Stress awareness: what are the 5 signs of stress?

Stress is our body’s automatic reaction to feeling under pressure. It is normal and very common to feel stressed. We all feel stressed at time to time and it can help us to get things done in our modern lives. But when stress is out of control or you have too much stress, it can affect us negatively and have a big impact on our mood, our body, our relationships and our ability to get on with our lives.

April is Stress Awareness Month. It’s really important to be aware of stress. It affects us all differently and we all have different levels of how much stress we can cope with before it becomes a problem. We all react to stress differently and we all have different levels of stress that we can cope with. It is important to be aware of our personal stressors, what stress looks like for you and what helps you to cope with the stress. This blog will share with you some of the signs of stress to be aware of and some quick ways to reduce your feelings of stress.

what is stress?

There’s no denying that 2020 and 2021 have both been hugely stressful years. There’s been all the upheaval of lockdowns, school closures, social distancing and furlough. Add in worrying about your health, the health of loved ones and the mass uncertainty means that Covid-19 is an unprecedented global pandemic posing a risk to both physical and mental health. While we cope with the Covid-19 pandemic you may experience feelings of stress for an extended period of time and your mental health may be affected as it never has before.

Sometimes it’s not always easy to know what is causing your stress or even knowing that if you are stressed or not. But there are some signs of stress that you can look out for. Here are 5 ways that stress can affect us. Take a minute to read these and see if any apply to you right now:

5 signs of stress

  1. Struggling to sleep or sleeping too much.
  2. Over or under eating and drinking, including alcohol and caffeine
  3. Feeling physically unwell with headaches, aching muscles or stomach problems.
  4. Your thoughts may change and you may worry more. You may feel overwhelmed and have thoughts racing through your head. You might struggle to make decisions or know what to do. You may be unable to concentrate or feel fed up and can’t be bothered to do anything – even the things that you would normally love to do.
  5. Your relationships with other people may be affected. You may be extra grumpy, angry or tearful. You may feel particularly needy and need extra comfort or you may withdraw from other people.

If left unchecked stress can really start to affect your mental and physical health. It can take over your life.

5 easy ways to relieve stress

  1. Make a plan. Can you unpick what is stressing you and find a way forward?
  2. Find someone you can talk to about what is making you feel stressed.
  3. Be active, release some of the stress and aggression by moving your body.
  4. Tap into your senses – be mindful and think about what you can see, hear, smell, taste and feel. Can you influence these to feel calmer.
  5. Embrace gratitude – think about what isn’t causing you stress and concentrate on what you’re grateful for.

If you’re concerned about any of these signs of stress contact me. As a Mental Health Mentor I offer a confidential, supportive service to help you improve your mental health. I can help you to unpick the stress and guide you to use self care to improve how you feel and increase your ability to cope with stress.

If work is a cause of your stress, I can help. As a Wellbeing Consultant I work with businesses and organisations on wellbeing related projects including wellbeing workshops, 121 mentoring and writing resources to help employees and members with their mental health.