As human beings, we have something known as potential and the point beyond it. We cannot run through the day like machines, going from one task to another with no break at all. Most importantly, we cannot perform well under circumstances that cause us stress and make us less efficient.
But some of us go on. We ignore the warning signs quickly enough, but we must know that there are always unpleasant consequences to not resting enough. Here are five warning signs you need to be aware of. They are essentially telling you the same thing- that you need a break.
1. Weight Loss Or Gain
Any weight loss that is unplanned, yet drastic, must always be taken seriously as much weight gain. While some health conditions are also responsible, sudden weight gain or loss often points to patterns of eating that is not healthy for you.
People under chronic stress have been shown to binge eat and eat anything and everything they can find. It may seem like an action that isn’t done consciously, but if you find yourself reaching for a snack ever so often, you need to evaluate your stress levels.1 Food that tastes good acts on the brains reward system and gives us that much-needed break when we are under constant stress. This also explains why we eat when we are stressed out.2
2. Hair Loss
Telogen effluvium is a condition in which more hair enter their last phase of their lifetime, and thus fall out sooner than they can be replaced by new hair. This condition is quite common post delivery.
Another cause of telegenic effluvium is acute stress. People who have been under a lot of stress will begin to notice an increase in hair loss. And mind you, the loss is quite significant and thus not easy to ignore. While the condition usually reverses itself in a few months, the warning it raises persists – the fact that you are stressed out.3
When we think of insomnia, we often imagine that it would be like staying up and awake all night. However, insomnia can come in several forms, including being suddenly wide awake at night or having nightmares that wake you up or even being unable to fall asleep until the wee hours.
The brain is so overworked that it doesn’t quite know how to switch itself off. In fact, stress that leads to insomnia has less to do with long working hours and more to do with the degree of satisfaction you have in life.4
4. Mood Swings
Mood swings make you feel like a pendulum. You may find yourself to be perfectly happy now, only to break down into tears later. Often, the triggers themselves are trivial, thus indicating the actual storm that is going on in the mind. If you are feeling irritated by the smallest of things, can’t stop imagining negative scenarios in your head, or think that you have gotten the short end of the stick all the time – take a break.
5. Low Libido
In women, the surest sign of stress is a lowered libido. This is because for women sex is a complex neuronal response. They simply cannot “get in the mood” when they are stressed out. Coupled with the fact that most women multitask either out of choice or compulsion, it is natural to feel overburdened. Fatigue is a major reason for stress in both men and women. In women, fatigue by and of itself can lead to a lowered libido.5
|↑1||Torres, Susan J., and Caryl A. Nowson. “Relationship between stress, eating behavior, and obesity” Nutrition 23, no. 11 (2007): 887-894.|
|↑2||Adam, Tanja C., and Elissa S. Epel. “Stress, eating and the reward system.” Physiology & behavior 91, no. 4 (2007): 449-458.|
|↑3||Hadshiew, Ina M., Kerstin Foitzik, Petra C. Arck, and Ralf Paus. “Burden of hair loss: stress and the underestimated psychosocial impact of telogen effluvium and androgenetic alopecia.” Journal of investigative dermatology123, no. 3 (2004): 455-457.|
|↑4||Linton, Steven J. “Does work stress predict insomnia? A prospective study.” British Journal of Health Psychology 9, no. 2 (2004): 127-136.|
|↑5||Loss of libido (reduced sex drive). NHS Choices.|