Ellie, not her real name, is used to be an active teenager. When she went to college, she always joined clubs and was active in several extra-curricular activities. When she got her degree, she constantly kept herself busy, thinking that being busy meant she was on her way to being successful.
Fast forward a few years later, she is now a young mother and with a new baby, she found herself going day and night. Despite the exhaustion, she couldn’t sleep at night thanks to her newborn. Soon, Ellie became tense and always anxious. Planning her schedule, she’d always lie in bed awake at night thinking about her appointments and because of her lack of sleep, she naturally became short-tempered and irritated.
As fulfilled as she used to feel, she no longer enjoyed most of her days and she began fighting with her husband about their relationship. Her husband felt it was difficult having her around due to her mood swings and Ellie felt her husband is not doing enough to help around the house.
Surprisingly, even with the absence of any semblance of balance in her life, Ellie’s case isn’t uncommon. With too many stressors over a long period of time, Ellie became drained as she went by from day to day with chronic stress. When left unchecked, it can have a serious toll on one’s relationships, work, health and happiness. Here are some signs to watch out for if you’ve been experiencing chronic stress:
Exhaustion. The first sign of burnout is a feeling of exhaustion. It can be emotional, mental or physical exhaustion. Basically, it’s just being drained of energy and feeling your body to be completely spent.
Lack of Drive. Whenever you’re under a lot of stress, instead of being drive, you might end up suffering from a lack enthusiasm. With this loss of internal motivation, you might find it difficult to get up in the morning for work or for your family.
Negative Thoughts. Eventually, you might feel like whatever it is you’re doing doesn’t matter anymore and you become disillusioned with a lot of things and you might notice that you feel more pessimistic about things than you used to. Although everybody experiences negative emotions from time to time, it’s crucial that you take note if these are becoming too frequent for you.
Cognitive Problems. With chronic stress, you lose your ability to pay attention or concentrate and at the height of stress, people’s attention tends to focus on the negative element. When this narrow focus continues for a long period of time, people tend to forget about paying attention to other things, negatively affecting one’s ability to make decisions or even solve simple problems.
Problems at Home and at Work. This could actually work in two ways. First, you might be under so much stress that you tend to have more conflicts with others. Second, you might be withdrawing and talking to your co-workers, family, and significant other less and less.
Not Taking Care of Oneself. In extended periods of stress, people tend to cope unhealthily through strategies such as drinking too much, being too lazy, smoking, binge-eating, and even resorting to unhygienic practices.
Being Preoccupied. Even if you’re not at work, you find yourself spending more mental energy thinking about your job or something else entirely that you become unproductive in more ways than one. You’re unable to enjoy the moment as you are thinking about something else. In the long run, you become less happy and satisfied with the things that are going on around you.
Health Problems. Eventually, chronic stress can lead to serious health issues such as digestive problems, heart disease, depression and obesity.
Take stress seriously! Are you experiencing any of the above signs and symptoms stated above? If so, Rebecca Ginder can help you cope with every day to achieve a more balanced life. Contact one of South Florida’s top therapist now and schedule an appointment!