Everyone has a reaction to stress, but sometimes those reactions are more obvious than at other times. If you’re not sure that you’re stressed at all, take a look at this list and see if anything sounds familiar.
You may not realize it, but reaching for that extra helping not because you’re actually hungry, but because you’re feeling stressed and your body is translating that as an urge to eat more. You might also be reaching more often for comfort foods rather than healthier choices, which can cause you to feel bloated and yet still hungry because there aren’t as many nutrients.
Irritation or Anger
When you’re stressed, you’re more likely to be prone to being easily irritated or angered. You might find yourself snapping more at other people, whether they’re family members or strangers you encounter during your day. In some situations, you might not even be responding to external cues at all. You could simply be reacting to the situation that caused the stress in the first place.
Sadness or Depression
Stress can cause you to feel hopeless or depressed, which can manifest as sadness. You might find yourself in tears over something that normally would only have been mildly upsetting. If you’re prone to depression already, you may want to pay particular attention to any warning signs that let you know that you need to see your doctor.
You may feel that there aren’t any indications of excess stress in your life at all, and yet there are some nagging aches and pains that are flaring up. These could be old injuries or they might seem like they’re coming up out of the blue. When you’re stressed, you’re often clenching muscles without realizing it and that causes your muscles to respond by letting you know that they hurt.
Feeling Overly Negative
Some might say that this is related to sadness or depression, but you can be extremely negative about your life and the situations in it without really being sad or depressed. If you find that you’re constantly looking on the darker side of the situation, you may want to look at how your stress levels are coloring your point of view.
Dealing with your stress appropriately is essential as a family caregiver. Take the opportunity afforded you by having family members or elderly care providers who can stay with your loved one and do what you can to resolve your stress.