Secret Signs of Stress You Might Be Missing
Stress is normal.
It's something that we all feel, especially given everything we've faced in the last year and all the pressure that's already placed on young people as it is. However, if not kept under control, stress can have a lot of negative impacts on your mental and physical health. Here, we've laid out some secret signs of stress that you might be missing, as well as some tips on how to cope.
Your Sleep is Suffering
If you find yourself regularly struggling to fall asleep, stay asleep or just aren't getting as much sleep as you should, this could be a clear sign that stress is taking its toll. Try to avoid anything that might stress you out—including scrolling through social media—before bed and instead try embracing some habits that actually help you relax, like drinking a cup of sleepy time tea or taking a bath.
You Keep Getting Unexplained Breakouts
Your skin is often a direct indicator of what's going on inside your body, especially since the stress hormone cortisol can cause your skin to freak out no matter how well you treat it. If you notice breakouts with no other likely causes, think about what's going on in your life right now that might be upsetting you in any way. And whatever you do, don't pick at breakouts—that's an easy way to create even more stress for yourself.
Your Hair Has Lost Its Shine
Just like how your skin can show signs you may be feeling more stress than normal, so too can your hair. If you're shedding more hair than normal, noticing hair thinning or that your hair just isn't as shiny and healthy as it used to be, that's a possible indicator of stress that may take more than just a deep conditioning treatment to cure.
(Tangled via Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
You've Lost/Gained Weight
Not only can cortisol cause your weight to fluctuate, but being in periods of intense stress can also lead you to eat more or less as well as not get the exercise you need (or even over-exercise in some cases). Try to eat healthy food as often as you can and make sure you're getting regular exercise to release endorphins, but make sure you aren't taking any diet or exercise regimen too far, either.
You Haven't Been Spending Time With Friends
Socializing is so important to a healthy routine, and not spending time with your friends (either in person or even virtually) can begin to affect your mental health before you know it. Check in with your group whenever you get the chance and talk about how you're feeling—it's likely that some of your friends are having similar issues as well.
You Can't Focus
If your grades have been dipping because you just can't stay focused during class and have lost the motivation to study after school, stress may be the culprit. This inability to focus exists outside of school, too—you may space out when your friend is talking to you about something or find it difficult to pay attention even when just watching Netflix.
While there's no simple, all-in-one cure for stress, a good initial step is trying to figure out what might be causing it in the first place. A few easy things you can try to help cope are taking deep breaths, stretching, putting your phone away at night or removing yourself from social media apps that give you anxiety. Talking to your friends, family or even a professional may also be a great way to deal with stress, especially since the signs of stress can often make the condition itself only get worse.
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