Watch out for these signs of a stress breakdown

Watch out for these signs of a stress breakdown
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Are you at risk of a stress breakdown?

A new year is upon us, yet you can't shake off the nagging feeling of tiredness or stress.

At times like these when it's hard to feel happy or relaxed, you just might be nearing your breaking point.

Left unchecked, stress and pressure can quickly add up so take a chill pill or book a short holiday if you're experiencing a majority of the following symptoms.

You'll come back from your vacay feeling rested and ready to take on whatever life next throws at you.

1. You constantly get headaches

Are you always popping painkillers for headaches when you're in the office? You may be suffering from tension headaches which are the most common types of headaches and can be exacerbated by eye strain, fatigue and stress. If your pain isn't accompanied by any other symptoms and go away with proper rest, you might just be exhausted.

2. You can't sleep

Stress, anxiety and depression are common causes of insomnia. If your mind just can't seem to quieten down though you're physically exhausted, consider taking a break. A lack of sleep just makes you more irritable and moody throughout the day which may end up making it even harder for you to fall asleep at night.

3. You're crying more than usual

It was a good day, but somehow when you're curled up in bed at night you're just filled with sadness. This could be because of pent-up frustration, anger or negativity due to a recent setback. If the slightest triggers make you cry, it might be time to take a step back and give yourself some space and time to recover from the emotional trauma. Going on a short trip and experiencing a change in environment might be just what the doctor prescribed.

4. You're always tired

No matter how many hours you clock at night, it always feels like you're running on empty. This could be a sign that stress is taking a toll on your body and you're not getting restful sleep.

5. You fall sick easily

Multiple studies have shown that stress takes a toll on your immunity, even if you were only stressed out for a couple of days. Chronic stress increases your susceptibility to common colds but has also been linked to more serious problems like depression and heart disease. And talk about a double whammy: when your cortisol levels are sky high, it becomes harder for your body to recover from illnesses as well.

6. You're dropping more hair than usual

When you're experiencing significant stress, it's normal to notice higher hair fall. This is due to a condition called telogen effluvium where your hair follicles prematurely enter the resting phase (also known as the shedding phase) due to stress. This causes your precious strands to start dropping faster and is another tell-tale sign that you're under too much pressure.

7. You snap for no reason

You might be happy and laughing with friends when someone makes an innocent passing comment that just totally flips your mood. You know you're being irrationally upset but your patience is short these days. When your stress levels are sky high, it can feel like the whole world is against you (it isn't).

8. You experience frequent stomach pain, bloating or diarrhoea

According to researchers at Harvard Medical School, "stress can trigger and worsen gastrointestinal pain and other symptoms, and vice versa." This is because your body enters a fight-or-flight mode when you're under severe stress and this can slow down or disrupt digestion, causing pain and discomfort.

This article was first published in Shape Singapore

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