Many know that managing stress levels is important for health, but some people may not even realize that they are living with unmanaged stress or chronic stress. Do any of these common symptoms of stress sound familiar? If so, you may be living with unmanaged stress.
Physical Symptoms of Stress:
Aches and pains
Loss of libido
Jaw clenching or teeth grinding
Nervousness or shaking
Psychological Symptoms of Stress:
Loss of focus
Easily agitated and moody
Stress Management Awareness
A recent study from Harris Interactive shows that recorded stress is up by 44% in the past 4 years, and many of these stressors are related to money, job security, relationships, school and health concerns. With a lack of self care and self awareness surrounding personal stress levels, it is easy for one to overwork themselves and neglect self care, which is crucial during times of increased stress. Without managed stress levels, a persons health will suffer. High stress levels can cause or propitiate insomnia, and sleep deprivation can be the cause of chronic stress. In holistic health, we see the body as a whole, and it has been proven that unmanaged stress will cause other areas a persons health to suffer.
Most Common Everyday Stressors:
1. Procrastination and being late in the morning
Putting off important tasks and a lack of good time management skills majorly contribute to increased stress levels. Missing deadlines or rushing to complete things last minute increase stress, and rushing out of the door late in the morning adds stress and unnecessary pressure. Avoid time-related stressors by setting personal deadlines, using a planner to manage time, and by setting the alarm 15 minutes early in the morning and not hitting snooze. If time management is difficult for you, you can also set your clock ahead 10 minutes in order to always be ahead of schedule.
2. A long commute and traffic
Traffic and long commutes to work are stressful, but trying to intentionally relax and not carry tension in your back, neck or shoulders can help your body relax and lower stress levels. Try listening to your favorite music or an informative podcast while driving to and from work, and practice gratitude and mindfulness while making your commute.
3. Email and communication overload
The overload of communication from emails, text messages, social media and phone calls all can contribute to increased stress levels. Try to set certain times for certain communication related tasks, and aim to not check your email, texts or social media first thing in the morning or right before bed. Responding to messages and emails is important, but keeping non-verbal communication to a minimum can help lower stress levels if you easily get overwhelmed.
4. Emotional unawareness or avoidance
Blocking out emotions or avoiding emotional issues may not be the best way to avoid stress. Until an issue or concern is resolved, the stress that it brings will linger. Talking to a friend or a counselor about your emotional concerns may help reduce stress, and journaling, taking a walk in nature, or praying are also great ways to help ease the emotional stress that life brings.
7. Lack of quality sleep
Not getting enough quality sleep will have a negative effect on your health. If you have a difficult time falling asleep, then supplementing with a small amount of melatonin before bedtime. This can help your natural sleep-wake cycles and promote sleepiness. Relaxing herbs such as valerian, lemon balm, chamomile or California poppy can help you get to sleep and stay asleep. Reduce the use of technology with bright blue lights before bed, and stop caffeine consumption around 12 in the afternoon. Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night, and go to sleep at least a couple of hours before midnight in order to get quality sleep.
Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but to an extent it can be managed. We hope that these tips helped you and that you are now more equipped to live a low stress life.