We tend to focus on the psychological symptoms of stress, but stress can also contribute to changes in your physical health. If you’ve been under pressure at work or you’ve been going through a tough time in your personal life, you may not have given your health a second thought, but your body may be crying out for help. Here are some signs that your body is feeling the impact of stress too.
Tiredness and lethargy
Sleep problems are a common byproduct of stress, and many people find that they can’t sleep properly when they’ve got things on their mind. We are usually capable of bouncing back after a sleepless night, but if you’re losing out on sleep on a regular basis, it’s bound to take its toll eventually. If you’re not getting enough sleep, this can affect your energy levels and cause you to feel tired and lethargic during the day.
IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is a common chronic condition, which affects the digestive system. It can cause you to experience changes in your bowel habits. Although stress doesn’t cause IBS, it exasperates symptoms. If you’re prone to stomach upsets, diarrhoea or constipation, you may find that your symptoms may become more severe or you get more frequent bouts of IBS when you’re stressed. If this is the case, arrange to see your doctor to discuss treatment for IBS. There are changes you can make to your diet that may be helpful, and you can also take medication and add probiotics into your diet. Some people also find that regular exercise is beneficial.
Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. If you’re having one of those days when you’ve got a million things to do, or things just aren’t going your way, you may be more susceptible to headaches. Tension headaches are not associated with underlying causes, and they tend to develop when you’re anxious, you’re tired, or you’re dehydrated. If you have a headache, take some painkillers, get some fresh air, and try and relax. If you keep getting headaches or the pain is getting worse, see your doctor.
Coughs and colds
When you’re stressed out, your immune system may suffer, which prevents it from working as effectively as it could. You may have noticed that you seem to catch every cold going when you’re feeling frazzled, and you’re struggling to stay on top of everything. When your immune system is compromised, your body may not be able to fend off threats, and this is why you’re more prone to illnesses and infections. If you’ve got a cold, get plenty of rest, keep warm, and stay hydrated.
Stress isn’t just a psychological illness. It can also affect your physical health. If your body is showing the signs of stress, and you feel like you’re swimming against the tide, there are lots of stress relief techniques and therapies that could help. If self-help methods like exercise, taking time to relax and meditation don’t work, don’t hesitate to talk to a doctor.