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Mental Mondays: 15 Signs Stress Is Taking A Toll On Your Health + Practical Coping Tips

Mental Mondays: 15 Signs Stress Is Taking A Toll On Your Health + Practical Coping Tips



tress is an inevitable part of life, and needless to say, beneficial. When under stress, the body releases the ‘fight or flight’ hormone, which helps us work under pressure. However, when we subject ourselves to constant stress, these same hormones begin to pose a threat to our minds and bodies. You might have become too accustomed to the lifestyle to realize the signs of stress and how it is taking its toll on you. Hence, the reason you need to familiarize yourself with the symptoms and triggers peculiar to you.

Adulthood is sometimes used interchangeably with the word stress, and it’s normal to think so. The days of sitting at home and waiting for our folks to provide power, food, shelter, and gas went by so fast, right? While we try to normalize this phenomenon, a quick reminder that our body systems don’t seem to align with an overdose of stress might help put things in perspective and equilibrium.

Here are easy-to-spot physical signs of stress… 

#1. Fatigue

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The blustery wind of demotivation has finally swept you off your feet. It doesn’t matter the tasks that pile up, you crumble like a pack of cards at having to do anything. The more you come to terms with your bursting to-do list, the more crippling it feels from within. That’s why it seems like the day has already drained you, even if it’s still 9 am.

#2. Headaches/vision problems

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It’s only a matter of time before a stressed and sleep-deprived person starts experiencing headaches and vision problems. The constant release of the adrenaline hormone due to stress can cause constant pupil dilation and eventually, eye-induced headaches and vision problems. 

#3. Stomach upsets

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When you’re stressed, hormones are released that directly affect the gut. It negatively affects digestion and could alter the bacteria balance in the gastrointestinal tract. People also cope with stress through gluttony or eating unhealthy foods. This directly affects the stomach, and might be the reason why diarrhea and constipation are one of the common physical expressions of stress in an individual.

#4. Weight changes

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Stress taking its toll on you might be through your weight. It’s different for everyone. While some may record significant weight gain, others lose weight drastically. Study your body under stress, as this might help notify it’s time for you to relax.

#5. Weak immune system

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A weak immune system is one of the most common signs of stress. You might notice the flu and skin breakouts knocking on your front door when you are under constant stress. There’s a sick feeling, and existing health problems seem to worsen with stress in the mix. That’s because the immune system can’t effectively fight off antigens when the body is stressed. Thus, you become prone to infections, illnesses like ulcers, high blood pressure, and a total system breakdown.

Check out 5 behavioral signs of stress…

#1. Lifestyle changes

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One of the ways stress exhibits itself is through lifestyle changes. One may begin to exercise more, while another gives up on the idea of working out. It could also lead to a change in diet and sleep patterns.

#2. Drug dependency


When stressed, our response is all that matters. We often tend to lean towards unhealthy coping strategies for survival. These may include indulging in the temporary solution alcohol and hard drugs offer. 

#3. Overly emotional

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If you’re feeling teary for no reason, or you’re being emotional about things you’d naturally not react to, then you might be stressed. This also includes unpredictable outbursts of anger, irritability at the slightest provocations, and unexplained sad feelings. If these emotions become overwhelming and affect your daily activities, it’s time to ring the alarm.

#4. Restlessness

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When you find it hard to sit still and would rather continue within the lines of toxic productivity, even when you know that your entire being needs a break, stress is taking its toll on you. You can sense your system in overdrive. Ironically, that’s your body signaling to you that it has had enough.

#5. Procrastination

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For me, this is my major sign of acute stress. Even if the heavens collide with earth, I would still procrastinate. When exposed to constant stress, you might start to avoid responsibilities, as they make you feel overwhelmed and fear that things could further spiral out of control. So you catapult to tomorrow what could have been done today. It almost feels like any other task would be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Check out 5 mental signs that stress is taking its toll on you…

#1. Lack of focus

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It’s a no-brainer. When stressed, it is a hard sport trying to concentrate. Your mind would find it hard to grasp or focus on thoughts. That’s a sign you need to shut down your system for recovery to take place. A short nap might suffice or a whole week away from the source of the stress would help heal your mind.

