How Much Stress Is Too Much?

Stress – it’s a word we hear a lot, particularly when it comes to trying to find the balance between our work life and personal life. Stress is something everyone feels at times, and there are all kinds of stressful situations that can be a part of daily life.

Stress isn’t a psychiatric diagnosis, but according to mental health charity Mind, it’s closely linked to your mental health in two important ways:

1. Stress can cause mental health problems, and make existing problems worse. For example, if you often struggle to manage feelings of stress, you might develop a mental health problem like anxiety or depression.

2. Mental health problems can cause stress. You might find coping with the day-to-day symptoms of your mental health problem, as well as potentially needing to manage medication, health care appointments or treatments, can become extra sources of stress.

This can start to feel like a vicious circle, and it might be hard to see where stress ends and your mental health problem begins.

While some day-to-day pressure is normal (and can even be a good thing if it helps to motivates you), chronic, overwhelming stress can have a negative impact on your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Knowing how to spot the signs and symptoms that you’re under too much stress can help you stay aware and address the issues before they harm your health.

Identifying the Signs of Too Much Stress

Physical symptoms of stress can include headaches or dizziness, muscle tension or pain, stomach problems and chest pain or a faster heartbeat. When it comes to mental symptoms, these can be more difficult to identify but can include difficulty concentrating, struggling to make decisions, feeling overwhelmed, constantly worrying or being forgetful. Stress can also impact our behaviour – for example, being more irritable and snappy, sleeping too much or too little, eating too much or too little and avoiding certain places or people.

If you find that you’re having these symptoms regularly or for long periods of time, it’s worth addressing so that this doesn’t start to impact your overall physical and mental wellbeing.

Ways to Combat Stress

Feeling the impacts of stress? Here are some tips to help you address your stress levels, and reduce the physical and mental symptoms.

1. Talk to someone – talking about your feelings to a friend, family member or health professional can really help. You might have heard the saying “a problem shared is a problem halved”. Sometimes simply sharing what is making you feel stressed can be a weight off your mind.

2. Manage what you can – is stress making it feel difficult to manage your time, or is a lack of time management making you feel stressed? Take control of the things you can – perhaps blocking out time in your diary each day to plan for the day ahead, so that you can switch off after work and come back tomorrow feeling a little more refreshed.

3. Calming breathing exercises – try breathing in for a count of 4 and breathing out for a count of 6. Extending your exhales helps to activate your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) versus your sympathetic nervous system (fight and flight) which activates when we’re in stressful situations. Our award-winning app HealthNav, includes a variety of Breath Work exercises for mental health. Find out more here.

4. Exercise – different types of exercise can help people in different ways – perhaps you’d like to get your blood pumping and release some excess energy with a powerful boxing or HIIT workout, or maybe you need something calmer like a yin yoga session. Try some different workout styles to see what works for you. Check out zeno Health Club, our boutique Manchester gym offering 4 state-of-the-art studios and a brand new open gym space.

5. Follow us on Instagram for stress-busting tips to help support you this Stress Awareness Month.

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