Feeling stressed out? Stress isn’t something that you can completely eliminate from your life. It is your body’s natural response to things happening in your life. When the body feels overwhelmed or threatened, it immediately jumps into “fight-or-flight” status releasing cortisol and adrenaline to help the body fight off or get through the “threat”. Stress isn’t always a bad thing. In small doses, it can help improve memory and learning, temporarily strengthen the immune system, help you to overcome challenging situations, and motivate you to succeed.
Too much stress, on the other hand, isn’t healthy for you mentally or physically. As a parent with the responsibility of raising children, taking care of a home, and working to provide for your family, you’re no stranger to stress. Though it could very well be the driving force behind you juggling all of these responsibilities, too much of it can look something like this:
Unexplainable Crying, Mood Swings, and Fatigue
Have you found yourself crying over the tiniest thing or shouting at your children out of nowhere and then having to apologize for it later? This is a sign that you’re stressed out. It will affect your emotional well-being causing you to cry without reason, yell, become depressed, and even lose sleep.
Coping: How do you deal when you’re an emotional wreck? The first thing is to not be quick to react. Take a moment to yourself, think before speaking, and try to find your center. You can also try to find a healthy release throughout the day like journaling or going for a run to clear your head and vent.
Trying to meet that deadline at work, but nothing seems to go right? Do you feel like it’s 90 degrees in your office but you’re the only one sweating? Stress sweat is your body’s natural response to the increased pressure. As the body begins to heat up from the release of adrenaline and cortisol, your pituitary glands jump into action to help cool you down.
Coping: Pit Stains are not only embarrassing, they’re inconvenient. To keep the sweating to a minimum, you can invest in a stronger antiperspirant. You can also drink plenty of water to help the body cool down faster.
Body Aches, Breakouts, and Digestive Issues
Your emotions aren’t the only thing impacted by too much stress, you may also notice some changes in your physical health. You might notice rashes, hives, and skin breakouts like increased acne. Digestive issues like constipation or diarrhea are also common with high levels of stress. Some patients have also reported being in pain including head, neck, back, and chest pain.
Coping: For aches and pains you can take an over-the-counter painkiller to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Digestive issues can be improved by eating a well-balanced meal and increasing your intake of probiotics. As for skin issues, drinking lots of water and practicing skincare routines should help keep your face clear.
Anxiety and Guilt
Worried about a sick child? Unemployed and apprehensive about finding a new job? When you’re under a great deal of stress it can lead to anxious thoughts. Prolonged anxiety can lead to sleeping problems, sexual complications, lack of concentration, mood swings, and more.
Coping: Relaxation techniques like meditation or even taking deep breaths can be instrumental in helping to calm the overactive mind.
Self-Medicating and Addiction
When stress gets out of hand and starts causing all of the above, it isn’t uncommon to try and self-medicate to get through the day or to mask overwhelming feelings. Drinking one glass of wine turns into an entire bottle, or smoking a cigarette turns into a pack a day. Eventually, this can lead to dependency and addiction.
Coping: When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it is better to do something positive and/or constructive. Spend time with the kids, read a book, watch something enjoyable on television, or go for a walk. If you are using substances to cope, checking into a rehab facility is recommended.
Stress is good until it’s not. Though you can’t completely get rid of it (and probably shouldn’t want to), when it starts to get out of hand, you need to find ways to cope. Allowing stress to go untreated can lead to a host of medical issues. It also slows you down, making it impossible for you to be there for your family in the way they need you. If you’re having a hard time dealing with stress and have tried the methods above to no avail, speak with your doctor about other solutions to help.