#2. Depression/anxiety

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From a heavy sense of fear to isolating oneself, stress might magnify the problems you’re facing and cause you to become anxious, depressed, or even suicidal. You constantly have to deal with intrusive thoughts and might find it hard to make decisions. Anxiety might express itself in nervous behaviors like pacing, nail-biting, or skin itching.

#3. Pessimism

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At random times in life, everyone appears to be the problem. You complain about everything and all you can see is the negative. If this isn’t how you usually react to things, being pessimistic could be solved by relieving yourself from constantly stressful situations. From your parents, colleagues to strangers, if all you have to say about everyone is negative, perhaps it’s not them, it’s stress — look inwards.

#4. Forgetfulness

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While we forget things every now and then, forgetfulness and misappropriation of information could be signs of stress. This could affect your work output and relationships. Forgetfulness is a major sign your mind isn’t functioning at its optimal level. You don’t need to work harder, you need time off to recalibrate your mind.

#5. Low self-esteem

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When exposed to stress long enough, you tend to overlook your basic self-care which expectedly manifests in the holistic way you view yourself. It also depends on the cause of stress. For instance, if it stems from a stressful relationship, there’s a high possibility of low self-esteem creeping in on you. You have your plate full so much so that getting your hair or nails done sounds like a taboo. One day, you stare at yourself in the mirror and you can’t recognize the reflection staring coldly back at you.

Check out 5 effective ways that can help you manage stress better…

#1. Learn to say NO

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The hustle culture has sold out all tickets in our time and the ones who couldn’t attend are at the sidelines sulking and feeling like they have missed out. As humans, we tend to get validation from productivity. We overestimate our capacity and continue adding to our to-do list, but that’s not how best to earn impressive results. Learn the art of saying NO when you should, you don’t get to be a hero because you keep experiencing burnout. When you know that you can’t take any more tasks or favors, do yourself a favor by declining any request and focusing on your pending responsibilities.

#2. Know your triggers

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Working late at night might sync with Annabel’s body system but you notice whenever you lose a night’s sleep, you become an overnight Cruella. Therefore, figure yourself out, learn your triggers, and avoid pushing them hard. Realistically, we might have to undergo a bit of acute stress every now and then to meet targets but if you perform terribly under pressure, learn not to wait till the last minute to execute your plans.

#3. Be mindful

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Learning to be more mindful transcends beyond a few minutes of meditation and yoga. It means living your life by being present in the moment. It starts by seeing life through a non-judgemental lens to being conscious of what and how you eat. Something as simple as avoiding the urge to multitask when eating and being more present can go a long way. Be intentional about your words and the content you allow to seep through your senses. This helps you build more capacity to overcome stressful future occurrences.

#4. Never neglect your hobbies

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Don’t be too busy that you don’t have time for yourself. We become so much of grownups that we feel a walk in the park is a waste of precious time. When stress is taking a toll on you, take time out to do things you love, as it inhibits the release of adrenaline, and your body produces feel-good hormones that counter stress. You’d be surprised how the sea breeze caressing your cheeks and walking its way through your tresses could be a breath of fresh air.

#5. Seek help

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If you feel stress is taking its toll on you and you’re unable to cope, never hesitate to ask for help. Ask your sibling or partner to help with house chores designated to you. Reach out to your support system to help with the kids, so you can steal a spa day. Ask for a day off to organize your thoughts better. Visit a therapist to help you identify mental triggers and patterns. They will provide helpful solutions and/or medication. Yes, adulting is hard, but trying to carry the world on your shoulders is harder. Always ask for help.

Featured image: PeopleImages | iStock

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