“It just kind of exploded.” I gazed in disbelief at my friend Allie’s* phone which was in pieces on the floor. My skeptical stare prompted her to continue. “Well, work has been driving me crazy lately and when I got home, my boss called and I just threw it. I didn’t think that it would explode like that.”
Oftentimes, it takes a crazy incident to recognize how much work is stressing you out. Sometimes a phone explodes. Sometimes you yell at someone. Sometimes you do something even more dangerous and reckless. Oftentimes, the signs have been in place for a long time. Stress can build up over months and months. Even if you don’t think that you would do something extreme, high levels of stress can still affect you in detrimental ways. It is important to recognize the symptoms of stress from work so that you can live your fullest life.
Below are some symptoms of stress and how it can affect you mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Unable to concentrate
Do you tend to switch from one task to another? Do you check your email every five minutes? Can’t keep your mind on what is right in front of you?
Do you fall asleep as soon as you get home? Dread moving from place to place because you don’t have the energy? Can you barely do anything because you are so tired? It could be the stress.
Do you forget to do the little things like stop by the store on the way home? Or perhaps it is the larger things. Either way, it could be the stress.
Do you feel sad or lifeless? Have you begun to isolate yourself from friends and family? Is the world a bleak and cold place? The stress from work could be making you depressed. If this is the case please seek help from a professional. If you are not sure if you are actually depressed, take this test.
Do you feel tense all of the time? Do you feel too nervous to talk to your coworkers or boss? It could be from the stress. Take this anxiety test to see if you should seek professional help.
Do you find yourself tearing up at things that would have never bothered you before? Bursting into tears several times a day? Do you worry that you will cry at a bad time? Could be the stress.
Do you frequently feel like your blood pressure is rising at work? Do your coworkers greatly annoy you (even though they are perhaps only mildly annoying)? Do you feel constantly frustrated with yourself and the people around you?
Do you feel like you are boiling over? Do you worry that you are going to lose control? Have you yelled at a coworker? Pushed a coworker? Intentionally broken something or slammed something around?
Fear of humiliation
Do you have trouble starting projects because you don’t think that you will do well? Do you dread seeing a coworker because you are worried that they are going to criticize you? Does the thought of an evaluation cause you to break out into a cold sweat?
Do you sit outside in your car trying to will yourself to go into work? Do you avoid work any chance you get?
Do you tend to hold a lot of tension in your back? Do you feel some strain around your shoulders or lower back? Do you just want a massage?
Do you sometimes feel like you are having a heart attack? Do you fear that something larger could be going on? See your doctor and know that it could be stress.
Have you been getting more headaches than usual? Do they feel more like tension headaches than any other type? Is your neck tense?
Do you lie away at night with thoughts running through your mind? Do you sometimes wake up early feeling panicky? Does it feel like no matter how long you spend in bed, you can’t get a good sleep?
Are you suddenly breaking out into acne? Does your skin feel irritated? Have you started to develop hives on your chest and neck?
It is amazing how stress can affect people in so many different ways. Many of these symptoms are connected (for example, crying easily is a symptom of depression). Some of the symptoms could also be a sign of a major health issues. For example, frequent headaches could also be a sign of high blood pressure. It would be wise to see a doctor for many of the symptoms on this list.
Do you know anyone who has reacted to stress in a crazy way? Have you experienced any of the things on this list? Is there anything that is not on this list that you tend to experience when you are stressed out? Please let me know in the comments!
*Names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.