Are You Under Too Much Stress? Symptoms, Treatment And Tips
Updated August 28, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Stephanie Deaver, LCSW
Do you feel like you have stress coming at you from all directions? Does it feel like you couldn’t possibly handle one more thing not going smoothly? Do you feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders? If that sounds like you, you may be under too much stress.
Unfortunately, stress is a normal part of life. No one is going to make it through life without feeling stressed from time to time. However, there is a big difference between dealing with the occasional stressful situation that is out of your control and feeling like you’re being overwhelmed with chronic stress regularly.
Learning how to identify what stress looks like in your life and where it’s coming from can help you learn how to address it. Below you’ll find treatment options and tips that can help you learn to manage stress healthily.
What Is Stress?
Stress is a natural feeling that you get as a response to things that are changing and happening around you. When things are happening that you aren’t sure how to deal with or that feel overwhelming or threatening, you may start to feel stressed.
Stress in itself is not meant to be something negative. It’s your body’s way of trying to protect itself in dangerous situations. When you feel stressed, hormones flood your body that helps your fight-or-flight response kick in. If you’re in a dangerous situation, such as facing a dangerous animal, the stress response could actually help save your life.
However, most of us aren’t facing life or death situations daily. Instead, we may be dealing with things like financial stress, challenges in the workplace, difficult relationships, and health concerns. These, among other difficult or challenging situations, can leave you dealing with stress.
Once your stress levels have increased, it can take hours for them to return to normal. If you experience stress regularly, this can begin to have a serious impact on your physical and mental health.
What Are The Symptoms Of Stress?
It’s possible that stress can show in people’s lives in different ways. However, there do tend to be some common symptoms that you may recognize in your life if you deal with chronic stress. Some of these symptoms include:
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping.
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Digestive issues
- Muscle tension or chronic pain
- Low sexual desire
- Change in appetite (could be eating more or eating less)
- Trouble concentrating
- Fatigue or exhaustion
As you can see from the list of symptoms, stress doesn’t just impact your mental and emotional health. It can impact your physical health and behavior as well. You may notice that you are more irritable with others because your stress causes you to struggle with a lack of patience. You may constantly be thinking about a stressful situation that leaves you feeling like you’re on edge.
You may also notice that you began engaging in unhealthy behaviors such as substance abuse, gambling, or overspending to escape the stress that you’re experiencing.
If you try to ignore your stress instead of dealing with it, you may find that it continues to grow and cause new problems in your life. This is why it’s important to learn tips for relieving stress and what your treatment options are.
Stress Management Treatment And Tips
It’s important to note that some of the stress management tips may work better for you than others. If the first thing that you try isn’t working, don’t give up.
Identify Where Your Stress Is Coming From
If you’ve been struggling with feeling like you’re under too much stress, you may not have taken the time to find out where it’s coming from. This can be an important first step in addressing and overcoming the stress that you feel in life.
If you don’t know why you’re feeling stressed, it’s going to be hard to find the right form of treatment to address it. Take time to inventory what’s been happening in your life. Are there certain parts of the day when you feel more stressed than others? If so, look at what’s happening around those times to see what your possible stress trigger could be.
It could be that you have stress coming at you from multiple areas of your life. Discovering what these areas are can help you to become more aware and proactive in addressing it.
Participate In Activities That Help You Relax
If life is feeling busy, you may not be making time to participate in activities that help you to relax and recharge. You may feel like you’re running non-stop from morning till night. It’s important for your self-care that you have time to unwind each day and do things that you enjoy.
These activities are going to look different for every person. What you enjoy and find relaxing someone else may not. So, it’s important to think about this on a personal level. What activities have you done in the past that are a good stress relief for you? It may be reading a book, or it may be playing basketball. It could be taking a hot bubble bath after a long day, or it could be going out for a run.
Look for the things that help you relax and then do them. If you’ve been neglecting this area for a long time, it may be hard for you to remember what it is that you enjoy doing. If that’s the case, choose an activity that sounds like you might like it and give it a try. You can continue trying different things until you find what works best for you.
Adjust Your Calendar
You may be feeling like you’re under too much stress because you struggle with time management skills. It may be that you feel overwhelmed at work, but you’re actually wasting a lot of time on social media instead of accomplishing the tasks that you need to do. Or, you may struggle to properly estimate the time that it takes you to do a task.
It can be helpful to spend some time tracking how different long tasks take you to complete. Once you have this information, you’ll be able to plan your day more accurately instead of trying to accomplish more than what’s reasonable to do.
You may also find it beneficial to cut back on how much you schedule. Even if the activities on your calendar are good, if you’re trying to do too much, you’re likely to end up feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Take time to prioritize your tasks and see what things actually need your attention and what things you can put on the back burner.
Take A Break
If you’re under too much stress, you may just need to take a break. This could be taking a sick day from work or turning your phone off for the weekend to unplug for a few days. Simply finding a way to remove yourself for some time from the things that are causing you stress can help you to rest and recharge.
Taking time to journal about your day, thoughts, and emotions can help you to unwind and relieve your stress. You may also find that it helps you to gain a new perspective on the things that are causing you stress. And sometimes, simply putting your thoughts down on paper can be enough to help you let go of the stress that’s associated with them.
You may find it helpful to just journal in the moments that you’re feeling stressed, or it may help you to turn it into a daily habit.
Talk To A Therapist
If you’re dealing with chronic stress in your life and struggling with the symptoms, it can be helpful to talk with a therapist. A therapist can help you work through where your stress is coming from. They can help you spot unhealthy habits in your life that may be contributing to the symptoms that you’re experiencing. And, they can help you learn important coping strategies to learn how to manage your stress better.
If you’ve been avoiding therapy because you feel like you are too stressed to add one more thing to your schedule, working with an online therapist such as those at BetterHelp may be a good solution to consider. Online therapy allows you to have your sessions from anywhere that’s convenient for you. This can help save you the time of driving back and forth and can help you to feel more comfortable as you start to work through your stress with your therapist.
These are just a few of the many different ways that you can relieve stress in your life. While it may be normal to experience stress from time to time, it can leave you physically and mentally exhausted to struggle with it regularly. Take time to explore what tips and strategies work the best for you so you can live as stress-free as possible.