Recognising the Symptoms of Stress | Stress Awareness Month

30 April, 2021  ·  Less than a minute read

Have you felt stressed recently?


Stress can surface in response to a range of internal and external conflicts - such as issues related to lifestyle, health, work and finances. For many, the pandemic saw an increase in stress and anxiety-related problems, with loneliness and fear of unemployment being two primary culprits.


The good news is that, with a little effort and dedication, you can work to relieve the symptoms of stress, as outlined below:

Stress awareness: graphic of woman with leaves, thunder cloud and puzzle pieces
↑ Graphic of woman with leaves, thunder cloud and puzzle pieces

The Symptoms of Stress

The first step in combating stress is recognising the symptoms, and then tackling them head-on. 


Stress can affect us in a variety of ways, causing feelings of irritability, agitation, anxiety, and sadness in many.


You may also experience insomnia, low energy, panic attacks, headaches, aching and tense muscles, or tearfulness. These symptoms can be felt to varying degrees by everyone, so it’s important to understand your ‘normal’ and recognise if something doesn’t feel quite right for you.

 

 

Are You Getting a Restful Night’s Sleep?

If you have trouble getting to sleep, despite feeling exhausted, it could be that your mind is overwhelmed and unable to distract from the stress you’re feeling. 


A lack of sleep may contribute to a lack of energy, but stress can also have damaging effects on your motivation levels.


Improving your sleep cycle will help you feel rested and ready for a new day. Try to avoid using your phone at least an hour before bedtime to reduce your exposure to blue light, as it can affect your production of melatonin, the body’s natural sleep hormone that manages your body clock.


Try to make your sleep space comfortable and calm, with lavender to help you relax, and try to avoid caffeinated drinks in the evening. Your sleep-wake cycle controls when you fall asleep and when you wake up. The effects of caffeine consumption can affect when you fall asleep, in turn delaying when you wake up. Your body clock is then out of sync, causing tiredness. Herbal tea such as chamomile will help soothe your mind and body.


Yellow cup with herbal tea - leaves, flowers, citrus fruits
↑ Cup of herbal tea - stress relief

How You Can Manage Your Physical Symptoms

Our bodies can show physical signs of stress in many different ways - from agitation and tiredness to hyperventilation and panic attacks. No matter the severity of your symptoms, the effects of stress can be worrying and they may prevent you from being able to go about your usual activities.


Headaches, muscle aches and tension - particularly felt in your neck - are all common physical symptoms of stress. Stretching, yoga, and meditation can all help to ease the tension in your muscles and enable you to unwind. Deep breathing techniques can also help you feel relaxed and grounded, because it encourages you to take in more oxygen, which can help calm your nervous system.


Exercise increases the body’s production of endorphins - such as serotonin and dopamine - which act as natural pain relievers and can help to improve mood.


Stress awareness: woman practising yoga stretches
↑ graphic of woman doing yoga stretches

How to Cope With Your Emotional Symptoms

If you feel agitated or irritable, or have an overwhelming feeling of sadness, try to focus on the things that give you pleasure. This could be reading a book, going for a walk, spending time in your garden, or partaking in a hobby. 


If your usual activities are restricted due to the pandemic, you could try something new, such as knitting or painting. This will give you a sense of accomplishment, and also help to focus your mind.


Try these techniques to help you manage the symptoms of stress (remember, if you have prolonged symptoms of stress it’s a good idea to visit your GP).


Read our previous blog that details the benefits of animal therapy and how it can reduce stress.


Alternatively, if you'd like to find out more about our services, don't hesitate to contact a member of our team.

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