
- You are not alone. Many in will share these reactions and feelings.
- It is a sign of strength - not weakness
- to ask for help when it is needed.
Sources and resources
County Crisis Center is a free resource available 24 hours/7
days each week. Call 240-777-4000.