April is Stress Awareness Month! Stress is something present in the daily lives of us all – whether you notice it or not. Sometimes, in the demanding, busy nature of today’s society, it is difficult to even notice yourself becoming stressed.
Here are a few warning signs of stress you need to look for in order to know when you are stressed:
- Nervous habits, fidgeting, feet tapping– these are signs of anxiousness that could seem like an involuntary action, when it may be a warning sign that something could be underlying and leading to stress.
- Increased frustration, irritability, edginess– if you experience a sudden change in your patience level when dealing with others, or a change in tone when you interact with coworkers or family members, this could be a sign of stress and something you must take note of. Managing your stress can avoid causing friction in your interpersonal relationships.
- Frequent headaches, jaw clenching, or pain– these physical symptoms are quite common and experienced by many, however that doesn’t mean they should be ignored. If you find yourself grinding your teeth, or experiencing more headaches than normal, it could be stress induced. Take time out of your day to exercise, meditate, or do something that helps you relax to help alleviate these symptoms.
- Weight gain or loss without dieting– Stress affects both the body and mind negatively. If you notice yourself losing or gaining a notable amount of weight without an explanation (change in diet or exercise regimen) it could be due to stress. You may also be eating too much or too little because you are preoccupied by something else.
- Frequent colds, infections, cold sores– These are a few other physical symptoms that indicate your body is trying to tell you something. When you are under stress, your blood pressure may rise, which in turn can lead to a weakened immune system.
- Feeling overwhelmed or overloaded– This may seem obvious to most, but taking on too many tasks or responsibilities that may seem feasible at first can often lead to feeling overwhelmed. Always make sure to juggle your schedule and tasks responsibly so you don’t feel overworked.
Now that you know the signs to look out for, follow these tips to help relieve stress:
- Take time each week to do something you enjoy– many individuals experience frustration when their work-life balance leans more towards work. Having something each week that you look forward to can help you feel less stressed and make the work week more bearable. If you don’t have a hobby or activity you like, try something new!
- Find the root of your stress and make changes as needed– If it’s possible for you to identify the root of your stress, you may be able to make the adjustments needed to better your lifestyle and eliminate some stressors. If your stress is work related, try to make priority lists for tasks or manage your time more efficiently. If you find your stress is social, family, or relationship related, you may want to consider making changes accordingly to remove or reduce time spent with friends or family members causing you unnecessary stress.
- Exercise, practice yoga or meditation- Incorporating more physical activity into your daily routine is known to help combat stress. In addition, practicing yoga, meditation, and other relaxation techniques may help you feel more clear-minded and focused on your weekly tasks.
- Get outdoors– Getting Vitamin D can help stress and anxiety levels! When you start experiencing a stressful situation, go for a walk outside and get some fresh air to clear your mind.
- Change your diet- individuals may feel less stressed and anxious when they eat a healthy, nutrient-rich diet.
- Get more sleep – If you aren’t already getting enough sleep, going to bed an hour earlier might help you feel refreshed and significantly reduce your stress levels.
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