We can knot ourselves into a yoga pose, and deep breathe until the cows come home, but stress is still a fact of life. And sometimes, it feels as if we cannot escape the anxiety and pressure that plagues us every day. Yet, before we can work out the best ways to slip out of the stressful, we need to calculate the level of our stress – using the Stress Bucket model is a great system to identifying and treating relapses of mental illness. Particularly as the more extreme impacts could leave us with the mental health problems that might represent more difficult obstacles for the future.
Plus, by assessing not just our stress, but also ourselves, we can start making a few extra moments for us. And the truth of the matter is, because we are so used to stress, we can become unaware of the levels that could be dangerous. In fact, high levels of stress has been linked to depression, anxiety, and the more physical impacts such as heart attacks and strokes; and none of these are going to make your work week any easier.
In scientific terms, stress is a natural reaction inherited from our ancestors. But rather than running from something that’s trying to kill us, the adrenaline surge we get that makes us feel overwhelmed during a meeting. But if you’d rather face the lion in office car park, you should be considering looking after yourself.
Here are all the signs you should looking out for – as well as the people around you.
Are your eating patterns changing?
One of the first signs of stress is whether your snacking more than usual, or skipping them instead.
And it’s not just about opening the fridge door more frequently; stress levels can lead to more serious relationships with food, including alcohol abuse, and binging.
Plus, during stressful weeks, our livers produce more blood sugar than usual to keep our energy levels up. But if you’re stress levels are what doctors deem ‘chronic’, your body won’t know how to cope with this surge of sugar. This can give rise to Type 2 diabetes, which can mean more than just getting a bit too nervous about a presentation at work.
But it’s not just what are, or what you’re not eating that can tell you you’re under too much pressure: our natural spike of hormones, rapid breathing, and fast paced heartbeat when we are stressed can throw off our digestive systems. Are you noticing heartburn, or maybe acid reflux? This internal sign might have greater meaning for your external surroundings.
Or you might be feeling the more painful signs of stress
Stress headaches aren’t exactly a surprising symptom, and we all get them now and then, but the other signs of stress often fall undetected. You might be grinding your teeth, or picking at your hair and skin – no matter how disgusting it sounds. And as a result of this, a more physical symptom you swore you ditched in sixth form might return.
Acne is the most visible sign that you are taking too much on, and is often a result of touching our faces more. The bacteria and oil can help breakouts achieve their evil plans. Aside from feeling 13 again, your muscles could be wearing you out – neck ache and other muscle pain could be a sign of high levels of stress which you need to get under control.
The more mental signs of stress
However, the signs of stress don’t just rely on stomach aches, and a few zits on your chin. The more serious mental impacts can be just as clear as having more midnight feasts than usual.
Panic attacks are the first symptom of far too much stress, and even if you aren’t having a full out anxiety attack, difficulty breathing, and intense feelings of being overwhelmed could tell you one might be on its way.
Aside from this, if you are having trouble sleeping, and your racing thoughts are keeping you awake, the stressful thoughts might need to be put to bed. These signs are symptoms of chronic stress, and could mean more than just getting nervous about maybe leaving a light on at home. And the possibility of taking on depression and anxiety as a result could present itself at first as social withdrawal.
You might be avoiding communicating with the people around you, and although you make excuses to not attend a social event, you might also be feeling as lonely as ever. These signs might be more difficult to see, and can creep up on the best of us, but these are the most significant symptoms that you need to take a bit of time for yourself.
Whether your tossing and turning, or picking up a few more biscuits than usual with your coffee, any sign of stress is worthy of note. In fact, whenever you notice that you aren’t actually feeling that great, it’s best to check how you are actually feeling.
Look out for yourself, as much as you would look out for others; if these signs go unnoticed, how else can we look after the people around us?