Have you ever felt like you were running a race that’s never ending or fighting a battle you will never win? If these feelings apply to you then this blog post is just for you. Stress occurs or (has at some point) in many people's lives. I felt this was an important topic to discuss due to some recent stressors I've experienced that I am currently working through and wanted to share the impacts of stress, warning signs, and ways to combat it.
Stress can be caused by many different factors rather it be a physical illness, job, or even by a family member. At some point stress likes to creep in taking up unnecessary time or can feel like it's happening for an eternity if it isn't managed well. If untreated, stress can worsen and begin to cause physical issues becoming extremely harmful to your health and link to diagnoses of depression or anxiety. Believe me, I know this first hand. During my undergrad year in 2011 I remember how badly I allowed my stress get to me. I would stress over so many different things all at one time (grades, finances, relationships etc.). My stress decided to show up through weight gain and severe acne. Literally one of the worse times of my life! I allowed this stress to go from days to weeks and even turn into months. I felt like "not talking about it" would help me, but in all actuality it was making matters worse. I knew something had to be done because of how quickly things began to fall apart for me. It was a good thing I could "identify" it being a major issue, but as I grew older I began to develop a new set of stressors transitioning into adulthood and trying to decide my career of choice. I learned that if stress isn't managed early on, you will begin to see a pattern of mismanaged stress. For me in this case, I learned during my early twenties how to separate what was worth my time verses what wasn't.
Nobody is perfect, but it's very important to realize where you fall short and able to detect when your mind starts to think negatively. The way you think about yourself and situations matter 100% or it can begin to destroy your self-esteem causing you to believe you are a failure. It's easy wanting to give up after getting that "no" or receiving a negative report for the first, second, third or how ever many times you attempt at something. What will you gain or learn if you decide to throw in the towel? Failure is not the end, rather it opens doors for new opportunities to come. That's something you have to remember and tell yourself when the feeling of self-defeat comes knocking.
It took me many years to learn, but during those times my stress was at the highest gave me no choice but to develop some active stress relief techniques. I had to develop them based on what worked best for me. I adopted the habit of excersing more, developing better eating habits, and staying committed to praying and reading my bible. Now have I been on this straight path without any errors, absolutley not!? Does the feeling of doubt ever cross my mind, yes sometimes it does? However, I can confidently say implementing and practicing new techniques on a routinely basis eventually will strengthen the areas you find yourself most weak in. I have literally trained my mind over these years on how to combat stress. Yes, some days will be worse than others but what matters is deciding to fight through it regardless of the circumstances. I've made this commitment to myself and understand this takes an incredible amount of trust and faith which is something I personally stand firm on. It's okay if you get sad or frustrated, that's part of our emotional system, but be sure to ask yourself, "how long will I allow this to affect me?" You can choose to have control over your stress or allow it to have control over you. In addition, having a strong support system will help you get through on some of those WORST days! My support system is literally the BEST! Do lean on those you trust the most and don't allow yourself to fall into a dark place. It's difficult, but you have to remind yourself "this too shall pass" if you believe. What also helps me a lot is thinking about how far I've come especially during those times I didn't think were possible. It's vital that you are aware of your warning signs so you know how to treat them. Below I have listed 10 common symptoms of stress and ways to combat it based on personal experiences and what I have observe from others.
10 Common Symptoms and Signs of Stress
Weight gain or loss without dieting
Extreme moodiness and/or hostility
Break outs (acne, rashes, hives etc.)
Increase substance use
Difficulty concentrating or racing thoughts
Increase or decrease in appetite
Lack of sleep or insomnia
Please be sure to remember if any of these physical symptoms occur and/or increase for a week or longer to see a medical professional to rule out any medical conditions.
10 Common Ways to Combat Stress
Change your eating habits (drink more water, implement more fruits/vegetables, and limit carb intake)
Limit caffeine and alcohol use
Start a stress journal or gratitude journal
Take a break from social media
Take a mini vacation
Take up a new bobby
Repeat positive affirmations or read positive quotes
Seek professional help if needed
Remember stress is real and if it isn't taken care of properly it can become extremely detrimental to your overall health. There are several other symptoms and ways to cope of course, but I see these as the most common that exist. What's most important is you being able to detect the warning signs and developing stress relieving techniques that works best for you. I wanted to share my experiences, personal thoughts, and what has and continues to work for me. Choose to combat through your stress and REFUSE failure by any means. It's okay if you fall off course, just don't stay off for too long.
Thank you to those who decided to read, I hope this helped in some way. Be blessed and stay encouraged everyone!