Outside of work hours, your week probably consists of household chores and you probably spend some of your free time making sure tedious necessities (i.e., answering emails, returning phone calls, paying the bills, and getting car maintenance) are taken care of. Therefore, amidst your busy schedules, it becomes easy to forget about your health. If you feel fine, then you are fine, right? Wrong.
With such a long to-do list your body is likely taking the toll without you even realizing. You may think of stress as increased heart rate, muscle tightness or a rise in blood pressure. However, you may not be experiencing any of these symptoms and that’s because stress can appear in many different ways depending upon the individual. These effects of stress are often vague and can present as either an emotional or physical symptom. So think carefully to determine if you might in fact be a victim of unrecognized stress.
Let’s start with the emotional symptoms of stress.
You’re moody. Stress can frequently become confused with moodiness, meaning you find yourself very irritable and easily bothered by things that you know wouldn’t typically frustrate you.
You’re overwhelmed. This feeling is a natural response when there is a lot to get done, but you may notice that you’ve become easily overwhelmed, specifically in instances when your given a small or fairly simple task.
You have difficulty relaxing. All of a sudden, you find your mind racing or perhaps checking emails while you’re watching TV.
You think negatively about yourself. You’ve noticed that you have recent feelings of loneliness, your mood is low, and you may even isolate others.
Now onto the physical symptoms of stress:
You have low energy. You just can’t seem to muster up the motivation to finish an assignment or go to the gym. The only thing you have the energy for is being a couch potato.
You have headaches. You know, the dull pounding kind, that just don’t seem to go away.
You’ve noticed gastrointestinal changes. This can range from new onset nausea (and in some cases even vomiting), upset stomach, diarrhea or constipation.
You feel like (or you do) come down with frequent colds. This includes having constant aches, tense muscles or even the chills.
You’re nervous. You find yourself jittery, or maybe your hands and feet are sweaty or you bite your nails.
Your mouth is dry (i.e., like after a night of alcohol consumption and you wake up feeling like your mouth swallowed the Sahara Desert).
You grind your teeth or clench your jaw.
Perhaps you are experiencing none of these symptoms, but you feel like you are constantly worrying, you have recent difficulties with organization, or focus. You find yourself procrastination, or being forgetful. You may even be experiencing changes in sleep or appetite. These are still effects of stress!
So take a few moments and think carefully if you have experienced any number of these symptoms and effects of stress. But rest assured, eliminating the stressor will likely eliminate your symptoms. Be sure to also check out CGD’s articles related to managing work-related stress, as well as helpful skin products that can also reduce unwanted stress side effects.
Be calm and carry on!
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Featured Photo: Anouska