Whether it’s work, school, your personal life, or generally feeling overwhelmed -- all of us have experienced stress in our lives. While some stress is unavoidable and can even be helpful in certain situations, being overly stressed is damaging to your overall well-being. Too many people are chronically and excessively stressed, which significantly affects both their physical and mental health. Fortunately, there are many ways that you can better manage your stress so that your health is not compromised. Here are some symptoms of being stressed that you should look out for and some ideas on how to alleviate them.
1) Trouble Sleeping:
One common symptom of being overly stressed is having trouble sleeping. When someone is stressed, it might take them ages to fall asleep even when they feel exhausted. If you find yourself waking up multiple times throughout the night and having restless sleep, it could be due to stress.
2.) Muscle Tension:
Muscle tension is a very common symptom of stress. Oftentimes, muscle tension builds up in the jaw; many people clench their jaw in their sleep when they’re feeling stressed. That being said, stress can cause muscle aches and pains anywhere in the body.
3) High Blood Pressure:
Stress increases blood pressure, which is especially dangerous if you are already at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. It is imperative to regularly check your blood pressure to ensure that your body is maintaining normal blood pressure.
4) Digestive Issues:
If you’re feeling excessively stressed, you might also develop digestive issues. Stress can cause flare-ups and inflammation in the digestive system which can lead to stomach cramping, constipation, bloating, and overall discomfort.
5) Emotional Symptoms:
Stress commonly presents itself through emotional symptoms, such as exhaustion, irritability, anxiety, and even depression. If you start to notice that you’re not feeling like your usual self and your mood has been low, it may be a sign to slow down and relax. It is important to call attention to emotional indicators since they are just as damaging to your well-being as physical complications.
Fortunately, there are a variety of healthy ways that you can cope with stressful situations.
1) Breathing Exercises:
Breathing exercises are beneficial because they force you to take slow, deep breaths. This not only takes your mind off of the stressful situation at hand by shifting your focus to your breathing, but it also physically calms your body down and takes you out of that fight or flight state.
2) Physical Exercise:
Exercise does wonders to reduce stress, both in the body and the brain. If you have muscle tension due to stress, exercising, particularly stretching, can guide your body to relax and release that stress. Exercising also lowers stress hormones in the body and releases endorphins, which are chemicals that elevate your mood. Find workouts that you enjoy doing; these do not have to be strenuous or high-intensity. You can dance, take a walk with friends, or lift weights — whatever makes you happy.
It is extremely important to prioritize yourself and clearly designate space in your schedule for “me time.” No matter how busy life gets, skipping out on this time is not worth the resulting burnout and stress. In your “me time”, you can find a book you like to read, spend time with your family, take a bubble bath, or even get some fresh air. Although it may seem unproductive, In the end, this time will benefit your productivity levels because you will have more motivation and energy to complete your tasks.