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It is easy to know when you are dealing with extreme stress, such as a serious illness or the loss of a job. But there are so many other sources of stress that you might not realize are affecting your body and your mental health.
Here are some subtle signs that you are dealing with stress in your daily life.
Common Signs of Stress # 1 – You Are Constantly Tired and Fatigued
Do you feel like you are always tired, no matter how much sleep you get or caffeine you consume? If fatigue is becoming a problem, it might actually be from your emotional stress.
What happens is when you have a lot of stress in your life, even very small sources of stress, it can cause your cortisol levels to be out of balance. This in turn affects your ability to get a good nights’ sleep, and also reduces your energy levels during the day.
So, if you find that you struggle both with insomnia and fatigue, or just being tired no matter how much you sleep, it could be a sign of stress.
Common Signs of Stress # 2 – Your Mood is Unpredictable
Another sign of stress that people often think is from other sources is when you are moody, agitated, or irritable.
Your brain is handling a lot when you have multiple stressors every day. You are probably focusing on your stressors more than anything else. This causes a lot of overwhelm, panic, anxiety, and many more emotions that can lead to moodiness and agitation.
Common Signs of Stress # 3 – Your Anxiety is Getting Worse
You may also notice that on days when you have more to stress about, your anxiety is also worse. There is a big connection between stress and mental illnesses like anxiety and depression.
People with chronic stress find that their anxiety is worse, and those with anxiety find that stress affects them more severely. It is a difficult cycle to be caught up in.
If you have an anxiety disorder, it is even more important for you to recognize the signs of stress and try to keep it under control as best you can.
Common Signs of Stress # 4 – You Feel Confused and Lack Focus
Lastly, you might have brain fog from the stress. Brain fog can cause a lot of confusion, lack of focus, and poor concentration.
If you notice that you are getting behind in work, you can’t really focus on a task for very long, or your concentration is suffering, it may be from your stress.
The Importance of Slowing Down to Reduce Daily Stress
In today’s society, life moves very fast. People seem to think that they should always be doing more, staying busy, and constantly running around.
But while it is important to keep your goals in mind and work hard to achieve them, you also need downtime to regroup. Especially when you start seeing the common signs of stress mentioned earlier.
Below are some reasons why you might need to slow down.
You Can Avoid Burnout
Most people face burnout at some point, but it is actually completely preventable. You tend to have burnout when you are overwhelmed, work too much, and just try to handle everything without giving yourself enough breaks.
Burnout causes stress and a feeling of being overwhelmed. You might find that you can’t focus on work, your productivity goes down, or you lose interest in things you used to enjoy working on. These are all common signs of burnout.
You Gain More Clarity
Slowing down and giving yourself more time off can also help you to gain some clarity.
Have you been struggling with making decisions lately? Do you feel like you are working your fingers to the bone, but not finding success? This can often be from a lack of clarity.
You need to slow down and sometimes even stop what you’re doing, take a step back, and evaluate what you have been working on and how you spend your time.
You just might find the piece that is missing.
It Helps You Focus on Your Priorities
With just a little more time in between projects and daily responsibilities, you are able to focus on what is most important to you in life.
Maybe that means more self-care time, spending time with loved ones, or in some cases, figuring out where your work priorities are.
Slowing down is essential to figuring out what your progress is and deciding if the path you are currently on is the right one.
You Can Pay Attention to Stress in Your Life
There may be some hidden sources of stress in your life, that you don’t realize is affecting your mental and physical health.
We often move so quickly from one thing to the next, that we don’t stop long enough to check in on ourselves.
Can’t remember the last time you just stopped to pay attention to your own mind and thoughts and how your body feels? Then, it’s possible you are missing out on some important sources of stress that need to be addressed.
How to Slow Down & Change Your Routine
Have you ever tried to change your daily routine, but quickly get overwhelmed and just give up completely? This isn’t because you can’t make changes. It’s because you try to change too much, too quickly.
You can’t focus your mind on a dozen things at once – which is why it never seems to work out. Instead, you need to change just one habit at a time.
You Might Experience Burnout if You do Too Much
The last thing you want to do is make your life harder instead of easier when you are trying to establish a new daily routine. That is exactly what is going to happen if you keep piling on a bunch of new habits to start at once.
When you face burnout, your habits won’t stick and your routine won’t change. But that’s not all. You might even regress and make your life even more difficult.
It’s Almost Impossible to Form Multiple Habits at Once
Have you ever tried to make big changes in your life, and instead of changing just one thing, tried 3, 5, or 10 at once? More than likely, it just wasn’t possible.
Your brain can only handle so much, and when you try to change all the habits at once, what tends to happen is you can’t figure out where to focus your attention.
Your thoughts go in a million different directions, and the habits don’t stick.
Focus on the Process for Each New Habit
Another reason it helps to change just one habit at a time is because it requires focus, tracking, and making sure this is a good habit for you.
How do you know if it is helping or hurting your life, if you start 5 new things at the same time?
If you try to change too much, too quickly you create other problems. Specifically, it becomes impossible to see how the benefits or drawbacks of any habit are affecting you.
A Routine is built up over Time
Daily routines are great for changing your life! You can become happier and more productive. You can reach your goals. But it is not a fast process. Take your time when changing your routine.
Start with changing just one habit, getting used to it, then moving on to the next.
If you want a new morning routine (or a new night routine), don’t change everything at once. Pick the most important, such as waking up early to do exercise.
Small changes stick!
And small changes done consistently over time, lead to BIG, life changing results.