If you are anything like me, you are starting to feel the pressure of trying to get so much done in a little amount of time. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but it is also the starting point of my stress period and as you know, stress can impact you in many ways, not just mentally but emotionally and physically.
Let’s face it, life at times can be challenging on its own but add in the pressure of the holidays, workload and family life, it can become downright daunting.
If not managed, can lead to severe health problems and bouts of depression so how can you tell if you are on your way to being stressed out… here are some things to look out for and tips on how to manage your stress levels.
1) OMG, I can’t seem to concentrate!
Stress has a direct impact on the brain. It can overload your mental agility and cause the release of stress hormones which are designed to basically make you feel good. It is a defense mechanism, but it can actually cause you to lose focus, experience memory loss and confusion. To help you remain focused try to manage your time effectively and do no overcommit. At work, try to answer your emails at certain time during the day vs. whenever an email pops into your inbox. Another trick is to keep list and work off your list – but giving yourself permission to not finish everything on your list. Focus on the top priorities and the things that will give you the biggest bang for your buck.
2) If I have to count sheep one more time, I’m gonna scream.
Also a contributor to loss of focus, when you are stressed out, chances are you are not getting enough sleep because your brain is working in overdrive. Over thinking and causing you to wake up at odd hours of the night. The goal is to shut your brain down for the evening. Get into a ritual that supports relaxation such as a warm bath and dim lights. Studies have shown that any light while you are sleeping, will have an effect on your brain so turn down those electronics hours before bedtime. Leave your cell phone downstairs and make your room dark.
3) Not now honey, I have a headache.
Let’s face it, when you are exhausted and feeling mentally beat up, last thing you want is to think about getting intimate with your partner. But, when you lose your libido, it actually adds to your stress level because you are now worried about your partner. But, if you can manage your sleep habits above and manage your overall stress, studies have shown that engaging in sexual activity with your partner is a huge stress reliever so go ahead and get your freak on!
4) It’s not a tooth ache, I just have sensitive teeth.
If you are suffering from tooth pain, it is most likely a stress related trigger. Stress has a strange way of manifesting. Perhaps it is causing you to eat more junk and sweets or in some cases, forcing you to grind your teeth or clinch your jaw. But all these can be a direct reaction to being stressed. Don’t ignore tooth pain and understand that most likely it is because of your stress levels and simply reducing it and managing the symptoms could offer you relief.
5) The invasion of the body snatcher.
For some reason, stress brings out the demons in all of us. People who are under stress will turn into somebody they typically are not. You will notice a change in their general demeanor and behaviors. Adjectives such as irritable, erratic, short-tempered, moody, bitchy, mean are just some of the words I have heard used. Basically, you will start to notice that nobody wants to be around you. To fix this, be aware that you are turning into somebody you are not. Manage your stress and let the people you love know that it is okay to draw attention to your bad behavior. How else will you correct it?
6) Strange Dreams leave you feeling poor.
Your brain works out the details and mood of the day via your dreams. It is a natural release and typically it is filled with positive images and mood enhancers that leave you feeling great when you awake. But under stress, your dreams can take an entirely different turn – they can become bizarre. It is a sure sign of your body trying to tell you it is time to slow down, get a good night sleep and take a moment to breathe.
7) WTF! I just don’t care anymore!
When stress has won, you will begin to feel a sense of overwhelm and a loss of empathy. You will just not care anymore. Your brain will want to distance you from everything and you will start to shut down emotionally, socially and physically. You thoughts will become hopeless and you will want to disengage. This is the time where you need to surround yourself with the positive influences in your life that make you feel good and just create a positive energy every time you are around them. You know who they are in your life. Don’t allow yourself to retreat into depression, arm yourself with the positive influences who can help you through these stressful times.
Here are some quick tips for you to use every day.
• Take a time out. Leave your desk, take a walk. Give yourself a mini break.
• Eat well, limit junk and sugar. Fuel your body with the energy it needs with a well balanced meal.
• Exercise – park farther away, take a walk, go to the gym, take the stairs. Get moving
• Relax and get enough sleep. Recharge your brain with a good night’s sleep.
• Prioritize your day with what is important. You don’t have to finish everything right now.
• Ask for help.