Health Self Care Work

Chronic stress recovery

4 elements of recovery activities:

  1. Psychological detachment
  2. Relaxation
  3. Mastery
  4. Control (choosing how to spend your time and doing things the way you want to do them)


Sonnentag S, Fritz C. The Recovery Experience Questionnaire: development and validation of a measure for assessing recuperation and unwinding from work. J Occup Health Psychol. 2007 Jul;12(3):204-21. doi: 10.1037/1076-8998.12.3.204. PMID: 17638488. (No free full text)

Cortisol levels may actually be low in chronic stress due to:

  • Desensitization of the receptors that interact with cortisol
  • Exhausted secretion of cortisol
  • Enhancement of the negative feedback loop process


Hannibal, K. E., & Bishop, M. D. (2014). Chronic stress, cortisol dysfunction, and pain: a psychoneuroendocrine rationale for stress management in pain rehabilitation. Physical therapy, 94(12), 1816-1825.

Fries, Eva, Judith Hesse, Juliane Hellhammer, and Dirk H. Hellhammer. “A new view on hypocortisolism.” Psychoneuroendocrinology 30, no. 10 (2005): 1010-1016.

(See also:

Fiksdal, Alexander & Thoma, Myriam & Hanlin, Luke & St. Pierre, Danielle & Chen, Xuejie & Rohleder, Nicolas. (2017). Chronic stress moderates late phase cortisol recovery from acute stress.

–> Chronic stress was evaluated using the Trier Chronic Stress Inventory (TICS) )

Recommend keeping consistent sleep and wake times to reinforce the normal pattern of cortisol release that is supposed to happen when you wake up.

(See also:

Duan H, Yuan Y, Zhang L, Qin S, Zhang K, Buchanan TW, Wu J. Chronic stress exposure decreases the cortisol awakening response in healthy young men. Stress. 2013 Nov;16(6):630-7. doi: 10.3109/10253890.2013.840579. Epub 2013 Oct 1. PMID: 23992539.)

Good explanation of adrenal dysfunction:

4 Secret Tips to Improve Adrenal Dysfunction

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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