Happy New Year everyone!
I just love starting a new year. It always feels like a fresh start and I love taking the opportunity to set new goals for myself. I also love looking back over the past year and seeing how much I’ve grown and what I’ve learned along the way.
This passed year was a big year for me at work. I was given a lot of extra responsibility without a lot of guidance or assistance. And while it was a great opportunity for me to prove myself and show everyone I can be a rock star, there were a lot of days that I was a complete mess at home. I actually lost track of how many nights I came home crying because I felt like I was drowning under the workload. But I got through it and I learned a lot about myself and what stress does to me in the process.
I’ve read countless articles on how to de-stess and the importance of self-care, but articles about the less obvious signs that you are stressed are a bit harder to come by. So today I thought I would share with you a couple of the subtle signs that you might have too much on your plate.
1. You’re emotional.
And for no apparent reason.
This one is usually a dead give away for me. I’m normally a pretty happy person, but as soon as I start crying over a cute puppy in a car commercial it’s pretty clear that there is something else going on.
2. You’re irritable.
Also for no apparent reason. Or if there is a reason, it’s often something that wouldn’t be upsetting any other day.
One thing that typically sets me off is when I’ve just unloaded a cart full of groceries and the cashier innocently asks if I need bags. Cue inner monologue: What kind of question is that? Of course I need bags. You’ve just watched me unload a heaping cart full of groceries onto the till, and not once did I pull out my own bags. How else am I going to get all this food home?
The worst part [that I’m a bit embarrassed to admit] is that I’ll grumble about the stupidity of the question the whole drive home. But as much as that comment tends to annoy me, I know my reaction to that question is totally ridiculous and I’ve also realized it’s not the question that puts me in a bad mood. I’m reacting that way because I was already in a bad mood.
3. You’re forgetful.
I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve walked away from my keys/water bottle/phone only to be running around trying to find them less then 5 minutes later. The worst part is that 15 minutes later I’ll find them in the most obvious spot [and I’ve already walked by them half a dozen times].
Not only is this incredibly frustrating, it usually happens while I’m on my way out the door so I’ll leave the apartment feeling super frazzled and worried about being late for work. Not exactly the best way to start the day.
4. You’ve lost your motivation to do what you love.
For me, this is the worst part about being stressed. If I’m feeling overwhelmed, it’s very easy for me to justify skipping a workout to go home after work or to spend the evening watching TV instead of working on the blog.
And while I fully support taking a mental break, spending my evening that way leaves me feeling more stressed because I don’t actually like doing that stuff. Those are the nights where I end up feeling like I’ve wasted the evening so I end up going to bed even more drained, I won’t have gotten that mental break I needed, and I’ll have to go back to work the next day feeling just as irritable as I did the day before.
5. You can’t sleep.
If I find that I just can’t get to sleep, or I wake up super early in the morning, I’m probably already well aware that I’m stressed.
I think the best thing you can do at this point is either try to tackle whatever is causing your stress [this is usually why I end up at the office before 6AM] or use the time for some self care.
Over the passed year, I’ve learned a lot about how important self care is, but I would argue that recognizing the signs of stress before you turn into a complete wreck is even more important. While it feels great to be a rock star, I can only be a rock star if I’m able to do my job well. And no one is going to be impressed if I’m acting irritable towards my co-workers, falling asleep during meetings, or forgetting important deadlines because I have too much on my plate. So, one of my goals for 2018 is to try to be more self aware and recognize these signs before they turn into crying all over Matt’s shoulder or tossing and turning at 2 in the morning.