Could you be suffering from stress?
There are many different ways stress can impact on your life. Have a look at the following list and see if any relate to you:
- You wake up still feeling tired;
- You suffer from headaches;
- You suffer from an upset stomach including diarrhoea, constipation and nausea;
- You are having problems with your short term memory;
- You are having trouble concentrating;
- You have low energy;
- You suffer from frequent colds and infections;
- You are suffering from unexplained aches, pains and tense muscles;
- You stay awake at night and can’t shut down;
- You feel a loss of sexual desire;
- You feel chest pain or rapid heartbeats;
- You are having problems with your vision being blurred or impaired;
- You find you need to have a nap or extended sleep during your days off work;
- You find yourself clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth;
- You are avoiding social situations;
- You are irritable and cranky; and/or
- Your mind races and you can’t think.
We have all had had some of these symptoms at some time, but the key is to look for a change in your behaviour. For example, if you have always taken naps in the afternoon then having a nap is not a concern. This is the norm for you, but if you have never needed to have a nap to get through the day and suddenly you do, then you may be suffering from stress.
Ignoring these symptoms is not the answer. These are your early warning signs that something needs to change. Long term stress on the body can cause serious harm such as increased chances of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal disorders, anxiety and depression.
So what can you do?
It’s not always easy to reduce your stress levels but there are some things that can help.
- Doing deep breathing exercises or mindfulness;
- Taking a short break – stepping away for a time-out;
- Eating well-balanced meals and drinking plenty of water;
- Speaking to a GP, counsellor or friend;
- Taking notice of your body – are you clenching your jaw? Release the jaw and move it around; Is your neck stiff? Do some minor stretches and relax your muscles;
- Doing simple exercises such as taking a ten minute walk when you get home from work will help shake off the day;
- Getting into the right mindset – let go of the things you can’t change, don’t put yourself down or tell yourself to get over it. Use positive self-talk;
- Changing your sleep habits e.g. don’t use smartphones or tablets before bed, create a routine;
- Downloading one of the many apps that address ways to relax, de-stress and feel good; and/or
- Writing down your feelings or thoughts in a journal.
Remember you are not alone. Anyone can suffer from stress. It doesn’t make you weak and it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. The difference is how you deal with the stress.
Websites to help with stress:
Apps to help with stress:
Kerri Schulz | HR | The Money Edge | Bundaberg