These Symptoms Could Be Your Body Trying To Tell You That You’re Over Worked/Stressed
Everyone’s had that one job. You know the one — where you’re up at 11 p.m. just making sure all of your emails are answered and your boss isn’t making any last-minute requests. Unfortunately, we can’t really take a break from work if we are burnt out on it like we can with dating. These over-demanding jobs can often leave us holding a lot of anger and stress.
After I graduated from college, a lot of my jobs included easy-enough administrative tasks, but in an environment that was less than ideal. As someone who always tries hard to get along with everyone and do the right thing, the level of cruelty I experienced from some of my bosses was enough to add stress and pressure to my life. It took some time for me to find a job that actually respected me as a person — but, those bad jobs of the past still manage to haunt me a little bit.
During the rough periods, I was over-caffeinated, mentally blocked, and had trouble sleeping. Alcohol helped numb the pain some nights, but it further ruined my ability to get a good night of sleep. In the economy we were in, I knew I couldn’t quit before lining up another job — and that was much harder than you could imagine.
These days, I know it’s important to listen to my body. Even when work was difficult, I could have treated myself better. Here are some of the warning signs you don’t want to miss if you’re in the same position.
This symptom of stress is big, and the most important — undiagnosed depression can seriously derail your life.
If you’ve noticed that it’s hard to get out of bed, or that you just don’t feel any more joy, consider booking an appointment with your doctor. WebMD claims that cortisol, the stress hormone, rises in times of chronic stress, and dopamine, which positively influences your mood, slows down. If depression isn’t treated, it can make your job search that much harder.
2. Chest Pain
Feel like you’re having a heart attack? It may just be work stress.
But chest pains, which can be terrifying, are very a very common symptom of stress. The link between stress and otherwise unexplained chest pain is constantly being studied. It’s pretty amazing what stress can do to your body.
3. Frequent Colds
Feel yourself getting sick more often? That may be due to working too hard.
Huffington Post writes that catching more colds may mean that you’re starting to suffer from chronic stress. The stress messes with your immune system, literally weakening its ability to fight off germs.
So, don’t feel bad taking that sick day if you need it for your mental health. If you don’t, you might use it next week for your next cold.
4. Lack Of Sex Drive
A lot of things can screw with your sex drive, but work stress is a big one.
These days, a lot of us take that stress home with us. VeryWellMind states that office stress has been known to kill your libido, but stress management can help bring things back to normal, especially if it’s causing problems with your partner. This is all thanks to that lovely stress hormone cortisone, which can wreak havoc on your hormones.
It takes work.
Be sure to be communicative with your partner if you feel like stress is affecting your sex life in a negative manner. This can quickly become a vicious cycle, so nipping any bedroom woes in the bud is critical. Don’t let this symptom of stress take a toll on your relationship, too.
Ever have one of those days where you spend an hour looking for your phone when it was in your back pocket the whole time?
Work stress leads to a lot more moments like that, but you forget about big things too — like anniversaries or family obligations. HealthDay writes that stress makes your brain work even harder and pump more blood out, and our brains tend to focus on the wrong details when they’re in that mode. This is especially true if you’ve suffered from trauma, as your brain won’t let you forget the negative things but will flake on everything else.
6. A Nonexistent Menstrual Cycle
Yes, stress can even affect your period.
And if you’re sexually active, this can lead to a ton of scares. When your period stops based on stress or becomes a lot less regular, it’s called secondary amenorrhea. Usually, a trip to the gynecologist can help get you back on track. But since lack of periods are even worse than periods if you’re looking to be child-free, booking yourself a relaxing massage will also help.
When you’re stressed by your work environment, you might want to disappear from the world for a while.
Forbes noted that excessive stress can cause disconnection. Even if we crave contact, sometimes taking that step and admitting you need a friend can be a little difficult. If you feel yourself fading away, try everything you can to muster one meet-up text to your closest friend. If you can’t even make plans, just tell them that you need them.
