Managing Cumulative Stress

Cumulative stress reactions…are usually related to lower-intensity but more chronic stressors that pervade a person’s life and “pile up” one on top of the other. (From the Headington Institute’s document Three Types of Stress Associated with Humanitarian Work

There are two types of things we can do to manage cumulative stress.  Click on the links below to find out more about each.

  1. Reduce the causes of it as much as possible.
  2. Relieve the stress that remains with specific practices and activities.

Keep in mind that perhaps the single most effective way to slow the build up of stress on the team is to hire enough (not to few, not too many) staff who have experience in their field in emergencies, and then to set them up in clearly-defined roles.  This is, of course, very difficult to do.  But see the Staffing Plan and Organization Chart, and Update Organization Chart exercises for some thoughts on these activities.