Stress is one of those things that just happens – especially when you’re responsible for the lives of others. Stress is inevitably your body’s natural way of reacting to thoughts or activities in your life that can often make you feel overwhelmed. Your body goes into a “flight or fight” mode which releases stress hormones throughout the body to help you react calmly. While stress is normal and good in some cases, when it becomes too much to bear it can cause a plethora of physical and psychological issues.
Stress Can Lead to Self-Medicating
What many don’t understand is that not dealing with chronic levels of stress can quickly lead to the need to self-medicate. While some might start smoking marijuana at the end of a long day to cope, others will drink several glasses of wine. Although in small doses these substances may seem harmless, prolonged use can lead to your body developing a tolerance and then a dependency which can lead to substance abuse and addiction. If you believe you’ve started self-medicating, the best thing you can do for yourself and your children is to reach out to a program that offers substance abuse recovery for women to get the specialized care you need.
Signs You’re Dealing with Too Much Stress
As stated before, some stress comes with the territory of life and all the many “hats” you wear as a woman. However, if you recognize any of the below signs in yourself, you need to find ways to relieve stress before it results in reckless behaviors such as those we described above.
1. Lack of Energy, Mood Swings, and Crying
Every woman has a breaking point, and when she gets there, it can be a host of emotions that are displayed. Emotionally, you might notice the inability to concentrate, frequent crying out of the blue, mood swings, and the impaired ability to make sound decisions. While they can be related to other psychological issues, emotional distress is something you really want to take heed to.
2. Digestive Problems, Body Aches, and Skin Problems
While stress is a psychological effect, it can manifest in physical ways that you’re not paying attention to at the time. Common signs of too much stress include frequent headaches, chest, back, and neck pain, rashes, acne, difficulty breathing, constipation, and diarrhea.
3. Anxiety, Guilt, and Worry
If your mind seems to be racing with anxious thoughts, stress could be the underlying cause. Whether you’re worried about a child who is sick, a deadline you have to meet at work, or an argument you had with your spouse, stress and anxiety often go hand and hand. If you can’t put your mind at ease, and your anxious thoughts seem to last more than a few weeks, it could be a sign of chronic stress or an anxiety disorder that needs further treatment.
4. Anger and Irritability
Do the kids arguing send you on a screaming fest? Or maybe an accidental spill of juice makes you scold them more than usual? While there’s no one like your children to send you from zero to one hundred in an instant, if you’re lashing out for things that you’d normally be able to handle with a calm head, this is a sign you’re overwhelmed and probably stressed out.
5. Sleep Deprivation
While having young children can keep you from getting eight hours of sleep at night, if you find that your thoughts are waking you from a normal sleep, you’re in over your head. An anxious mind will keep you up several hours at a time. Lack of sleep or sleep deprivation, will ultimately lead to more issues that only add to your stress.
As the women of the house, we wear a lot of hats. We’re taking care of the kids, tending to the needs of our spouse, and caring for the home. On top of that, we’re dealing with stresses at work and possibly have lost our own identities in the process. If you feel more stressed out than usual, it is important to talk with your partner, doctor, or therapist to find ways to reduce the stress before it reaches levels that cause a series of poor choices and bad habits.