8. Tense Muscles
When you feel tense, you are tense.
Muscle tension happens when your body physically feels stressed. It’s easily the top symptom of stress, and one of the easiest to cure. That is, unless you let your stress get completely out of hand. Try hard to schedule a time to meditate before you end up getting chronic pain due to problems at work.
Incorporating some stretching during the day — ideally away from your desk if you can manage — can also give your muscles some TLC and give you a break from the stressful work environment.
9. Nervous Habits
When you feel stress mounting at work, you might notice yourself picking at your skin or biting your nails more.
Fidgeting, shaking your leg, and smoking are also bad nervous habits, with the latter being the worst. If people keep telling you to relax, it’s obvious that your stress has made itself apparent and is coming out in different ways. If your boss yells at you a lot, you’re bound to be more nervous in general.
Try to find healthy coping mechanisms.
If you are stuck in a toxic job for whatever reason, it is important to practice positive coping mechanisms so the stress doesn’t take an additional toll on your health. This can be anything from taking time to exercise, going for a daily walk during work, or downloading a meditation app to help you after particularly stressful meetings instead of a smoke.
10. Mood Changes
If you’ve come home from a busy day and yelled at your partner, you’re overly stressed.
That’s one habit you should work on. You’re just throwing your stress onto someone else, who likely just wants you to be happy. Yelling at someone else to relieve your stress makes their amygdala, or emotional brain, more active, and introduces stress hormones.
Yes, stress breeds more stress, and that’s just, well, stressful. If you find yourself lashing out at loved ones, apologize and work on your resume to find a better job.
When you’re going through a particular stressor, like an ongoing issue with your boss, it might make you feel quite alone.
The truth is, you have a ton of people who care about you — but, their methods of getting you out of your funk may not be translating all that well. Psychology Today reports that loneliness helps circulate your stress hormones and can increase your blood pressure, meaning that it’s often an endless cycle. Plan a date with your friends and do everything you can not to break it.
12. Low Energy
When you’re stressed, all the energy is more or less zapped out of you.
Stress and fatigue go hand-in-hand. When your mind can’t help but wander or focus on the stressful situations at work, it’s hard to get a decent night of sleep. Keep in mind that stress is actually necessary for us to keep living, but the second it zaps our ability to get a good night of sleep, it’s no longer productive or useful.
13. Increased Substance Use
Know what’s great? A big glass of wine after a stressful day. But this can escalate quickly if you make a pattern out of it.
Alcohol, drugs, and tobacco can become problematic, especially if you depend on them to relax after every overworked day. Gulf Breeze Recovery reports that overworked people who are stressed out are way more susceptible to alcohol abuse. If you think you’re developing a problem or a dependency, make sure to seek out the resources to stop this symptom of stress before it causes further damage.
14. Weight Fluctuation
Sometimes, you may binge on comfort food. Other times, you might forget to eat.
Stress affects diets in completely different ways. As far as binge-eating is concerned, WebMD reports that one in four people who binge-eat also have a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, otherwise known as PTSD. By overeating, we’re often trying to calm down certain emotions.
If you lose weight, you may be forgetting to make yourself and your basic needs a priority while at the workplace. If necessary, set alarms to remind you to eat. Seriously.
15. Change In Personality
You used to be bubbly and fun, but now it seems like you don’t know how to communicate.
Bad experiences and a ton of stress can change a person. If you’re in a situation where you’re under pressure every hour of the workday, it’s naturally going to be harder for you to crack jokes and be the life of the party.
These personality changes are a big red flag for your friends and family, who’ll be clued into the fact that something is causing you to just not be yourself. Don’t worry — this “symptom” isn’t necessarily permanent.
At the end of the day, all jobs can be stressful.
But they should Jn’tUST be stressful. If you find yourself coping with a ton of pressure that doesn’t pay off at work, or your workplace is a toxic environment, brush up that resume and get yourself a new job. You’re worth it.