Stress is a normal, unavoidable part of life. Its impact on our lives depends on how we handle it. Left unchecked, it can affect you not just emotionally, but also socially and physically. If you’ve been feeling off or noticing differences in how you function, stress might be getting into you. Read on to learn all about the physical signs of stress and what you can do to prevent them.
If your desk is full of Salonpas, Vicks, efficascent oil, and balms to address your bodily pains, you might be experiencing some of the first signs of stress.
According to The American Institute of Stress, muscles tense up to protect themselves from injury and release after you relax. However, if you’re constantly under stress, your muscles might not be able to relax at all, which leads to tight muscles that cause body aches.
Feeling too tired in the morning but having a hard time falling (and staying) asleep? Stress might be the culprit of that. Being under a lot of stress can lead to chronic insomnia — this can be triggered by factors that keep you up at night like concerns about work and health, or traumatic life events like the death of a loved one. Sleep Foundation suggest that the body’s response to stress contributes to hyperarousal experience, causing insomnia or sleep reactivity that makes it difficult to fall and stay asleep.
Feeling like your stomach’s tied into knots is normal when you’re nervous, but stress can make it worse. It’s actually one of the most common symptoms of stress and anxiety! You may experience diarrhea, indigestion, constipation, nausea, and even loss of appetite.
Maybe your several cups of coffee have something to do with this, but they may not be entirely to blame. A study by the University of Gothenburg in Sweden found that many people seek emergency help from unexplained chest pains each year and they’re linked to stress. The study found that patients who sought help aren’t suffering from any biomedical factors like heart disease or other illnesses. People who are under a lot of stress are also prone to get panic attacks, which give the same pain in the chest and lightheadedness.
So, what can you do to prevent all this? Here’s what you can do:
Practice relaxation techniques
Find which method helps you relax. Is it through meditation, yoga, or ambient music? A stress ball or getting a massage? It’s important to find a method that works to help you cope when you feel like your mind is starting to race again. Even if it’s a quick five-minute stretch in between meetings – some you can even do while sitting down.
Make time for yourself
Self-care has become a buzzword, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a helpful concept. Self-care doesn’t need an elaborate routine that has you in silk pajamas while wearing a face mask. It can be as simple as listening to your favorite music, journaling, engaging in new hobbies, or having some downtime at the end of the day. Remember, knowing when to stop working is self-care too!
Connect with friends and family
The ongoing health crisis may have made keeping connected with family or friends more difficult as we can’t physically meet yet, but that’s what the internet is for! One of the fastest ways to feel less burdened is talking about your feelings, so turn to your support system. Just a few close friends who are willing to listen will be more than enough.
Got a big task for work or school? Try breaking them into small sections to make you feel less overwhelmed. Oftentimes, we get daunted by the bigger picture that we tend to procrastinate or ditch it completely. This way, you’ll be able to finish tasks without even realizing it!
How do you handle stress? Share some tips below!