8 Signs You’re Overstressed (And Don’t Know It)

8 Signs You’re Overstressed (And Don’t Know It)

We live in a world where the line between normal stress and unhealthy stress is badly blurred, and stress is generally considered a normal part of everyday life. These days, the major transition from a dependent life to an independent one revolves around being able to function under abnormal levels of stress – physical, academic, financial, workplace, and even emotional stress. Most people won’t know when it’s gotten too much and they just keep going until they break down. It’s crazy but it’s the reality we all know too well. 

Stress isn’t just exhaustion. It’s physical, mental, and emotional tension as the body’s reaction to unsuitable situations. [1] Although money and work are the main causes of stress for most people, illness, emotional trauma, and life phases such as childbirth or graduation can cause a person to spiral into intense stress. 

In the United States, stress is a common problem where over 55% of the country’s population report that they encounter stress in their daily lives. [2] Stress can cause a person to take up unhealthy habits such as alcoholism, drugs, and can ultimately lead to major depression.

The biggest problem with stress is that most people do not accept that they are stressed out. Your drive is burned out, your body is exhausted, and the thought of waking up and seizing the day seems like punishment to you, and somehow, you keep making excuses for your condition. Below are 9 unmistakable signs of extreme stress. [3]

Obsessing over problems

If you find yourself worrying excessively and thinking too much about every problem, no matter how little, you are most likely dealing with a lot of stress. Stress makes it impossible for you to calm down and think clearly. You’d be unable to sort your thoughts out or give your mind a bit of rest, especially when a problem is beyond your control. Obsession usually comes with trepidation and you’d find yourself terrified about every task from picking up your kids after school to completing a major milestone at work.

Mood swings

Abrupt changes in your mood or emotional state could be a sign of intense stress. You could switch from laughing hysterically to crying painfully in one second, and you won’t always have an explanation for this rapid change. Mood swings are caused by the rise and fall of serotonin (happy hormone) levels in the body. [4] Stress causes hormonal fluctuations that often leaves you dealing with varying degrees of happiness and misery.

Aches and pain

This could be your body’s most obvious way of telling you to slow it down. Even when you don’t have a physically strenuous job, your body would occasionally begin to ache and feel too heavy for you to carry. You’d begin to deal with headaches, heartaches, weak joints, sensitive muscles, increased heart rates and extreme fatigue. These are warning signs from your body to stop for a moment and catch a rejuvenating break. 

Insomnia

Most people assume stress leads to exhaustion which helps you go off like a light once you hit the bed. There’s actually a difference between fatigue and stress. You’d be surprised at how difficult it is to shut down your brain and get some sleep when you’re overstressed. Also, you may be consuming unhealthy amounts of caffeine and other stimulants to stay awake and alert during the day, and these substances often cause difficulty sleeping. 

Inability to relax

You’d often hear people say, “I cannot remember the last time I just relaxed and enjoyed a movie or something.” Stress would have you terrified of relaxing because you are certain you’d only end up worrying about your problems. You’d drown yourself in work to keep your mind off your troubles. Running away from your problems would only make them worse and the best way to relax in this case would be to talk to someone about your issues. Talking feels like taking a load off your chest and you can try to relax your mind, body, and soul once you start to feel better.

Poor libido

Stress can cause you to shove sex and all sex-related thoughts to the back of your mind because you simply lack the strength, motivation, and will. Sex requires a lot more than just energy. You need mental willingness and a real need for it. If you find out that your poor libido is linked to your high stress levels, you should let your partner in on the situation so they don’t feel unwanted.

Weight fluctuations

Stress has so many people finding comfort in food to an unhealthy extent, and then dealing with complete disinterest in food when their moods change. We can all admit it feels super-good to indulge in unhealthy, decadent, and tasty stuff to increase your happiness levels. However, it’s important to stick to always a healthy and balanced diet. 

Hair loss

Hair loss is caused by abnormalities that destroy the hair follicles, causing the hair to fall out in patches. Stress, along with underlying health conditions could trigger hair loss and this is often a very distressing symptom for anyone to deal with. Stress could keep hair production all over your body at a “resting phase” so it stops growing back after falling out.

Helpful tips for managing stress

Stress reduces your life’s quality and leaves you feeling burned out, weak, and tense at all times. While it’s a natural human response to certain situations, you SHOULD NOT be stressed all the time. Here are a few things you could do to relax better and improve your wellbeing. [5]

  1. Avoid nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, and foods high in refined sugar. They may feel great at the moment but you’d probably regret your choices later.
  2. Try relaxation practices before sleeping such as mediation and yoga. Other helpful activities include watching the sunset, reading a good book, watching a movie, or talking about your day with someone you love.
  3. Keeping a journal or a diary might help you process your thoughts better and brainstorm rather than worry. Writing is an incredibly therapeutic activity and can help you relax more easily.
  4. Manage your time better by keeping a to-do list or organizing your activities beforehand. A lot of people are overstressed because they can’t figure out how to keep up with everything all at once. Scheduling your activities and sticking to each time frame could help reduce your anxiety over daily activities.
  5. Don’t take on more than you can manage. Learn how to turn down certain offers and resist the urge to engage yourself in too many activities all at once. Take on only the projects you can tackle productively and still have time for yourself and loved ones.
  6. Take control of your life. It’s time to step up to your troubles and begin to cut back on whatever could be stressing you out. Your health is your most important asset – everything else is secondary. It’s going to be tough at first, but it’s your life and your happiness is your responsibility.
  7. Stop worrying about the things you cannot control. 
  8. Learn to engage in activities that make you happy and try to have more fun every day.

References

  1. Stress Management.” Mayo Clinic. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  2. 42 Worrying Workplace Stress Statistics.” Stress.org. Daily Life. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  3. 11 Signs and Symptoms of Too Much Stress.” Health Line. Rachael Link. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  4. How to Manage Mood Swings Naturally.” Everyday Health. Stephanie Tallman Smith. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  5. Stress: 10 Ways to Ease Stress.” Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
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