Did you know that stress is one of the leading underlying causes of health issues in Britain today? It can have a negative effect on both our mental and physical health - it's vital to learn how to reduce stress in our lives.
In this blog post we will discuss the effects of stress and how to combat them. We'll also provide some helpful tips for reducing stress in your everyday life!
“Stress acts as an accelerator: it will push you either forward or backward, but you choose which direction.” ―Chelsea Erieau
Signs Of Stress Can Be Hard To Recognise
The signs of stress can be difficult to recognise, especially if you're not used to the feeling. However, there are a few common symptoms that can indicate that you're under stress. These include feeling overwhelmed or overloaded, feeling constantly anxious or worried, having trouble sleeping. So that you can identify, other symptoms include:
- Unable to enjoy yourself
- Losing your sense of humour
- Feeling depressed
- Uninterested in life
- Feeling neglected/lonely
- Irritable, easily angry or wound up and impatient
- Existing health problems getting worse whether its mental or physical.
Stress Can Cause Physical Effects
Stress can also affect hormones in the body which can result in physical effects. Some of the most recognisable responses include panic attacks, crying/ feeling tearful, and sleep problems. Here are some other body responses to stress:
- Breathing difficulties
- Blurred vision
- Chest pains and high blood pressure
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Changes in your menstrual cycle or period
- Eating habits noticeably increase or can decrease
- Existing physical health problems worsening
- Feeling sick, dizziness or fainting
- Muscle aches and headaches
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Weight gain or loss
- Skin condition flare ups
These conditions get worse if you experience high levels of stress over a long period of time. There are also long term conditions that may happen:
- ‘Broken heart’ syndrome (Takotsubo cardiomyopathy) this is described to feel similar to a heart attack. This condition is where part of your heart temporarily enlarges and doesn’t pump well. Learn more about it takotsubo cardiomyopathy.
- Secondary amenorrhoea - This is when you don't get your period for three months or more. Its important to check this out as missing periods can lead to further health problems like the compromising bone health. More information on stopped or missing periods can be found on the NHS website.
Behavioural Differences That May Happen During A Stressed State
If you are stressed, you may experience behavioural changes such as snapping more easily, drinking more alcohol than usual or changes in eating patterns. If you do some of the following, it may be a sign that you are stressed:
- Biting nails
- Crying/feeling tearful
- Experience sexual problems, such as losing interest in sex or being unable to enjoy sex
- Finding it hard to make decisions
- Limited concentration
- Spending habits increased
- Unable to remember things
- Withdraw from people around you.
Make Small Life Changes
If you're experiencing any of these symptoms on a regular basis, it's important to take some time to focus on reducing stress in your life. One of the best ways to do this is by making small changes to your lifestyle. Here are a few tips for reducing stress in your everyday life:
- Make time for yourself: one of the best ways to reduce stress is by taking some time for yourself. This could mean taking a relaxing bath, reading a book, going for a walk, or simply spending some time alone.
- Set boundaries: it's important to set boundaries when it comes to stress. learn to say no to things that you don't have time for or that stress you out.
- Practice yoga or meditation: both yoga and meditation can be great ways to reduce stress levels. They help to calm the mind and body and can be really helpful in managing stress long-term.
- Organise your time: one of the main causes of stress is feeling overwhelmed or overloaded. One way to combat this is by organising your time better. Make sure you have a plan for each day and try to stick to it as much as possible.
- Take breaks: when you're working, it's important to take regular breaks. This will help to refresh your mind and prevent stress from building up.
- Eat healthy: eating healthy is another important way of reducing stress. Make sure you're eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed foods and sugary snacks.
Build a support system: whether it’s your friends and family, having support at work, university or college. By talking to friends and family about how you feel can really make a difference.
Remember, you do have support at your fingertips, HR departments, union support representatives, student unions, tutors student services.
There’s also no harm in talking to peers, they could be feeling the same way!
Treatments For Stress
These are just a few tips for reducing stress in your life. If you find that you're struggling to manage stress on your own, it may be helpful to seek professional help. There are many great stress management therapies available, and a therapist can help you find the best treatment for you.
If you want to know more on what therapies would work best for you, Mind UK have more information.
Other complementary and alternative therapies that could help reduce stress include
- Acupuncture – ‘treatment derived from ancient Chinese medicine. Fine needles are inserted at certain sites in the body for therapeutic or preventative purposes.’
- Aromatherapy - a holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being. It enhances both physical and emotional health.
- Herbal remedies and cannabis-based medicines
- Hypnotherapy - Uses hypnosis to try to treat conditions or change habits.
- Massage - Pressure is applied to muscles in the direction of blood flow to the heart
- Tai Chi - A series of gentle physical exercises and stretches. Its described as meditation in motion because it promotes serenity through gentle movements - connecting the mind and body.
- Yoga and meditation - Various styles of yoga combine physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation.
Reducing stress is something that we should all be mindful of. It's especially important during stress awareness month. The effects of stress can have a major impact on our health and wellbeing, so it's crucial that we take the time to learn how to reduce stress in our lives.
Look out for our new launch of Ashwagandha which is known to reduce stress and anxiety! But in the mean time, we hope this blog post has been helpful for someone who is stressed or is in a stressful situation and may not know how to deal with it.
It’s important for family and friends to also recognise when someone is stressed, you could help them notice some early signs. Listen to them, reassure them, help them relax, identify those triggers with them, help with causes of stress, support them to seek help if its needed and most importantly look after yourself.
Please feel free to share this post or leave a comment if you have any tips for reducing stress.
Vitamin D plays a major role in helping to regulate your mood and can even help to offset depression - this is why it’s known as the happy hormone. When you are feeling stressed cortisol levels increase making it harder for you to absorb Vitamin D so it’s important to keep your vitamin d levels as high as you can. Nutrition Geeks have maximum strength tablets 4000iu Vitamin D3, which will certainly help you keep your Vitamin D level up.