Cultural Stress in the COVID-19 World

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“Everyone you meet right now is battling with some internal struggle with a stressor that is completely unfamiliar.”

This week we welcome Jaz Azari, who joins FourBlock Founder Mike Abrams to discuss cultural stress in the COVID-19 world. Passionate about preserving mental health and wellbeing, particularly within the military community, Jaz has written about and presented on the topic of “cultural stress.” As cultural stress applies to unique stressors on servicemembers working with and among foreign populations, Jaz uses this concept as a frame to discuss stressors created by the COVID-19 world.

On this episode, Jaz reinforces how stress is both universal and part of life in a pandemic; defines and explores facets of cultural stress; describes types of stress, including what can happen as a result of stress and why it’s important; speaks to military health research and Post Traumatic Stress; delves into factors that can help mitigate or, in their absence, contribute to increased stresses; and shares advice for what you can do to cope with the realities of COVID-19.

Jaz is a former Foreign Service Officer and Department of Defense civilian, with more than fourteen years of experience working on foreign policy, defense, security, environment, science, technology, health and entrepreneurial issues, and communications. Having studied abroad and served overseas in positions from teaching English as a Second Language in Tianjin, China, to working as a Human Terrain System Social Scientist embedded with an Army Stryker Brigade in Diyala, Iraq, to serving as the Staff Assistant to the U.S. Ambassador in Nairobi, Kenya, Jaz lives with the desire to continually explore and understand the world and its citizens; to listen to others’ stories, their histories, and their unique Weltanschauungs; and to use interactions to promote open, honest dialogue. Through her novels, Jaz also strives to use fantastical lands and characters to raise challenging moral, philosophical, and ethical questions. In this COVID-19 world, Jaz offers a simple motto to keep moving forward: “Carpe Diem” – “Seize the day.”

Jaz has published on topics including terrorism and military psychology. She holds an M.A. in War Studies from King’s College London and a dual B.A. in International Relations and German Studies from the Schreyer Honors College at the Pennsylvania State University. Jaz is fluent in German.


Welcome to the FourBlock Podcast, a show that examines veteran career transition and the military-civilian divide in the workplace. General Charles Krulak coined the term “Three Block War” to describe the nature of 21st-century military service defined by peace-keeping, humanitarian aid, and full combat. But what happens next? Veterans are often unprepared to return home and begin new careers. We call this the Fourth Block.

FourBlock is a national non-profit that has supported thousands of transitioning service members across the nation in beginning new and meaningful careers.

Mike Abrams (@fourblock) is an Afghanistan veteran, FourBlock founder, and author of two military transition books. He’ll be representing the military transition perspective. Lindsey Pollak (@lindsaypollak) is a career and workplace expert and New York Times bestselling author of three career advice books. Lindsey will be representing the civilian perspective of this issue.

Veterans, explore new industries and make the right connections. Find a career that fits your calling. Join us at Sponsor our program or host a class to equip more of our veterans at

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