This Month In Health
  • Dark, Dreary, SAD
    Often blamed on the winter blues, seasonal affective disorder is a diagnosable mental disorder that affects thousands of people each year. Are you one of them? Read >>
  • Cold, Flu, or COVID-19?
    In past years, when you got a runny nose and scratchy throat, you had to figure out if it was a cold or the flu. The introduction of COVID-19 is making things a bit trickier. Thankfully, there are ways to tell them apart. Read >>
  • Stressed Out?
    Are you feeling weighed down by stress? Chronic stress presents itself in different ways. Here are seven signs that it’s time to get your stress under control before it gets the best of you. Read >>
  • Taking Your Symptoms to Heart
    Heart disease is a silent but deadly disease that sneaks up on you without warning. By the time symptoms show up, it’s often too late. Read >>
Health and Fitness News

Stressed Out?

Seven signs your stress level is too high.

2020 was a rough year for most people. And for good reason. It’s rare to face a pandemic, lockdowns, quarantines, a shaky economy, political unrest, and racial tensions all at once. New worries and fears have surfaced, and we’re not sure how to handle them.

Are you feeling weighed down by stress? You may be able to hide it for a while, but it’ll show up eventually. In fact, you may be stressed without even realizing it.

Regardless of your stress awareness, it does the same thing to your body. When stressed, your body releases cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones are meant to prepare the body for fight or flight. A chronic state of stress means you’re in a constant state of heightened alertness that can harm your mental and physical health.

Chronic stress presents itself in different ways. Here are seven signs that it’s time to get your stress under control before it gets the best of you.

Headaches

Waiting on COVID-19 test results for a loved one? Don’t be surprised if you have a headache. The more stress you have, the more frequent your headaches occur. Tension headaches are the most common type of stress-related headache. You’ll feel like a band is squeezing your head. The pain and tension can be felt in your head or neck.

Fatigue

Feel tired all the time for no apparent reason? There are many possible causes, but there’s a good chance stress may be to blame. Anxiety zaps your energy level. This is especially true if stress is hindering restful sleep.

Insomnia

Can’t remember the last time you slept through the night and woke up feeling refreshed in the morning? Stress steals sleep. It may take you hours to fall asleep or you may wake in the night unable to fall back asleep. Your body may feel tired, but your mind feels wide awake. All the cortisol and adrenaline in your body keep you feeling restless and alert.

Digestive Problems

Stress hormones can speed up or slow down the digestive process. This can lead to symptoms such as bloating and indigestion, diarrhea or constipation. Disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome seem to be closely tied to increased amounts of stress. If your bowel habits seem different than usual, relax! It will do your body good.

Increased or Decreased Appetite

Do you feel hungry all the time or crave chocolate? Are the numbers on the scale going up? Stress may be to blame. Don’t have much of an appetite lately? Stress may also be to blame. Everyone reacts to stress differently. Many people turn to food as a way of coping with negative emotions such as stress or anxiety, and they gain weight. Others feel so overwhelmed or preoccupied that food is the last thing on their mind.

Depressed

For some people, acute or chronic, long-term stress may lead to depression. This occurs because stress lowers serotonin and dopamine, two hormones associated with depression and mood regulation. Stress connected to loss, grief, or illness is more likely to lead to depression. In addition, when stressed, you’re more prone to develop unhealthy lifestyle habits. These bad habits only increase stress and further contribute to depression.

Sweating

When your body’s fight-or-flight response kicks in, you’ll experience an increased heart rate, faster breathing, and extra sweating. If you notice you’re sweating more than usual or have body odor, it may be due to stress.