Of all the people I’ve met and hung out with, I noticed that those with super high stress levels are actually fellow moms. Folks, mothering is not easy! The lives of little humans are in your hands so it’s quite stressful… and draining… and may test your sanity. Am I right, mommas?
Anyway. Jennifer Landis, the blogger behind Mindfulness Mama, is guest posting again to talk about the seven signs to look out for that are telling you, “Whoa! Slow down!” and how you can somehow lower your stress levels.
Stress. It’s one of the things in your life you definitely have too much of. Instead of something awesome like too much money or too much help, you are bombarded with stress on a daily basis, and it could be making you sick.
If you find yourself feeling tense, absent-minded or exhausted, you can probably blame it on those stress hormones — even though it’s much easier to blame your spouse and kids. Don’t stress too much about your stress – 7 out of 10 people in the US report feeling symptoms of stress – so you’re not alone! The question now is how can you recognize stress and combat it before it gets to be too much for you?
Here are seven sings you’re way too stressed:
Stress Sign 1: You Can’t Concentrate
Stress can make you feel overwhelmed easily. You may be going about your day, seemingly well, and then you all of a sudden can’t find your car keys or can’t remember what you were going to do next. Stress derails your train of thought and makes it hard to concentrate and remember simple things.
When you notice you can’t concentrate or you are forgetting small things, take a moment to yourself. Instead of reaching for the wine, try to pause and center yourself with some deep breathing. Inhaling and exhaling purposefully like this helps your heart rate steady and makes you feel more calm and relaxed in the moment.
Stress Sign 2: You’re Always Sick
Do you feel like you always have a little cold — or symptoms of a cold such as a sore throat, cough, or fever? Look no further than your stress levels. Being stressed out all of the time can actually make you sick.
It goes deeper than just a sneeze or cough, though. Stress can increase you risk for viruses and infections, and it even cause a wound to heal slowly. Listen to your body and monitor your symptoms when you don’t feel well. Take notes so the next time these symptoms come on, you’ll know what to do.
The next time you’re feeling a little sick or drained, instead of pushing through and doing it all anyway, rest. Leave the kids with a sitter and go take a nap. Anytime you know you will be busier than normal or more stressed, plan to have time for extra sleep to prevent you from getting sick.
Stress Sign 3: Grinding Your Teeth
Grinding your teeth, also called bruxism, is a sign of stress. You may not even realize you are doing it in the moment. Some people even grind their teeth while they sleep, making it almost impossible to recognize.
One sure sign you are grinding your teeth is pain in your teeth or jaw. If it lasts too long, you can wear your teeth down, fracture them and even loosen them from your gums.
You may need to use a mouth guard at night to stop you from grinding your teeth in your sleep. If you’re grinding your teeth during the day, you need to try to purposely relax your face so you won’t end up gritting your teeth.
Stress Sign 4: Your Head Always Hurts
Do you feel like you have a headache or pressure more days than not? Stress headaches can cause pressure and throbbing in the temple or on the head, and they can happen multiple times a day throughout the week.
The only way to prevent stress headaches is to reduce your stress, which, of course, isn’t always possible. There are other ways, though, that might alleviate your headache, such as inhaling the scent of lavender or peppermint, massaging your scalp and drinking some extra water.
Stress Sign 5: You Aren’t Sleeping Well
You need a good amount of sleep to not be stressed, but stress itself can prevent you from getting enough sleep. You may go to bed with your mind racing, and you’re unable to shut your brain off. You may also just have trouble falling asleep in general.
If you’re not getting at least six hours of sleep each night, you need to talk with your doctor. You can try to eliminate caffeine and alcohol to help you sleep at night, which may be easier to do than reducing your stress levels.
Stress Sign 6: Sex Isn’t Happening
Stress can cause erectile dysfunction in men and can reduce the desire to have sex in women. It can be hard to get in the mood when you’re running through your to-do list for tomorrow or recapping the stress that happened at work today.
Instead of going straight for sex, spend some time talking about your day with each other and even write down everything you need to remember for tomorrow so when that romantic moment comes, you are ready and in the mood.
Stress Sign 7: You Always Have Aching Muscles
This is a reliable sign of stress. If you feel like your neck or back is always achy and the muscles are in knots, you can blame it on the stress in your life. High levels of stress tightens muscles and can cause painful muscle spasms.
Of course the number one tip for reducing muscle pain is to reduce the amount of stress in your life. There are also yoga poses and relaxation techniques you can try to loosen up tense muscles.
Stress is probably presenting itself in a number of ways in your life. Your job is to just listen and be aware of what’s happening. Give your body the rest and relaxation it needs to recover from your busy life, so you are healthier and happier on a daily basis.