10 Signs You're Under More Stress Than You Probably Realize
Changing jobs, going through a breakup and struggling financially are some of the most common stressors for any age group.
>Since these occurrences are so prevalent and a lot of people experience them, many of us assume we shouldn't feel stress or aren't allowed to express stress in relation to these events.
This means many people are walking around with way more stress than they can handle, and they don't even know it.
Here are 10 signs you're probably under way more stress than you realize:
1. Your sleep patterns have drastically changed.
Stress affects everyone uniquely.
Some people may want to stay in bed all day long and sleep until they absolutely have to wake up. Others may lose a majority of their quality sleep time due to their stress.
However, this shouldn't describe your normal sleeping pattern. If you have chronic insomnia or find yourself sleeping throughout the day most days, you should talk to your physician.
2. Your health is going downhill.
Jaw pain from clenching or grinding your teeth, catching every sickness that's going around, breaking out in rashes or hives and extreme anxiety or panic are all quite common signs of persistent stress.
Each of these symptoms can have remarkable repercussions to your overall bodily health, which means constant dentist, doctor or dermatologist visits, but never a solution to the underlying catalyst of your stress.
3. Your body is sending you (not so subtle) hints.
Those under continual stress will begin to experience nasty (but not severe) stress-related triggers. Persistent mild headaches, daily neck tension and/or recurrent nausea may start to pop up out of nowhere.
But, these things are actually commonly linked to a direct stressor. If you start to feel physically ill on the drive to work each morning, end up taking aspirin everyday just to make it through or finish the day with cramps in your neck or shoulders, there is a specific reason these things continue to occur.
If not taken care of, these issues can develop into larger health problems that will need medical attention.
4. You've lost interest in your favorite things.
Whether that's hanging out with your partner, going to the gym or watching your favorite show, it just doesn't seem to carry the same luster it once had.
You may now even find yourself criticizing or nitpicking all the aspects of your hobbies or previous areas of enjoyment. Nothing sounds like it will satisfy your need for relaxation or happiness.
So, you feel like you'd rather just not do it at all. This type of side effect, along with the others on this list, are huge red flags of an issue that is likely much larger than stress alone.
5. Your normal standards for appearance and upkeep don't exist.
I don't mean just going without makeup for a day or wearing clothes that are a little bit more comfortable and less fashionable from time to time. This is more about not showering and not taking pride in yourself whatsoever.
Everyone has a different style and routine in which they use every day. Yet, when a large amount of stress enters our lives, even the little things we are used to taking pleasure in can become cumbersome.
6. Your moods only vary from angry to sad.
If you can't seem to recall the last time you laughed or had a pleasant conversation with someone, you might be letting stress get the better of you.
You may often find yourself lashing out at loved ones in your life, when this was never your regular tendency. When you feel like your emotions have a hair trigger and anything could make you cry or scream at a moment's notice, there's probably something majorly weighing you down.
7. Your eating habits have significantly changed.
Eating much more or less than you normally do can be a serious sign of stress.
Some folks deal with stress by changing their diet completely, whether they know it or not. Suddenly, eating fast food for every meal or skipping meals altogether puts an extra layer of stress on the body and the mind.
Without proper nutrition, your body and brain no longer have the willpower to make rational decisions on the daily.
8. You're in a constant state of drowsiness.
Not only is this most likely due to a change in sleep patterns, but it also has to do with the stress put on your brain each day.
Thinking about your stressors all day, every day is very hard on the mind. This leaves little time for relaxation of the brain. As such, you probably feel like there's just not enough time in the day to get everything done or have enough time for yourself.
You should always be able to pick at least a few moments of enjoyment from each day.
9. You're covering your stress with unhealthy activities.
Using smoking, drinking or other substances as a crutch for your stress is, needless to say, an unhealthy practice.
While I am not here to lecture anyone on the right and wrong ways to be healthy, substance abuse can become a crippling addiction before you know it.
No one is exempt from the possibility of addiction. A vast majority of individuals suffering from mental health problems, even if they are temporary, choose to cope with their stress in this way (knowingly or not).
10. You're feeling more alone than ever (but hate the thought of going out)
It can be additionally stressful to try to explain your situation to friends and family. So, it's not uncommon to want to skip that conversation altogether.
Unfortunately, this can become a “no-win scenario” in which you either feel secluded and alone with no one to relate to, or you feel the judgement of others upon you due to your stressful circumstances.
If you're experiencing these types of symptoms, it might be time to seek some help. Especially if you're feeling signs of depression and anxiety, it can escalate quickly.
There's nothing wrong or shameful with simply speaking to a doctor, counselor or psychiatrist. Those who take control of their stress and mental health will ultimately be able to control it, not the other way around.
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