Five Physical Signs You Might Actually Be Stressed

I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror the other day that made me realise that perhaps I am more stressed than I realised. Up until this point, I hadn’t really considered the physical signs you might actually be stressed.

Life recently has been quite stressful and we are undergoing lots of uncertain times and lifestyle changes to come. There have been days where our stress levels have been really high and it’s felt like an emotional rollercoaster. Yet other days have felt really nice and filled with new adventures.

During stressful times, I always gravitate towards journaling. As well as the act of writing being extremely therapeutic, I can look back at my thoughts and experiences. This actually has been really helpful for me to look back at the physical symptoms I have been experiencing.

I’m not a doctor, this is just an observation of my own experiences. I just thought it was quite insightful when I thought about how my body was telling me I was perhaps more stressed than I realised.

 

Here are my observations of the five physical signs you might be more stressed than you realise:

1.Upset stomach

I suffer from IBS and when I’m stressed it always flares up. I control my IBS through diet and taking Alforex supplements (this isn’t sponsored, although I have reviewed Alforex in the past).

Stress is probably the biggest contributor to my IBS going crazy. It’s like a vicious circle though, the more stressed you get about having a flare-up, the more likely you are to have an IBS flare up.

2. Trouble sleeping 

As soon as I’m stressed, I will start having trouble sleeping. Also invariably when I do sleep, I will have crazy, weird dreams. Over the last couple of months, I’ve been wide awake at 4:30! I’ve started leaving a notepad next to the bed to write down the crazy list of ‘to-dos’ that flood my brain at that hour.

Lack of sleep also leads to puffy or dark circles under your eyes. I look like I haven’t slept for weeks without a good slathering of concealer under my eyes.  

If you are having trouble sleeping, I did a post about five ways to sort out your sleep struggles, if you want to check that out.

3. Lack of concentration and mental clarity.

Combined with lack of sleep, I always know I’m stressed when I struggle to read a book. I will have to keep re-reading to make sense of the chapter and I can’t connect with the characters.

The mental clarity that you need to make sense of the situation and help you rationalise what is going on. It just vanishes. Then I make mistakes and just feel overwhelmed.

4. You have another cold

Most of us won’t get through winter without the odd cough or cold. But if you’re constantly feeling run down, it might be a physical sign you might actually be stressed. Thankfully, I’ve built up a bit of immunity to colds from working in schools, but I know this is something Dan suffers with a lot when he is stressed.

5. Hair loss 

I don’t remember the day, but I was in the bath and I noticed I had lots of hair on my hands when I rinsed off the conditioner. I brushed my hair and the brush was covered in my hair. Me being me, I obviously didn’t tell anyone about this. Instead, of course, I turned to Doctor Google.

Hair loss I think is the one that really highlighted to me there are physical signs you might actually be stressed. Although, I also have to consider that I’ve done the keto diet in recent months and of course my age may have baring too.

It seems to have slowed down a bit now, thankfully. But my hair still looks dull and feels dry. I bought some hair loss shampoo and serum from Amazon and I’ve spent a fortune on conditioner, so fingers crossed it’s slowed down now.

 

Unlike me, if you have any signs of stress, go and get them checked out, just in case it’s a sign of something more serious.

How do you deal with stress?

Lady looking out of window

 

6 Simple Steps To Deal With Stress

6 Simple Steps To Deal With StressI don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel as if I never fully switch off. We seem to spend most of our busy lives in a perpetual state of stress, we have trouble sleeping, and that constant nagging feeling that no matter what we do, we haven’t actually finished all of our tasks.

Some stress is good, it makes us get shiz done. When that stress is sustained, instead it starts to have a negative impact on us. If that’s you too, it’s time to take a step back and incorporate a few quick fixes into our daily lives.

Stop and take a deep breath.

Acknowledge that you feel stressed and overwhelmed. Just allow yourself that little moment of calm. I have been reading around mindfulness and the importance of just taking a few moment of silence.

Step away from the situation.

If you can, just step away from the situation. Go and grab a drink. Although, preferably not a coffee which will have your heart racing even more. If you can just walk away and shift your focus, it will allow for that recovery time. You’ll also be more able to deal with things with a fresher mind.

Switch off.

I don’t know about you, but the minute I wake up, I pick up my phone. That potentially means that you are already exposed to stress before you even get out of bed. Instead, have a designated phone free time, even just ten minutes. At lunchtime, instead of reaching for your phone, get outside for a walk and you’ll find you’re more productive in the afternoon. In the evening, leave your phone out of reach. My friend is now putting her phone in the other room, so she gets a real break.

