As adults we are forced into environments that may not be the best fit for our bodies and our mental health. During this pandemic we have all been forced into conditions that have impacted us differently. However, most can say that these new conditions have caused new waves of stress, and not the good kind of stress. While there are two types of stress, one good, one bad, stress can affect our health without our knowedge.1 The good stress (Eustress) can come from promotions, good news or anything that elevates your mood in a positive way, this is the main way we take care of ourselves. While we cannot always receive good news, we can create spaces that allow us to feel lighter and feel at peace. As a college student I have realized that spending quality time with myself can sometimes change my mood instantly, doing something that requires less energy or thinking eases my mind. According to Harvard Medical School things such as laughing, meditating, unplugging, exercising and even listening to music can bring your stress levels down. 2 While it is sometimes hard to find happy moments during stressful situations laughter has shown to improve health conditions such as inflammation in arteries and cholesterol levels.2 Staying on top of things and getting work done is important, however giving yourself time to evaluate yourself and your emotions is even more important.
On the other hand, bad stress can cause many health concerns and usually comes from changes in the environment that force the body to adapt and push the body to its limits. Things such as headaches, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, problems sleeping and many other health concerns are usually caused by stress.1 For this reason is important to give yourself time to analyze your body language and emotions, many times we do not pay attention to these things because we believe our work will be impacted and we will not complete our assigned work. For this reason is why we must look from another perspective. How can we turn in our best work, if we are not at our best? Would I feel better napping and then giving this assignment my all? Will the outcome be the same if i'm feeling 100%? While I cannot answer these questions for you, I would like to say that I myself have had instances where I don't even recognize my own stress. Recognizing when one is stressed is not easy, many of us don't even realize we are stressed until we simply cannot continue. This is why I decided to take the time to research some of these signs, though they are not the same for everyone they may help you identify your own stress signals.
Signs of stress include low energy, low-self esteem, feeling overwhelmed, racing thoughts, inability to focus, etc. While only you know your body and its signals it is always important to give yourself time to debrief the day and have some fun whenever possible.
Resources for Stress Management:
Medically Reviewed Effective Stress Relievers
WebMD article on reducing stress