Am I stressed?
The signs and symptoms may surprise you. Learn how stress shows up and use that information to prevent future problems by managing your stress effectively.
Why do I feel like this?
For Mary, life was pretty good, until it wasn’t. Now she’s busier than ever. Catching up has become her theme, but in truth she just keep slipping further behind. No sooner does she tend to one issue, then another one pops up. She is beginning to think that she has too many balls in the air, but she’s sure that she can’t put any of those balls down. And she is tired, very tired.
Sometimes life has a way of making us dance as fast as we can. Perhaps you are balancing work and children. Maybe you are caring for your elder parents. Perhaps your work duties just increased, or you are learning a new job. Possibly everything in your life broke and needs to be repaired: your car, your microwave, your water heater. (I’ve been there!) Or, maybe you are living and working through a pandemic? Most of us never expected that.
“The long-term activation of the stress-response system and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones that follows can disrupt almost all your body’s processes.”Chronic stress puts your health at risk – Mayo Clinic.
The way Mary described feeling could be related to a physical or mental health condition, so making an appointment to get checked out is a good idea. You too may be feeling some of the myriad of symptoms related to stress.
The signs, symptoms and effects of stress are wide-spread, affecting how you feel, your behavior, and your health status. Here’s a list of some of the things you might notice. (The numbers following each symptom correspond to the evidence based source, listed at the end of this blog.)
• Headache 1, 3
• Anxiety 1, 2, 3, 4
• Overeating or undereating, weight gain 1,3,4
• Increases fat deposits 4
• Muscle tension or pain 1
• Restlessness 1
• Angry outbursts 1
• Chest pain 1
• Lack of motivation 1,2
• Lack of focus, trouble concentrating 1,2,3
• Drug or alcohol misuse 1,4
• Fatigue 1,2
• Feeling overwhelmed 1,2
• Tobacco use 1
• Change in sex drive 1
• Irritability or anger 1,2
• Social withdrawal 1
• Stomach upset, digestive problems 1,3
• Sadness 1,2
• Depression 1,2,3,4
• Exercising less often 1,4
• Sleep problems 1,2,3,4
• Uncertain 2
• Nervous 2
• Helpless 2
• Memory 3
• Powerless 2
• Burned out 2
• Heart disease 3
• High blood pressure 4
• Elevated pulse rate 4
• Contributes to clogged arteries 4
• Damage blood vessels and arteries 4
• Increased risk of heart attacks or strokes 4
Motivation for stress management
Did you find anything on this list you’d like to avoid? I should thing so! All of the above, I imagine! Here’s the thing. Feeling badly, for example experiencing pain or feeling overwhelmed, can be strong motivators. Fear of what may happen, for example heart disease, isn’t a strong motivator. Most of us are just too good at denial.
This list, and this blog, are not meant to scare you but rather to motivate you to take good care of yourself. Recognizing stress is a good first step. Finding inspiration or motivation to manage your stress is a good second step. Taking action is the necessary step! With no time to waste, you need to expertly choose, find time, and use stress solutions with maximum outcomes. (link this text to managing stress, mindfully.)
What to do about stress
The reason that I teach and write about stress is not because I’m so relaxed, but because I get stressed very easily. Yet I am often told, “You’re so calm!” That’s because I do something about my stress and manage it with a variety of interventions.
You can manage your stress, too. Consider the signs and symptoms of stress and use them as motivation to practice stress management. If you need some ideas about how to get started managing your stress, here are some links to TLC’s services:
Also, and this is important, please meet with your physical health and mental health providers for differential diagnosis and to address the way stress is affecting your health. You may also want to meet with a spiritual advisor/leader for spiritual distress. Take good care of yourself!
In peace, Gale
Create your own collection of stress management interventions
Stress Solutions: 100+ Tips for Nurses compiles inspirational stress management interventions from nurses and other experts that help you to release stress and restore energy in just a few moments. Download your free copy.
Manage the stress in your life, mindfully
Once you have a collection, you are prepared to comprehensively manage the stress in your life, and help others to do so, too. But for busy people, that’s often easier said than done. The secret is to expertly choose, find time, and use stress solutions with maximum outcomes. TLC has a webinar for that! Managing Stress, Mindfully: Advanced Stress Management for Nurses. The vital expertise you gain is how to use timely, frequent, mindful and meaningful stress management interventions ideally matched to the situation you find yourself in. With that knowledge you can stop stress from draining your energy. Enroll today!
Sources, the signs, symptoms, and effects of stress
Healthy Lifestyle: Stress management. Retrieved 11/24/20 from Stress symptoms: Effects on your body and behavior – Mayo Clinic.
2. -, May 5, 2020. Healthcare Personnel and First Responders: How to Cope with Stress and Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic. CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019. Retrieved 10/12/2020 from Healthcare Personnel and First Responders: How to Cope with Stress and Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic | CDC
3. Mayo Clinic Staff. March 19, 2019. Chronic stress puts your health at risk. Mayo Clinic Healthy Lifestyle. Retrieved 11/24/2020 from Chronic stress puts your health at risk – Mayo Clinic.
4. -, July 6, 2020. Understanding the Stress Response. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. Retrieved 11/24/20 from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response