Constantly checking emails. Big deadlines looming. Phone ringing off the hook. But you have everything under control right?. Or do you?
Sometimes, it can be really hard to differentiate between dealing with a difficult situation and being overly stressed. Don’t wait for your body to burn out! Here’s 10 subtle signs that your body could be telling you you’re stressed.
1. Grinding your teeth
When we’re stressed we can develop bruxism. This fancy word for grinding your teeth is typically subconscious and done when we’re asleep, but it can lead to serious pain when we’re awake.
Grinding your teeth as you sleep causes your teeth and jaw to feel more painful when you’re awake. In some instances, it can even lead to other problems, such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This leads to popping or clicking noises in your jaw, difficulty chewing, and chronic jaw pain.
Although not all TMJ issues are stress related, if you are experiencing a tightening or pain in your jaw or teeth, make an appointment with your dentist — you’re better safe than sorry!
2. Things (and thighs) feel tense
In the same way that the muscles in your jaw could be hurting because of stress, the same applies for the rest of your body too. Constantly bring in fight or flight mode and processing stress, your body is ready to go at the drop of a hat. So, your arms and legs might ache a lot more than usual.
3. Your ‘monthlies’ aren’t monthly
For those of us who have a uterus, your monthly cycle can be a good indicator of your stress levels.
The general rule for a period is 28 days, but this cycle varies from person to person. When stressed, however, this cycle can dramatically change, becoming extremely long, causing excessive bleeding or spotting, or even causing painful cramps whilst menstruating.
While the irregularity of your period can be a sign of stress, there are also other medical factors that play a role in the regularity of your cycle such as hormonal medication. If you’re worried about it, make an appointment with your doctor or speak to one of our Wellness Specialists for more help.
4. Constantly thirsty
Have you been drinking a lot more water than usual and don’t know why? The answer may not be the night of your hearing but instead you could be dehydrated as a result of stress.
Doctors state that when we’re under stress our adrenal glands pump stress hormones, and as we’re constantly under pressure our adrenals become exhausted. The problem with this is that the adrenal glands produce the hormone aldosterone, which helps regulate our bodies levels of fluid and electrolytes. So, as they become more fatigued, your body becomes more and more dehydrated as these glands work overtime.
5. ‘I’ve gotta go!’
Some people say that the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, but I say the way into a person’s mind is through their gut.
While they don’t seem like they have a lot in common, your stomach and brain are interconnected, as your digestive health is very closely linked to your stress levels. So, if you’ve been going a lot more than usual (or can’t seem to stop), it could be a reaction to being nervous or overly stressed about things in your life.
6. Weird Dreams
As well as either not sleeping or sleeping too much, when you finally do get some shut eye, you’ll probably be having some pretty weird dreams too.
While it’s pretty weird, professionals explain this is because most of our emotional modification takes place during our REM sleep, as we try to work through and process negative emotions as we sleep. So even though you’re not conscious, your subconscious is trying to make sense of all the stress in your life- giving you some pretty crazy dreams as a result!
7. Option A or B?
Whether it’s what to have for tea or if you should apply for a new job, being under stress can turn us into jelly. Any idea can suddenly feel impossible, as you spend ages weighing up the pros and cons of buying a pack of cheese in the supermarket.
In 2012, an article published in the journal of the Association of Psychological Science showed that stress changed how people make decisions and can make them more indecisive. So even though we might jump at the opportunity to take on a new job without considering the commute or buying a kilogram of sweets, the spontaneity, or lack of, making a decision could be a sign that we are overly stressed.
8. Finding a few follicles
While we all shed some of our hair every day, have you noticed a little more than usual in your hairbrush recently?
Stress and hair loss are linked in one of three ways. One could be due to your follicle being pushed out prematurely before completing a full growth cycle, or hair loss as a result of your immune system attacking them. Yet, it could be the result of trichotillomania, a disorder when someone pulls or picks out their own hair as a result of stress or anxiety. If you are experiencing the latter, reach out to one of our wellness coaches or your local GP.
9. You can’t shake that cold
With stress comes sleep deprivation, and with that comes a weakened immune system. Not only does this mean we are more susceptible to coughs and colds, but they’re harder to get rid of too.
10. Other symptoms? I can’t remember …
Finding it difficult to focus? Struggle to remember everything you have to do? If you’re finding your memory is not what it used to be, this can be a sign of stress.
As we pile our plate high full of things to do and remember, things often topple off the sides and become quickly forgotten. Paying attention to our thoughts, as well as keeping track of everything we’re doing in our day to day lives, can be a clear indicator of stress and when we need to take a step back from a situation.
Symptoms stressing you out?
If you are finding it hard to remember little details, are struggling to sleep, or even can’t shift a cold, talk to one of our wellness coaches. Whether you’d like more advice, someone to talk to, or other helpful tips and tricks to get you through this stressful time, we’re here to figure out a plan for you.