Signs You Might be Over-Stressed
Are You Over-Stressed?
Are you gearing back up for the new school year? Starting a new job with more responsibilities? A stay-at-home mom with 3 under 3? With all the excitement of starting new classes and meeting new people, stress can creep up on you or hit you all at once. Although studies show that a moderate amount of stress can protect you (like when you slam on your breaks to avoid an accident) or help motivate you (like writing a ten-page paper the night before it’s due; we’ve all been there!), prolonged or chronic stress can lead to serious consequences. These consequences can include heart disease, heart attack, strokes, sexual dysfunction, hair loss, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and that’s just to name a few!
Here are some symptoms, both emotional and physical, to help you figure out if you are over-stressed:
1.) You are easily agitated or annoyed
Is your significant other getting on your nerves more than usual lately (does he really have to breathe that loud?!)? Do you argue with your friends more now than in the past? Do your parents seem to be nagging you nonstop until you can’t stand it? Well, you might be over-stressed! Of course, annoyances are a normal part of life, but if you feel like every little thing pushes you off the edge, it may be time to evaluate your stress levels, and reach out for help.
2.) You feel like you are losing control and are overwhelmed with your responsibilities
You have to let the dog out, iron your clothes, get dressed, brush your teeth, pick up toys around the house, eat breakfast, get your kids to school, drive back to the house because you forgot something, get to work or class on time, and ten million more things. This is a normal morning for many, but if you feel like you can’t handle everything you have to do or you are always rushing around and forgetting things, stress may be affecting your quality of life more than it has to.
3.) You are unable to clear your mind and relax or you’re always worrying
When you eat lunch do you feel like you can’t enjoy your food because you are thinking about the paper you have to write or the project that you need to complete at work? Are you unable to enjoy a TV show or book without getting distracted thinking about past arguments, schoolwork, or an upcoming presentation? This may be a sign that stress is getting in the way of your relaxation time, hindering you from calming your mind and organizing your thoughts.
(These symptoms can also be signs of health issues, so see your doctor if you have any of them)
1.) Rapid heartbeat or chest pains
You feel like your heart is always beating fast even if you didn’t just have a coffee with espresso shots or walk up three flights of stairs. Your chest feels tight, especially when a particularly stressful event is coming up. (These can also be symptoms of a health issue, so please seek a doctor if you have these symptoms.)
2.) Gastrointestinal or appetite issues
You are taking more trips to the bathroom than you normally would. Your stomach hurts before or after you eat a meal. You suddenly feel like eating three burritos or you barely feel like eating even an apple. These symptoms of stress can be inconvenient, to say the least, and may even lead to other issues such as disordered eating patterns.
3.) Insomnia and/or low energy
Does falling asleep in less than 20 minutes seem impossible? Has staying asleep all night become more infrequent. Because of your lack of sleep, you drag yourself through the day or even fall asleep in weird places (in the middle of Starbucks, anyone?). Lack of sleep and energy can be signs that being over-stressed has started to affect your efficiency, which is not helpful at work, school, or at home.
4.) Frequent headaches
You catch yourself saying “can you please lower your voice? My head really hurts.” Bright lights bother you, and you can’t think straight because your head is pounding. If this happens more than once in a while even if you have enough sleep, water, and food, stress may be the culprit. (If you have extreme pain, please go to the doctor.)
If you have one or more of these symptoms, you may be suffering from over-stress. For many people stress can be hard to regulate. Therapy is a helpful option. Therapists are trained to help you learn how to regulate your emotional responses to stress and other obstacles. If you are interested in seeing a therapist for stress or any other reason, fill out a this form, and we’ll be in touch to schedule an intake appointment for you.
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