What are common physical symptoms of stress?

As the holiday season approaches with its excitement and festivities, so does the stress and pressure of having a perfect holiday for you and your loved ones. According to Everlywell, the holiday season is “notoriously stressful.”

Adding that, “Lack of money for gifts, lack of time to shop and cook, and the overwhelming commercialism and hype of the holiday season can all increase the amount of stress felt during the holidays.”

The American Psychology Association’s research on holiday stress found that stress is heightened for Americans during the fall/winter holiday seasons, especially for women.

“Women are particularly vulnerable to increased stress around the holiday season,” the research said. “It is women who shoulder the majority of the family burden for shopping and holiday celebrations and they feel particular stress from the time crunch required to get everything done.”

What are three physical symptoms of stress?

It is essential that when symptoms of stress do arise, proper care is taken to handle them so symptoms don’t worsen. Stress can manifest in a variety of physical symptoms. Here are three common physical symptoms associated with stress to look out for:

1. Tension headaches

According to the Mayo Clinic, headaches are more likely to occur when you’re stressed, “Stress is a common trigger of tension-type headaches and migraine. It can also trigger other types of headaches or make them worse. Stress is a particularly common headache trigger in children and young adults.

Tension headaches are the most common headache and occur due to stress or muscle pain.

John Hopkins Medicine shared the following common symptoms of a tension headache:

  • Slow progressing headache.
  • The head hurts on both sides.
  • Pressure-like pain around the head.
  • The neck or back side of the head can also ache.
  • Pain is less severe than other types of headaches.

Adding that “identifying and avoiding headache triggers may prevent a tension headache. Maintaining a regular sleep, exercise and meal schedule is also helpful.”

2. Hair loss

It is usual for people to lose around 50 to 100 strands of hair every single day, per The American Academy of Dermatology Association. Emphasizing that if a person is experiencing high-level stress in their life, they can be victim to more hair loss.

Happy Head co-founder Dr. Ben Behnam told the Deseret News in an email that “While the holidays may not directly cause hair loss, the stress they induce can certainly lead to diffuse shedding. … Stress is a normal part of life, but it can be heightened during the holidays, between family functions, events and hectic travel.”

Behnam said that common mistakes women make when dealing with hair loss include over-using styling products, pulling/combing hair too aggressively and over-shampooing hair.

To help with hair loss, Behnam said the following changes to your lifestyle can help:

  • A healthy and protein-rich diet.
  • Get tested for vitamin deficiencies.
  • Check that your hormones are balanced.
  • Seek professional help, specifically a dermatologist.

3. Trouble sleeping

There’s a difference between having trouble sleeping as a kid because you’re excited for Santa to come versus a parent trying to get the house picturesque for Christmas morning.

According to Amerisleep, “46% of people reported worse sleep during the holidays, between busy schedules and plenty of stress. Sleep and stress have many interconnections, and sleep quality plays a role in things like food choices and mood as well.”

It can be an endless cycle of high-stress levels, causing inadequate sleep hygiene, resulting in poorer daily performance that then adds to the stress.

The Sleep Foundation found that “U.S. adults lose an average of 11 minutes and 14 seconds of sleep every Thanksgiving, according to a survey. Stress and anxiety were the most popular reason for losing sleep, according to respondents (34.7%).”

Emphasizing that “People who host Thanksgiving lose 51 minutes of sleep over the holiday, on average.”

Improving sleep while under stress can make a significant difference in overall well-being and resilience. Here are several strategies from the Brain and Behavior Foundation to help promote better sleep despite stress:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Incorporate mindfulness meditation into your nightly routine.
  • Take a hot bath or shower to relax.
  • Avoid caffeine and large meals before bed.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Try to handle daily stresses earlier in the day instead of in the evening.

https://www.deseret.com/2023/11/6/23949586/physical-symptoms-of-stress-how-to-relieve-them What are common physical symptoms of stress?

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