There’s no denying that chugging a latte early in the morning and thrashing through day-long meetings can be strangely exhilarating. And let’s not forget about those late-night emails from bed, or extinguishing office fires – all an integral part of modern life. It’s pleasant to stay busy, yet it is essential to recognize one’s limits before the body experiences an energy depletion. “Stress is killing you by shortening your lifespan and quality of life, but yet it makes you feel important,” emphasizes, Belisa Vranich, creator of The Breathing Class active meditation courses and author of the bestselling book Breathe. “When you have nothing to do for too long, you feel like you are missing out. There’s a voice in your head that calls you lazy.” Taking a moment to rest doesn’t mean you’re lazy- it’s essential for your well-being. Sleeping, eating well, exercising, and taking some time off are all critical components of staying healthy. If any of these signs sound like something you’ve experienced recently, it may be time to permit yourself to relax while:
[Related: “7 Signs Your Body Needs to Slooow Down”]
- You’re always tired.
Exhaustion is undoubtedly the most common sign of pushing yourself too far. “Stress increases bodily hormones that rev us up, so to speak, resulting in increased fatigue and desire for sleep,” Linda Anegawa, the esteemed medical director at Oahu Spine and Rehab’s integrative physical medicine practice as well as a founder of OSR Weight Management in Hawaii, vocalizes her thoughts. Despite feeling drained, stress can often cause you to find yourself tossing and turning in bed at night, unable to switch off your racing thoughts about work, finances, and family—the list is endless.
- You’re forgetful.
If you notice yourself losing focus during a meeting or discussion, this may be symptomatic of an excessive workload; your mind has stooped to “dozing” at work simply for the chance to escape from it all, Ruth Spalding, Michigan-based psychotherapist, and social worker explained.
[Related: A Simple Meditation Exercise To Keep You Stress-Free at Work]
- You’re always getting sick.
If you take an extended time to recover from a cold or the flu, or if you catch illnesses often, stress may be the underlying cause. Stress reduces our immune system’s effectiveness and makes us more vulnerable to catching contagious viruses like those that are circulating in our workplace.
- You’re not living in the present.
Stress often makes you yearn for simpler days or fantasize about an easier life in the future, as Vranich explains. If you continuously find yourself daydreaming of past and present moments, this may be a cue that it’s time to take a step back and savor today. Inhale deeply – exhale slowly.
- Your stomach is uneasy.
Do you ever feel queasy when something happens that makes you anxious? It’s because the brain and stomach are intertwined in ways we never expected. Harvard Health Publications even believes they should be considered as one unit! The emotions from your mental state have a direct effect on how your digestive system functions, ultimately causing it to become disrupted if there is too much stress or tension felt throughout the day.
- You’re losing hair.
Are you searching for a lint roller or plumber to unclog your shower drain? Not only is stress regularly associated with hair loss, but can additionally cause long-term damage if one maintains their hectic lifestyle as noted by Anegawa.
- Your body aches.
Stress can cause muscular tension, particularly in the back and shoulders – not to mention the spasms and headaches that follow. Not a pleasant experience!
How can you prevent yourself from continuously running on fumes? “The most important thing is to try to do a lot of ‘preventative maintenance’ to make sure you don’t get so stressed out you show these signs,” Spalding says. “Regularly exercising, eating well, staying hydrated, sleeping enough, and getting enough love and support from friends and family are all important [for] a balanced life that allows you to roll with the punches.”