Take control.

For me, much of the stress builds up because I’m so disorganised. The more disorganised things get, the more my stress levels rise. It’s a massive work in progress, but I’m working on it. Meal planning and batch cooking has been a game changer. I’m loving reading ‘An Edited Life’ by Anna Newton and I’m starting to incorporate some of her techniques, so watch this space. 

A problem shared.

Talk about what’s making you feel stressed. If you are able to talk the situation through with someone, it can instantly makes you feel less stressed.  Just saying it out loud can make you view a situation differently and can gain another perspective.

Do something you love every day.

The last thing we think of when we are stressed is self-care.  Yet you need that little bit of recovery time.  For me I love to take a long hot bubble bath, or find a bit of escapism by reading a good book.  

 

How do you de-stress? 

Lots of love,
Helen xoxo

Learning To Live Life With IBS

Excuse the pun, but IBS is a pain in the backside that has plagued my life for the last twenty years or so. IBS is one of those conditions that you can have under control for years, then bam, it’s back with a vengeance! Although, hands up, I have a fear of doctors, so I keep putting off going find out if there are any medical advancements in treatment. In the meantime, I’m still learning to live life with IBS.

IBS can, when I’m having a particularly bad patch, feel like its ruling my life. I’ve had countless times that I’ve had to cancel plans because my stomach has let me down AGAIN. If I go somewhere new, then the first thing I always do is scope out the nearest bathroom ‘just in case’. All in all, that means that simple things like going for a meal can feel like a really stressful experience.

Living life with IBS

Life with IBS is embarrassing. I never used to admit to anyone other than my mum and brother that I had IBS, even to very close friends. It’s only when I opened up, a friend told me she just thought I was just being a princess with my constant need to eat at a certain time.

Oh and dating with IBS is a whole other ball game! I only started opening up once it all got a bit too much. I had started dating Dan and for the most part, I had got away with lengthy disappearances. Blogging and the need to take “a selfie” was my saviour. It wasn’t until my IBS set in when we were enjoying a nice romantic walk.  I needed to keep finding a toilet, so I decided it was better to just be honest.

Life with IBS has meant I’ve had way more cringe-worthy “mad dashes” than I can, or care to remember. The number of times I have been so thankful just to spot a pub. Unfortunately, the said pub hasn’t been selected because of its impressive offerings of wines and fine ales, instead because a walk or wander has to be cut short because I can feel my stomach is about to go. (Although I can’t lie, I do like to stumble across a pub, IBS or not!)

A few things I do to manage it

Here are a few things I do to try to manage my IBS symptoms. If you have IBS too I hope they  help. Or if you have anything you try, please drop me a comment and I will give it a go!

Diet

When my IBS first started, I noticed white bread was a big no no. Since then I have always tried to avoid it (which is hard when pizza is your favourite food!). White pasta also not a friend of my tummy, but that usually just causes bloating, so not a complete deal breaker. I still haven’t had a test to see about food intolerances. My fear of needles is just too much for that lol! I just try to avoid foods once I know they can be a trigger.

Food diary

When I was first diagnosed with IBS, the doctor told me to make a note of everything I that I ate. This is particularly important if its a new food. I have attached a copy of my Food Tracker. You’ll notice I popped a section called ‘Mood’.  I always make a note if I have been stressed or anxious to help me see if that has contributed. I also note down if I ate at a different time. Eating after 7pm for some reason does not agree with my stomach!

Stress

As I mentioned, I always note down when I am stressed or anxious. Stress is probably the biggest contributor to my IBS going crazy. It’s like a vicious circle though, the more stressed you get about having a flare-up. The more likely it will be that, yes you guessed it, you’ll need the sodding toilet!

Medication

I’ve always tried to just manage the symptoms of IBS by myself. Recently, though it’s just getting too much. I am in the process of trying out a few different remedies. The first of which is Colpermin. Unfortunately, this didn’t do much for me. Also, the fact you have to take 3 tablets a day, meant I kept forgetting to take them all, which just isn’t a fair test.

Yesterday,  I had a few minutes to spare, so I popped into Boots and picked up Alflorex. I met these guys at a Scarlett London event a few years back, but for some reason, I didn’t try the tablets properly. It’s one tablet a day and in a box of 30 capsules, so I will give them another go, so I’ll keep you updated! And if they don’t work, then I guess it’s time to go back to the doctors (eek!).

 

I hope you liked this post. Opening up leaves you with that horrible vulnerable feeling doesn’t it. If you’re a sufferer too, please let me know your story and what you do to live life with IBS.

Lots of love,
Helen xoxo