If you’ve been reading my blog, you will know that I have been travelling a lot – from Milan to Paris to London to Switzerland and back – and wasn’t feeling so energetic. I guess you could say I was feeling pretty run down, moody and tired. Then I read this article in Healing Lifestyles, and I realised – maybe it’s actually stress?
People get so stressed out, we often don’t even recognize the signs of stress other than an overloaded to-do list or schedule. But researchers suggest that managing our stress may be our #1 health concern leading to all sorts of chronic issues and eventually disease.
It appears that high stress levels can damage everything from our immune systems to our relationships. But if you’re not aware that you’re stressed, how can you tell, and what are you going to do to manage it? It’s not as easy as you think!
Stress has some serious consequences. For example, it can:
- Lead to chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, immune disorders, and even cancer.
- Negatively affect judgement, decision-making, alertness, creativity, and emotional balance.
- Cause increased conflict and aggression.
Once you actually get to this point, it’s a real stress disorder or stress ‘burnout.’ Here are many of the common symptoms that eventually lead into the above consequences of severe stress to your entire mind, body and soul:
- Having low energy, being easily fatigued
- Poor memory and concentration
- Poor sleep quality, not waking up refreshed
- Anxious, restless, difficult to relax
- Low motivation, feeling bored or depressed
Here are 5 more physical signs that you’re harboring stress that are hidden behind what we assume are from other causes…and also quick ways to cope with them.
1. Tight jaw. This one isn’t such a hidden sign as a tight jaw is pretty easy to spot. But if you’re waking up with a tight jaw, you might be clenching or grinding your teeth at night. QUICK FIX: If this is you, you’ll want to schedule a visit to the dentist to get a night guard. Also try being more aware of your facial ‘posture’ – when the jaw is tight, take 10 deep breaths.
2. Inability to sleep. Worry can keep us up at night, or it can cause fitful sleep cycles. If you’re exhausted, you’re less able to manage stress during the day. QUICK FIX: Researchers recently demonstrated in the Journal of Physiology that an afternoon workout session may help balance out your wake/sleep cycles, enabling you sleep more soundly and fall asleep more quickly. Meditation also helps you fall asleep.
3. Changes in your period. Any change in your period, can be caused by stress. The absence of your period is a big sign that you’re not taking care of yourself, but also an increase in cramping and pain can be a sign, too. QUICK FIX: Try a few restorative yoga poses to help decrease physical tension in your body.
4. Acne. Yep, it’s not just for adolescents. You will notice like clock work, when you are stressed, you start getting breakouts. Lots of times cyst-like formations, that you should NEVER try to pop or play with, will rear their ugly heads. They just need to go down on their own , it’ll happen when your stress goes down. My go to is QET Botanicals Spot Serum treatment, we are religious about it. And keep your hands off of your face!
5. Your breathing actually becomes shallow when you are stressed, so pay attention to your breathing. Try a Pranayama Breathing class!
5 Stress Busting Ideas
- Go for a jog without any devices: Connect with true nature absorbing all the sounds happening around you. Allow your focus to drift off into the trees or water noticing the color, smell, and sounds of the natural elements. Nature serves far beyond activity and social environments, it’s also about feeding your soul and mental health.
- Give yourself a mini-facial, every night: Before bed, when the house is calm … slip away into your bathroom and start pampering. Our exterior is the point in which we communicate with others, in some way or another we are conscientious of how this appears. Knowing that our face feels and looks radiant will boost our confidence and can psychologically make us feel positive. Detoxify with a scrub, double cleanse with hot towels, and calm or treat blemishes with essential oils. By the time you leave that room it’s guaranteed your tension will have subsided.
- Take your home workspace into a different setting: Be it a different part of your house with an outside view, out of your home and into a park, coffee shop with views, a clubhouse, etc. Studies show that dorm residents with more natural views from their windows would score better than those with less natural views on tests. Testing or not, it’s proven to increase brain power!
Reorganize and jam out to your favorite music: Re-organizing or cleaning is therapeutic; it’s part of Feng Shui and the benefits occur psychologically and energetically. Reducing clutter in your home will reduce clutter in your mind. Based on your Feng Shui element, a house will either empower you or deplete your life force energy. If you can’t add items to your space, make the best of your space by allowing it to naturally energize. Combine that with your favorite nostalgic feel good tunes and come out feeling accomplished, organized, productive, and less stressed.
- Sleep In: Allow yourself to oversleep once or twice a week to catch up and revive your mental and physical state. Adequate sleep is an essential key to a healthy lifestyle that will benefit your functioning organs. Don’t feel guilty, or lazy – sleep improves our quality of life, lessens anxiety, and reduces headaches. Escape from the hustle bustle life now and then.
Of course, the best way to begin to de-stress is to pay attention to when you are stressed out and why and develop coping mechanisms to cut it off whenever you start to feel burnt out. I know that after reading the Healing Lifestyles article, I felt a bit more equipped to not only know how to recognise stress, but how to deal with it, too.