Do you feel like you’re always on edge? Maybe your focus at work is beginning to waver, or you find yourself yelling at your spouse without provocation. The reasons for your stress might surprise you!
Stress can affect otherwise healthy people, impacting their mood and behavior. It can also cause a variety of health conditions. So how do you start feeling like yourself again?
9 Reasons You Might Be Feeling Stressed (That Aren’t Obvious)
It starts by identifying a few common but subtle stressors that most of us deal with daily. Consider the following nine stressors and see how you might be able to minimize them.
1. A Routine Commute
If you drive an hour or more to the office, it’s understandable that you’d want to reclaim your time. But even the hustle of a shorter trip can leave you frazzled, even when traffic isn’t bad. This is especially true if you think your commute is something to dread.
Instead of setting yourself up for sadness, make your morning and afternoons more delightful. Try one or more of the following.
- Start earlier: Delays can create unnecessary tension, particularly if you fixate on all you have to do that day. If you typically wait until the last minute to dash out the door, try giving yourself five extra minutes.
- Get some exercise: Working out obliterates stress, so take your bike or walk to work instead of driving if you can.
- Try public transport: If you’re behind the wheel, you must focus on the road. If you’re riding a bus or subway, you can read or even catch a few extra Zzzs.
2. Lack of Challenge
You might think work only stresses you out if you have too much on your plate. That said, feeling a distinct lack of challenge can leave you wondering if you’re performing up to snuff or getting left out of the loop deliberately. As much as 67% of millennial women say an organizational departure is inevitable for them within the next few years, often because they feel stuck in a rut.
Before you allow stress symptoms like frequent workplace absences to derail your career progression, have a heart-to-heart with your manager. Ask what additional tasks would benefit them the most, and get to work on tackling them.
3. The Economy
Wages haven’t kept pace with productivity or the cost of living in decades — but if you’re struggling, you already know this. Currently, 44% of U.S. adults work jobs that pay only $18,000 annually. That’s not enough to cover rent and utilities anywhere nationwide.
No matter how hard you work, there are only so many hours daily. Many low-wage workers have multiple jobs and still can’t make ends meet. They’re one paycheck away from life on the street. Try establishing a residual income stream to always have a fallback if possible.
4. Your Health
You might be without health insurance if your employer doesn’t offer it. Fully 28 million Americans don’t have coverage and can’t afford to see a doctor when sick.
Unfortunately, the stress of knowing one accident can bankrupt you can further deteriorate your health. Researchers believe long-term stress can cause more frequent flare-ups in patients with Crohn’s and other autoimmune diseases. That’s why it is important to find ways to combat chronic stress and its symptoms. Try practicing yoga and deep breathing to both improve your physical health and calm your weary mind.
5. Your Bedroom
Do you have a TV or computer in your bedroom or use your cell phone as an alarm? If so, the artificial light from these devices can throw your circadian rhythms into a tizzy. The result?
You toss and turn all night long. Invest in a proper alarm clock and dock all electronics outside of your bedroom at least 30 minutes before you retire for the day.
6. Interpersonal Relationships
Even if you have a healthy relationship, everyday annoyances can stress you. Did your significant other leave a sink full of dirty dishes again? Can you feel your blood pressure rising?
Either sit your significant other down for a chat or check your response. Is it genuinely the end of the world if you leave a pot or two to soak overnight?
7. Empathic Tendencies
Some people can physically feel the emotion and pain of others. If you’re more empathetic than most, the weight of others’ sorrows can destroy your joy.
Take regular time alone to rest and recharge. For example, go for a solo hike or lose yourself in a novel.
8. Global Tensions
If you follow the news, the sorrows of the world at large can stress you. Millions suffer without the food, housing, or medical care they need to lead their best lives.
If you want to remain informed, let yourself unplug at least a few days per week.
9. Climate Change
Some scientists estimate that 1 billion people could face displacement due to climate change by 2050. This figure includes millions living in densely populated urban coastal areas.
Yes, you can practice sustainable measures personally, but it’s natural to feel helpless at the indifference of others, including world leaders. Take affirmative action by joining a volunteer organization or advocating that your favorite grocer patronize local farmers.
Combat These Nine Sources of Stress
If these sources of stress get you down, know you’re not alone. Use the nine tips in the suggestions above to restore balance and start feeling like yourself again.