4 Major Signs of Stress and 5 Ways to Manage It

Stress Symptoms & Stress Relief Techniques

My fellow mama’s, I need to start off with an apology for being a little absent lately. I have not been handling the things I have had going on very well and that is just not fair to you! I’m sorry and I am working on managing my shit better!! That being said, the biggest contributor to me being away from you all is STRESS!

I am not a doctor, psychiatrist, or psychologist. I am sharing my experiences and personal recommendations. This is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Before becoming a mom I didn’t know exactly what stress was and didn’t even worry about it. I knew the basic concept was being overwhelmed with the things going on around you. So what exactly is stress? The definition that applies here is:

Stress: noun. a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.

“What the fuck does that mean?” It boils down to a chemical reaction like when you are in “fight or flight” mode. Your heart rate and blood pressure go up, your breathing gets faster and your muscles constrict. Ever have a neck or back ache for no apparent reason? That’s probably stress. It is your body’s way of protecting itself. There are a lot of signs and symptoms these are just SOME of them. Stress can appear differently from person to person so I have divided the signs categorically: Physical, Emotional, Behavioral, and Cognitive.

Physical Signs:

  • Low energy
  • Headaches
  • Aches and pains
  • Insomnia
  • Upset stomach
  • Get sick often
  • Loss of sex desire or ability
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sweaty hands and feet

Emotional Signs:

    Low self-esteem
    Feeling lonely or worthless
    Avoiding people
    Agitated, irritable, or moody
    Needing to take control or feeling lost/out of control
  • Behavioral Signs:
    • Changes in appetite (eating too much or not enough)
      Procrastination/Avoiding responsibilities
      Nervous behaviors like nail biting or fidgeting can
  • Cognitive Signs:
    • Constant worrying
      Racing thoughts
      Unable to focus
      Poor judgement
  • Long term stress can cause SERIOUS problems mentally and physically. Depression, anxiety, menstrual problems, obesity and other eating disorders, cardiovascular disease, heart attack, strokes, high blood pressure, skin and hair problems like acne, eczema, hair loss, and guys, stress can cause sexual dysfunction in men AND WOMEN!Unfortunately the last couple weeks I have had at least one sign from each category daily. I knew something needed to change and sought out extra ways to unwind because this shit is seriously scaring me.
  • Ways To Manage Stress:
    • Tune in to your body: slow down, take 5-10 minutes to focus on one of your senses. The taste or texture of your food, feeling the breeze on your face or put on some music or nature sounds. I like to do this after baby is asleep, I will sit with my hot pad on my neck or back and drink a cup of hot tea (sometimes wine).
      Meditate or deep breathe: when baby is napping sit comfortably and just breath deep with your hands on your belly to feel the breaths. You can even say a positive affirmation on your exhale like : I love myself, I am at peace, or today is a good day. I felt silly the first few times I tried it but it has REALLY improved my mood swings.
      Talk it out: this can be with a professional or even just a close friend. Try getting face to face with someone or at least on the phone. Venting your frustrations can help you get a new perspective on your situation and often helps.
      Laugh: laughing boosts endorphins(chemicals in your brain that are natural pain killers)! Watch a new comedy or listen to a funny podcast!
      Exercise: also boost endorphins! Exercise can also help you sleep better which ALSO reduces stress!
  • These aren’t ALL of the ways to reduce or manage stress but they sure are powerful ones! Time management and overwhelming myself is a HUGE reason I get stressed out. You can see my goals and resolutions to manage this in my post New Year’s Resolutions Built to Build You Up! Do you have a go to stress relief tip? Comment below!!!
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