Almost everyone I talk to recently feels stressed. I get it – busy life, ongoing changes at work, politics, unstable weather, financial troubles, relationship issues. Being stressed becomes a new normal. However, it does not have to be.
There are some warning signs when it is time to park everything else you’ve been doing and focus on identifying & addressing things that cause stress. Here are some warning signs showing you it is time to face your stress and address the issue:
- You are constantly thinking about the same problem/issue
- It can be popping into your thoughts while you are waiting in a coffee line, when you are supposed to be relaxing in your bubbly bath or as the first thing when meeting with friends. If you keep thinking about the same thing and it begins to distract you from what you supposed to enjoy or focus on, it is time to deal
- It is the last thing you think about before falling asleep/it prevents you from falling asleep and/or it is the first thing you think about when you wake up
- Okay, now it really impacts your health. You do not get your quality sleep and wake up even more tired, and again, the first thing you think about is the same issue! You end up going in circles
- It impacts your appetite
- You keep changing your mind about the existence of your problem
- You look for excitement and risky activities/adventures to get distracted
- It impacts your mood and how you feel about your life.
- If when you meet your friends/family/co-workers, and on the question ‘how is your life’ you feel like responding by immediately sharing your problem/issue – it is time to address it!
- It impacts your health – e.g. causes stomach pains, headaches, muscle pains, back pains, etc.
- You force yourself to smile and be happy despite of your problem (but you do not feel happy, you just may look happy)
- You are not excited to look after yourself (e.g. get nice clothing, invest into your beauty or go for a haircut), your health and/or your happiness – because all your energy goes into activities related to surviving the day (e.g. going to work, getting food) and resting after the long pointless day
- You are really not in the mood to talk to anyone, see anyone or even answer a message/email FOR WEEKS AND MONTHS
- If you constantly feel tired and do not have energy to do anything productive but, if offered, you would have energy to smash, destroy things or scream
- You are looking for distractions instead of solutions – drinking, shopping, entertainment, beginning new projects/renovations/crafts, watching funny videos, reading, parties, etc. – anything but NOT things that will address your problem.
- It is not bad that you do these things, what matters is WHY you do it. If you do it to distract yourself, there is a slight risk that these activities will become excessive and will take time/energy from you that you could have used to address the big problem that actually robs you of happiness. That’s why, if you use these activities as distractions, you may feel cheated of happy/disappointed when or after you engage in them. For example, if you loved to meet with friends occasionally but now you do it more often, but when you do it does not bring the same feeling as before because you keep thinking about the big problem at work, then these activities will not help you. They are basically a band-aid solution
To address the cause of your stress, it is important to:
- acknowledge that you are stressed,
- identify what exactly stresses you
- decide to address it/deal with it, instead of moving forward and pretending there is no problem.
Doing these 3 things alone will already move you closer to your solution. More about it and how to deal in the next post!