With exams right around the corner, I think we all have a right to be a bit stressed right now. As students, being in a constant state of stress seems like a regular occurrence but in reality this could be very detrimental to your health.
Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain caused by adverse circumstances; and with a recent study finding 33% of adults living with high levels of perceived stress it is a growing concern we must all be aware of.
So even though the semester is coming to an end, our health still needs to be a big priority! We took the time to identify what it means to be “too stressed” and how, if you are one of the few that are, to deal with it.
Unfortunately for all of us, acne doesn’t just begin and end with puberty, many factors can contribute to it manifesting and one of them is stress. A recent study measured 22 people’s acne severity before and during an exam and discovered that with the increased levels of stress (as a result of the exam) there was a greater acne severity. Although stress seems to correlate to an increase in acne, these studies only reveal an association, not accounting for other external factors that might be involved.
Many studies have found that stress can contribute to headaches, a condition characterised by pain in the head or neck region. In fact a study found that of 267 people monitored, 45% of participants were found to have developed chronic headaches following a stressful event. Many studies have highlighted that increased stress levels are associated with increased headache frequency, and as such, stress has been reported as the second most common headache trigger.
3. LOW ENERGY LEVELS
Chronic fatigue and decreased energy levels can also be caused by prolonged stress. For example, one study involving over 2400 people found that fatigue was strongly associated with increased stress levels. Stress isn’t necessarily the only factor contributing to low energy levels, other factors that may play a role in decreased energy levels include dehydration, low blood sugar or a poor diet.
Stress may also disrupt sleep and cause insomnia. One small study found that higher levels of work-related stress were associated with increased sleepiness and restlessness at bedtime. Another report found that stressful events were significantly associated with an increased risk of insomnia.
5. DIGESTIVE ISSUES
Digestive problems like diarrhea and constipation can also be caused by high levels of stress. Stress may especially affect those with digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). These are categorised by stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. Also, keep in mind that many other factors can cause digestive issues, such as diet, dehydration, physical activity levels, infection or certain medications.
6. APPETITE CHANGES
Changes in appetite are common during times of stress. When you feel stressed out, you may find yourself either with no appetite at all or ravenously raiding the fridge throughout the day. I mean what’s the best procrastination when trying to study at home? Food!
Exposure to stress has been linked with behaviours like eating without being hungry. In fact, a recent report found that the majority of university students experience a change in their appetite levels during stressful times; of the participants, 62% had an increase in appetite whereas 38% had a decrease.
What You Can Do To Fix It
Now we’ve identified that you’re stressed, now what can you do to fix it? You’ll find a list below that is aimed at improving your stress management skills.
- Exercise regularly; your body can fight stress better when it’s fit
- Learn to manage your time more efficiently
- Make time for hobbies, interests and relaxation
- Set limits appropriately and learn to say no to requests the could create excessive stress in your life
- Get enough rest and sleep; your body needs time to recover from stressful events
- Keep a positive attitude