Hi, and how you doing today on this Monday?
A few questions for your today:
Have you been suffering from chronic fatigue lately? Find yourself tossing and turning at night unable to shut off your brain? Feeling at a low… emotionally, physically or spiritually? Have you lost your appetite? Or are you binge eating from stress or boredom? Been looking for your mojo and can’t seem to find it anywhere?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone. Many women are running on empty – and when I say empty, I mean emptier than they have been used to pre-pandemic. We are also heading into cooler months ahead, and that low-energy feeling that can accompany limited amount of daylight, just sort of sneaks up on us.
Now, in “normal” times, we all have stresses in our lives… be it stress with our kids, in a marriage, in a career, financial pressures, a sick loved one, or even the stress as a result of being stuck in traffic and running late for a meeting. But the key in all of this, is how we deal with it.
Some deal better and take to exercise, healthy eating and a positive attitude to cope with stress. Some take to a bottle, to drugs, and to other toxic forms of self-soothing. But, when stress and anxiety are not taken care of and are allowed to escalate without care, they start to feed off your body for survival and this can lead to problems.
I can recall a very stressful period in my life. I was running my business at the time, things were going well, as was my pregnancy with my first son, and then suddenly I found myself on bed-rest at 31 weeks pregnant. The lesson that bedrest taught me: the art of surrendering… I learned to surrender.
I ran my business from bed, my mom brought me my paperwork, and I touched base with my employees daily to keep on top of their sales opportunities. I left my financial life in the able hands of my accountant who had been with me since day one, five years prior.
My accountant was doing all my numbers; budgeting, government submissions, payroll deductions and bank requisitions. But then I started noticing my bank account constantly in the red, and other red flags. I went to the office one day on bedrest and discovered a bunch of missing cheques from my monthly bank statements.
I then found three cheques made out to cash, with my forged signature. I physically became ill, and immediately thought it was one of my employees. I will not go into the long of it, but the short of it is, my accountant had stolen $48,000 from me over a period of 18 months.
I know you’re asking, “How the hell did she allow this to happen?”
The answer is complex…. part ignorance, part blind faith and trust, part inexperience, part naivety. But once I became physically ill from the stress, the tigress in me came out, and shit, did I fight for my goddamned company.
I immediately hired the best forensic accountants in the city to uncover EVERY SINGLE FORGED CHEQUE… AND THERE WERE HUNDREDS. After I threatened to call the police, he PAID ME EVERY DOLLAR, plus the huge accounting bill I was hit with to chase the paper trails. Thankfully, it ended well for me, but boy did I learn my lesson about carte-blanche trust.
It was stressful to say the least.
But this was a different kind of stress. This was acute stress. Today, I am talking about the stress that takes its toll over time. Stress we may not even realize is in fact there. A line I read that I love, “The first mistake most of us make is that we try to operate as if we’re computers — at high speeds, for long periods of time, running multiple programs at the same time.”
So today, instead of giving you tips on how to cope with stress, I wanted to give you the SILENT SIGNALS that could indicate you may be more stressed than you think. Here are 10 warning signs that you may be more stressed than you realize, so you can nip it in the bud.
- Weekend headaches. When you suddenly decrease your stress level (as many do as soon as Friday night hits), this can prompt migraines. So, if you’re noticing specifically weekend headaches, this could be a sign that your weeks are weighing heavily on your body – emotionally and physically.
- Bad period cramps. Do you know that if you are stressed out, you are more than twice as likely to suffer from painful period cramps than those who are less tense (Harvard Study). A great cure for painful menstrual cramps… hit the gym or of course, YOGA!
- An Achy Mouth. A sore jaw can be a sign of teeth grinding, which mostly occurs during sleep, and is often a result of stress. If you do grind your teeth, your dentist can provide you with a mouth guard which is very helpful in reducing or stopping teeth grinding.
- Odd Dreams. Do you know that your dreams usually get progressively more positive as you sleep, so that you wake up in a better mood than you were in when you went to bed (Rosalind Cartwright, PhD). But when you’re stressed, your body awakes more often, disrupting this process and allowing unpleasant imagery to recur all night. Improved sleep can help prevent this. For more info on getting better shut-eye time, click here.
- Bleeding Gums. Do you know that stressed out people have a higher risk of dental disease? That is because the stress hormone cortisol can impair the immune system thereby allowing bacteria to invade your gums. To reduce stress, opt to give meditation a try. Click here to download my 10-minute guided meditation for calm.
- Out of nowhere acne. Stress leads to inflammation that leads to breakouts. If the breakouts do come out of nowhere, to help calm them, try a lotion containing skin sloughing salicylic acid or bacteria-busting benzoyl peroxide. But remember, that’s just a band-aid. The whole point is not to ignore the warning signs which eventually could lead you to burnout or depression.
- A sweet tooth. The word is, it’s probably NOT your feminine hormones giving you those chocolate cravings, it’s more likely stress. Stress can be a big sweet tooth trigger.
- Itchy Skin. Stress activates nerve fibers causing an itchy sensation. So if you already have underlying skin conditions like dermatitis, psoriasis or eczema, stress can exacerbate it. Itchy skin is a clue into your stress levels.
- Worse than usual allergies. Stress hormones may stimulate the production of IgE, a blood protein that causes allergic reactions. Interesting.
- Stomach Aches. Anxiety and stress can certainly cause stomach aches, along with other conditions such as backaches, headaches and insomnia. One study found that men and women experiencing high levels of stress were more than three times more likely to suffer with abdominal pain.
Ifyou’ve been struggling through this pandemic like so many, or don’t understand why strange things have been happening to your body, my goal today is to awaken your mind and body and help you understand the more silent warning signs of stress. Most of us are too busy to feel our own bodies and notice the warning signs. But, your body has more wisdom than you can ever imagine.
If you feel like you’ve been running on empty, then try to fuel up– in every sense of the word.
Sending you love,
Thank you for sharing your story with us. Also really good tips, they are very helpful.
Great post. I’m afraid I have some signs!
Thank you for sharing your experience – I cannot even imagine a betrayal like that I am so happy that your tigress emerged. You’ve definitely succeeded in your goal because you have awaken my mind and body to the warning signs.
I am glad that I do not have any signs, but thanks for sharing your story with us.
Stress has a way of sneaking up on us. Thanks for helping raise awareness of when we’re physically stressed, even if we aren’t conscious of it yet! I’ve found meditation to be quite useful in this as well 🙂
Insightful article and an Important Must read! Thanks Erica!