Between balancing jobs and family life, stress always finds a way to make itself known. People are on the move constantly, which causes more stress on our minds and our bodies. Knowing how to recognize stress warning signs means you can prepare and avoid triggering adrenal fatigue.
While most of us know how stress makes us feel, we usually don’t understand what it does to us physically.
Stress affects your adrenal glands, which are at the top of your kidneys. Part of the adrenal gland, called the adrenal cortex, generates cortisol. This hormone helps you maintain your metabolism and your body’s response to stress.
With all of the stressors in our lives, our bodies are always on alert. This constant vigilance can take a toll and could potentially lead to adrenal fatigue.
It is important to catch specific stress warning signs in order to prevent extensive harm to your body. If you’ve been struggling with adrenal fatigue, recognizing stress warning signs helps you avoid future symptom flare-ups.
4 Huge Stress Warning Signs You Should Pay Attention To
- 1 4 Huge Stress Warning Signs You Should Pay Attention To
- 2 Once You Recognize Stress Warning Signs, What Should You Do?
Stress warning signs help you recognize the symptoms of stress when it’s happening.
In some ways, your body is like a car. When your car isn’t working right, it will beep or alert you to issues with warning lights. And the same thing happens in your body!
These stress warning signs will help you determine whether or not what your body is feeling is right or wrong.
Stress impacts our physical, emotional, behavioral, and relational health. Let’s discuss each of these four areas and the stress warning signs you might be able to recognize with each.
Physical Stress Warning Signs
General physical stress warning signs appear as tension across your body. Tension shows up through headaches, muscle cramping or fatigue, and digestive issues.
Some people experience physical stress that makes them feel weaker, like fatigue, shaking, and shortness of breath.
And for those with pre-existing health conditions, physical stress symptoms can be even more impactful. Since your body is already fighting against one condition, heightened stress could add even more weight and symptoms.
Emotional Signs of Stress
Stress not only affects our bodies but our emotions, too. Emotional stress warning signs often involve a drastic change in your mood.
Do you find yourself feeling more irritable or restless? Are you feeling discouraged or hopeless? Some people feel isolated, anxious, and depressed when dealing with chronic stress. If you’re experiencing strange emotional symptoms, they could be stress warning signs.
Behavioral Signs of Stress
Your daily routines and behaviors can be disrupted by the effects of stress.
When you’re experiencing stress long-term, you tend to build up an intolerance to even minor stressors. In fact, many people become overwhelmed by only minorly stressful situations when coping with chronic stress.
There are behavioral stress warning signs you should keep an eye out for, too. Changes in behavior include interrupted sleep schedules, overeating or undereating, and increased use of substances like alcohol or drugs.
If you find yourself quickly becoming angry, struggling to make decisions, or experiencing other behavioral changes, it’s time to focus on reducing your stress levels.
Relational Stress Warning Signs
Because of the physical and emotional toll of stress, many people have a hard time maintaining relationships. When you’re stressed, you aren’t able to effectively communicate your feelings, wants, or needs. This can lead you to withdraw from your friends or family and self-isolate even further.
This becomes a troublesome cycle, too. When we aren’t interacting with others, we tend to spend more time working, which ultimately leads to more stress, more relationship trouble, and a continued cycle of stress impacts.
Once You Recognize Stress Warning Signs, What Should You Do?
Now that you know how stress warning signs manifest themselves across different areas of your health, let’s think about some next steps. Here are some ways to help reduce chronic stress once you’ve spotted some of the stress warning signs. That way, you can reduce the chances of experiencing adrenal fatigue.
Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep is way more important than most people think it is! If you aren’t sleeping for at least 7 hours, your body isn’t getting the rest it needs.
Your body functions on set hours. If you are asleep by 10 pm, your body has at least four hours to rejuvenate physically. Your mind also needs at least four hours to recover from the day before.
Start Your Day With Protein
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But eating breakfast that’s filled with protein is even more critical.
Protein consists of amino acids. These amino acids fuel your adrenal glands, which help your body respond to stress appropriately. Amino acids also help maintain your glucose levels, which helps keep your body from crashing mid-day.
Try to eat 20 to 30 grams of protein each morning. This can help you feel more energized and ready for a less stressful day!
Switch Up Your Diet
Making changes to the foods you eat greatly impacts your physical and mental health. Incorporating a balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates into your meals supports your metabolism.
Try eating every 2 to 4 hours instead of taking large gaps between meals. Snacking maintains your blood sugar, which is super important in dealing with stress! If your blood sugar is too low, the body will release cortisol from the adrenal glands to boost your glucose levels. And the harder your adrenal glands are working overtime, the more fatigued and stressed you’ll feel.
Find food with ingredients that maintain adrenal function. Alongside vitamins A, B, and C, potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium are all ingredients that can help fuel adrenal function.
Fruits and vegetables like squash, avocado, oranges, and lemons all help manage stress. Nuts like almonds, walnuts, and brazil nuts also help regulate adrenal function.
Add Consistent Gentle Exercise To Your Routine
While many people think that exercising worsens your exhaustion, gentle exercising can actually help reduce stress and prevent adrenal fatigue.
Don’t push yourself too hard, though. Light exercise for 10 to 30 minutes three times a week helps your body feel more energized. Just be sure to avoid working your body for too long and too hard, since it can overwhelm your adrenals—your body should be able to easily recover from your workout.
Try Intentional Breathing Patterns
Regulating your breathing triggers your parasympathetic nervous system. This part of your nervous system maintains your rest. By retraining the way you breathe, you’re taking your body out of “fight-or-flight” mode.
Try the 4-7-8 breathing exercise. You inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and then exhale for 8 seconds. This consistent breathing pattern can help alleviate stress.
Practice Mindfulness Through Journaling
Journaling is a great way to release all of the negative thoughts and feelings that accompany stress. It helps you gain control over your emotions while releasing stress.
You can find a blank notebook to jot down your feelings whenever stress takes over. An even better option is to snag a few mindfulness workbooks to help you feel more present and relaxed.
Stress can run rampant in your life and impact many areas of your health, including prompting adrenal fatigue. By looking for and recognizing those stress warning signs, you’re better prepared to prevent those devastating adrenal fatigue symptoms.