Short Term Effects of Stress on the Body

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Image Source: Anna Gutermuth

I’ve been rather stressed lately. A year and a half ago, I wasn’t very social. Work was slow, so I started working one day a week in the showroom to get some social interactions, I started volunteering at an animal shelter, found walking group, etc., etc. Well, work has picked up, and due to some staffing issues, I’ve been working a heck of a lot more, and there’s less down time at work. This all adds up to stress, because my social life certainly hasn’t slowed down, and I try to keep up my blogging here three days a week because I love you guys! I apologize if the quality or frequency has diminished during May, but I hope to be back at it in full force now that it’s June!

Tension-headache
Image Source.

I know my sleep has suffered. I know I’ve been achy and tired. And I know with certainty I’ve been a bit irritable. All due to stress? Let’s find out. The Mayo Clinic lists these symptoms of stress:

Common effects of stress on your body

  • Headache
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Change in sex drive
  • Stomach upset
  • Sleep problems

Common effects of stress on your mood

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation or focus
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Irritability or anger
  • Sadness or depression

Common effects of stress on your behavior

  • Overeating or undereating
  • Angry outbursts
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Tobacco use
  • Social withdrawal
  • Exercising less often

I’ve highlighted the symptoms I’ve noticed I am suffering from in red. How many of these would you highlight? I hope not as many as me.

So how do we deal with it?

Pilates exercise
Image Source.

Stick with your exercise routine. You may feel that cutting out exercise will help you feel less stressed, but you’re flat out wrong. Exercise can help us feel more energized and sleep better at night. I always workout first thing in the morning, before work. If I don’t get that workout in, I find my mood suffers. My morning workout makes my day better!

Use relaxation techniques. Meditation, yoga, tai chi, getting a massage, you name it, it will help.

Don’t give up social time or hobbies. I expressed to The Hubs that I felt guilty I spent every Sunday morning with walking group, because we had grocery shopping to do and I was always running around like a chicken with my head cut off on Sunday evenings. He told me I was being ridiculous, because I loved going to walking group: it was my time to decompress. And wouldn’t you know he’s right (as much as I hate to admit he’s right about anything).

Keep laughing. Laughter is really, really good for you. Watch some stand up comedy. Read a funny book (I recommend anything by Jenny Lawson).

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This image sort of gives me anxiety. Image Source: Jason Howie.

Take a social media break. This is a huge deal for me. I’m really into social media, and use many chat programs to talk to friends all over the country. Text messaging, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Slack, Pinterest. There are times where I have 3 or 4 people vying for my attention at one time. While I love all my friends, sometimes the stress of keeping up with it all can become too much. I spent most of Memorial Day avoiding all social media (except Instagram, which consumed MAYBE 30 minutes of my day). I had such a relaxing day, which was good, because I wasn’t feeling well at all.

Take a mental health day. If your stress is work related, and you can get away for a day or two without making things worse: do it! Shut off your phone, get away from home and take a hike, go shopping, see a movie, whatever you love to do!

How do you deal with stress? Let me know in the comments!

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8 comments

  1. Great post, Andrea! I’m stressed too. Too much to do. I just took a little break on the couch. Never
    fell asleep, but it felt good just to S T O P and take some “me” time. I’m going to re-read this again and
    work on more of the ideas. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Stress always shows itself to me with aches and pains…illness…something physical. in my 30’s I went to the dr a lot. Every single time it was stress related. Every time! it caused me a lot of stress…ha ha…but really. I wish I could sit here and tell you I’ve leaned to deal with it and that it’s not an issue for me any longer, but that would be lie. I’ve learned a lot of coping skills, but it still wins out from time to time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is so amazing how much stress affects us. I am in the same boat with you, so many deadlines, tests, the unknown…We’ll get through it!

    P.S. Your tips are great.

    Liked by 1 person

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