It is easy to know when you are dealing with extreme stress, such as a serious illness or the loss of a job. But there are so many other sources of stress that you might not realize are affecting your body and your mental health. Here are some subtle signs that you are dealing with stress in your daily life.
You Are Constantly Tired and Fatigued
Do you feel like you are always tired, no matter how much sleep you get or caffeine you consume? If fatigue is becoming a problem, it might actually be from your emotional stress.
What happens is when you have a lot of stress in your life, even very small sources of stress, it can cause your cortisol levels to be out of balance. This in turn affects your ability to get a good nights’ sleep, and also reduces your energy levels during the day.
So, if you find that you struggle both with insomnia and fatigue, or just being tired no matter how much you sleep, it could be a sign of stress.
You’re Gaining or Losing Weight
Weight gain or weight loss can also be a sign of stress, especially if there is a change in your eating habits. When we are stressed, some of us tend to overeat, while others have no appetite at all.
If you find yourself snacking more often than usual, or not eating as much as you used to, it could be a sign that you are dealing with stress.
Your Mood is Unpredictable
Another sign of stress that people often think is from other sources is when you are moody, agitated, or irritable. Your brain is handling a lot when you have multiple reasons to be stressed out every day, and you are probably focusing on your stressors more than anything else. This causes a lot of overwhelm, panic, anxiety, and many more emotions that can lead to moodiness and agitation.
Your Anxiety is Getting Worse
You may also notice that on days when you have more to stress about, your anxiety is also worse. There is a big connection between stress and mental illnesses like anxiety and depression. People with chronic stress find that their anxiety is worse, and those with anxiety find that stress affects them more severely.
It is a difficult cycle to be caught up in. If you have an anxiety disorder, it is even more important for you to recognize the signs of stress and try to keep it under control as best you can.
You’re Getting Sick More Often
If you find that you are getting sick more often, it could also be a sign of stress. When you are stressed, your immune system is affected and you are more susceptible to getting sick. This is because stress causes inflammation in the body, which makes it harder for your immune system to fight off infection.
You Feel Confused and Lack Focus
Lastly, you might have brain fog from the stress, which can cause a lot of confusion, lack of focus, and poor concentration. If you notice that you are getting behind in work, you can’t really focus on a task for very long, or your concentration is suffering, it may be from your stress levels.
All of these are subtle signs that stress might be taking a toll on your body, even if you don’t realize it. If you are noticing any of these changes, it is important to take some time to relax and de-stress.
Consider some relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation, or try to find a hobby that you enjoy to take your mind off of your stressors. You should also talk to your doctor if you are struggling to manage your stress, as they may be able to help you find additional resources or treatment options.