Stress is, in some ways, a natural response to the modern working world. Sometimes, we have to push ourselves a little harder and get over tough parts of work, and it can even be a powerful motivator at times.
However, when work stress starts getting out of control, it can have many, serious repercussions on our physical health, not just our mood. Here, we’re going to look at a few of those.
If you want to stay productive and motivated, then getting enough sleep is key. However, that can be tough when your body is wracked with stress. Stress and sleep deprivation have a cyclical relationship. If you’re stressed, then it can be harder to start getting to sleep. If you don’t sleep, your body is less able to regulate its production of cortisol, the stress hormone. What’s more, a lack of sleep can exacerbate many of the other health issues mentioned here.
We’re a lot more likely to experience headaches whenever we’re stressed. In fact, the most common type of headache, the tension headache, is often tied directly to stress. Stress is an especially common headache trigger in young adults, and there have been cases of people developing migraines as a result of stress, which can be debilitating to the point of forcing you to take sick days.
Back and joint pain
When we’re stressed, the muscles in our body can become tenser. We hold stress in our body, and this tension can begin to affect certain parts of the body: the tissue around our lower backs and our joints, such as our knees and elbows being most susceptible. You may want to look at ways to naturally treat inflammation if you’re starting to feel this pain. Of course, other things can affect it, such as a sedentary lifestyle or weight gain due to spending too much time at the desk, but stress certainly exacerbates things.
When we deal with unmanageable levels of stress, sometimes we take steps to self-medicate, even if we’re aware or not. Whether this is through alcohol consumption, overreliance on prescription medication, or illegal drugs, it’s a dangerous habit and one that might require the dual approach of addiction and mental health treatment. The consequences of untreated substance abuse can be profound and lifelong, so it’s important to nip it in the bud if you notice it becoming an issue.
Stress is bad for your heart. This is a common bit of wisdom that we’ve likely been hearing since we were young. But there’s science to back it up as well. Ongoing stress is linked to increased cardiovascular events, from a higher likelihood of cardiovascular disease to being a factor in heart attacks. It’s important to take a physical each year to check in on your heart health and to mitigate the sources of stress if there are any worrying signs.
You have to take the time to manage your stress, which might mean looking more closely at your working life and what you can do to stay on top of your work-life balance.