There’s a whole load of research to suggest that people in the UK are becoming more and more stressed. Many people, though, don’t appreciate that recurrent illness, feeling tired, bad skin and lack of motivation, are all signs of stress. The question is: are you too stressed?
Go through the list below. If you’re feeling a bit grim, and many of these points ring true with you, it might be time to consider your stress levels.
You Keep Getting Ill
I get ill through stress all the time. It took me a long time to work out that stress was the problem. When you go through a stressful period, your hormones release cortisol, which helps you get through in the short-term. But, if you’re continually stressed, your cortisol resources become depleted.
When your level of cortisol (a key component of the immune system) is low, you’re more likely to pick up illnesses.
The most important thing you can do to ensure you don’t keep getting ill through stress is to rest and recover. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
You Are Demotivated And Can’t Concentrate
Have you ever looked at your to-do list and not known where to start? Perhaps sometimes you get so overwhelmed you end up doing nothing. I’ve been there.
If your body is always feeling the need to produce cortisol, it can lead to a shrinking of the hippocampus (which is kind of like the library of your brain). This has been linked with Alzheimer’s, too.
If you find yourself unable to concentrate you must take some time out. Go and do something else. A lot of people have turned to meditation as a great way to switch off your brain when you’re overwhelmed.
You Have Trouble Sleeping
If you wake up in the night and start worrying about things, you need to consider (during the day and when you’re in a good frame of mind) what is making you feel that way. Sleep shouldn’t be a challenge, especially if you’ve had a busy day and you’re actually tired.
When you’ve had a bad night sleep, every day can seem like a challenge. Whilst stress can lead to bad sleep, bad sleep can also lead to stress. As a starting point, try cutting out caffeinated drinks before bed; it might not be the answer but it’s worth a shot.
If your skin is normal one minute and a painful mess the next, that can be a sign of stress. Everyone’s skin goes through stages in the winter when it just doesn’t look like it does in the summer (try Vitamin D to overcome this), but if you’re continually breaking out in spots, it could be a sign of stress.
When a woman is going through a hormonal imbalance (i.e. her period, but this can also be stress) it’s most likely you’ll see painful, under skin spots appearing on your chin. If you don’t suffer from adult acne, see the appearance as spots as your body’s way of telling you how it’s feeling.
A Need For Bad Food
Comfort/stress eating is such a common thing. Having the awareness of your stress eating is not as simple as the eating itself. Research suggests that there’s only a very small decrease in chocolate cravings for pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women. This proves that we can’t just blame our periods.
I find it borderline impossible to not reach for something sweet when I’m stressed. If you’ve managed to fight that urge, please teach me your ways!
Are You Stressed?
If you’re feeling stressed or have overcome feelings of stress, please share your top tips on here so I can share them with other readers.
*All of these pictures are taken by wonderful Jim Allen.