At what point do you become stressed? Is it when you feel overwhelmed? Is it when you feel like you can’t take it anymore? It is when you recognize that you’re stressed?
The truth is that you start to become stressed long before your mind acknowledges that you’re stressed.
Here are 3 early warning signs to look out for.
Stress can start to affect your sleep before your mind recognizes stress as the cause of your sleep problems. You may go to bed thinking about a problem or trying to organize your to do list for the following day and not notice its connection to poor sleep.
After a couple of nights of this, you may start to notice that your sleep problems are due to not being able to shut off your mind.
Pay attention to your sleep habits so that you can deal with your stress before it creates sleep problems.
Lack of Exercise
People under stress usually stop exercising. It’s easy to do because maybe you're too tired to exercise. Maybe you didn't get enough sleep. Maybe you've got too much work to do. You don't have time to exercise anymore.
When you start to give up your exercise time for other things, notice if this is a temporary behavior or a sign of stress. Are you spending more time watching TV that could be used to work out?
Poor Eating Habits
Most people start to eat poorly when they are under stress. If you find yourself reaching for ice cream, a high carb meal, or an alcoholic beverage because “I’ve had a long day” this is a sign of stress.
Under stress, we do the opposite of what we should be doing to take care of ourselves. Instead of eating healthy fruits and vegetables, we go for what will soothe our subconscious discomforts. Even though we know that it's not necessarily the best thing for us to be doing.
Today's stress management tip is to start to notice your behavior. When you are getting stressed, how much of that behavior is geared towards taking care of yourself? And how much of that behavior is what I would consider a short term self-care method that has some long term consequences?
When you're under stress, make sure that you're getting adequate sleep, keep up with your exercise schedule and eat better than when you were not stressed.
If you can do that, what you'll avoid making things worse. And that's part of stress management - not making things worse.