Five signs and solutions of stress overload
It’s no secret that life and work can be stressful and that stress is something we all experience from time to time. So what is it? What is this horrible little word we all use and all feel at times that can get us so down? Well to put it in simple terms, stress isn’t the bad guy! Stress is actually something that is a natural response to our environment and is meant to protect us. In fact, in the right situations stress can help us to deal with high demand, perform better for longer and help keep us alert, energized and focused. However, how many of us feel alert or focused when stressed? Not many. Instead we feel drained, exhausted and deflated. That is because we experience ‘stress overload’ which means we have too many things in our day which are causing the stress response. This can have a negative impact on our physical, emotional and mental health, being the root cause of a multitude of aches, complaints and illnesses. So how do you know if you are experiencing stress overload? Take a look at these five common symptoms and what you can do to help.
1) Flying off the handle
This is a very common reaction to stress. Biting heads off around the office, snapping at the smallest of things and overreacting with anger. This is a sign that it has all got too much and you are experiencing serious stress overload.
Solution: Take a deep breath and act rather than react. When you feel those bubbles boiling in your blood, recognise this as a sign you are about to explode and take three deep breaths. This simple exercise allows the stress response to calm and the body to go back to a more rested state.
2) Feeling anxious
Prolonged periods of stress can lead to anxiety and the two often come hand in hand. Anxiety symptoms can consist of panic attacks, nausea, muscle tension and an increase in heart rate. All of these will only cause stress levels to rise and perpetuate the situation.
Solution: Exercise. Being cooped up in an office all day can feel extremely claustrophobic when you are experiencing anxiety. You can feel trapped and unable to get away from you worries and concerns so on your lunch break try to get some fresh air. Take a 10-15 minute walk focusing on your breathing and notice your anxiety decrease and you stress levels calm.
3) Change in diet
Often when we are stuck in stressful situations, we forget to look after ourselves and this includes ignoring the importance of having a healthy lunch whilst at work. We can feel as though we don’t have time to take a lengthy lunch break and instead rush out to buy something quick and easy we can scoff down on the way back. As well as being unhealthy, this can make us feel lethargic, groggy and even nauseous which will in turn make our stress even harder to cope with.
Solution: Be prepared and take time. What we nourish ourselves with is so important in terms of our well-being, physically and emotionally. Ensure you make time the night before to pack something good for you, then when lunch time rolls around, however busy you are, stop! Even if it’s only for 10 minutes, just step away from your desk, find a quiet place preferably outdoors and enjoy your food. Without this habit stress can cause you to gain or lose an unhealthy amount of weight.
4) Sleep interruptions
Living a busy and stressful day can make it impossible to unwind and relax, as we are still buzzing from the adrenalin. This is when sleep becomes more difficult and often hours are lost worrying and stressing over what didn’t get done today and what needs to get done tomorrow, setting us up for struggle.
Solution: Routine. There is a lot to be said for a good routine, particularly of an evening to help you unwind and prepare for a good sleep which is essential to our mood and how we perform during the day. Try not to eat too late and at least one hour before bedtime turn off all technology! This gives your brain time to wind down and ensure it doesn’t become over stimulated. Find a relaxing meditation or hypnosis CD and play this quietly to help you drift off.
5) Physical problems
Stress manifests itself physically. This can be in terms of muscular pain, skin problems, weight problems, heart issues, the list goes on. If you are an over stressed individual, it is very likely you will be experiencing some physical symptoms that you may not even know are stress related.
Solution: Self-care. Looking after yourself is so important, particularly if you are experiencing stress overload. If we are, we tend to neglect ourselves allowing all our symptoms to become worse as we simply do not have the time to slow down and listen to what is really happening to our bodies. So take some time to notice any physical symptoms you are experiencing and allocate a weekly slot to address them. Below are some simple ideas:
- spa treatment
- yoga class
- gym membership
- reading a book
- sleeping 10 minutes longer
- having some alone time
- preparing good food.
Hypnotherapy utilises all these helpful tools and more, focusing on what is causing the stress and then addressing the stress response and reducing the symptoms. If you are experiencing stress overload, book a hypnotherapy session and start to learn to relax, taking back control!
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About Emily Hughes
My name is Emily and I am a qualified hypnotherapist and counsellor working out of London, Canary Wharf and Essex. I specialise in taking a holistic approach to physical and mental wellness and my main areas of focus are diet and weight control, anxiety, stress and low self-esteem.