Your body has many ways of warning you that the level of stress it is under is not sustainable. Being under a constant barrage of stressful situations without allowing time for restoration and recovery makes it possible to reach a state of chronic burnout and further health disturbances.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms on this list on a regular basis, you should investigate whether your current stress-management routine is adequate for your needs, or if there are any stressors you could potentially eliminate from your life.
1. Difficulty waking up in the morning
Cortisol, that hormone secreted by the adrenal glands that is necessary for stimulating your energy levels in the morning, can be lacking due to excessive long-term stress and burnout.
2. Fatigued despite adequate sleep
When your need for rest and recovery is greater than what your body is getting, you end up feeling tired and unrefreshed.
3. Salty food cravings
Chronic stress can lead to electrolyte imbalances, which cause some people to crave salt.
4. Decreased ability to handle stressful situations
If you have been experiencing prolonged stress, your tolerance for and resilience in subsequent stressful situations decrease considerably.
5. Irregular menstrual cycles and increased PMS
Since the body prioritizes stress hormones over sex hormones (and often they are made from the same raw materials), chronic stress leads to imbalances in hormones that can result in irregular cycles, PMS, and even contribute to infertility.
6. Frequent colds with flus with an increased recovery time
Similar to hormonal balance, the body prioritizes stress hormones over immune function, making it extra hard to fight common colds and other illnesses.
7. Light-headedness when standing up
The electrolyte imbalances that are common with chronic stress often cause you to feel light-headed or dizzy when standing up suddenly.
8. Brain fog
Excessive stress can cause you to feel like your thinking is consistently foggy and memory can falter.
9. Reliance on caffeine or sugar to get through the day
Caffeine and sugar both give you a boost when energy levels dip and not being able to go without them can be a sign that your natural energy reserves and resilience to handle stress are lacking.
10. Blood sugar swings
Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your blood-sugar balance, causing you to have energy highs and lows throughout the day.