3 common physical symptoms of stress plus how to relieve them

As the holiday season approaches with its excitement and festivities, so does the stress and pressure to have the perfect vacation for you and your loved ones. According to Everwell, the holiday season is notoriously stressful.

Adding to that, the lack of money for gifts, the lack of time to shop and cook, and the overwhelming commercialism and excitement of the holiday season can all add to the level of stress felt during the holidays.

The American Psychological Association’s Holiday Stress Survey found that stress increased among Americans during the fall/winter holiday seasons, especially among women.

Women are particularly vulnerable to increased stress around the holiday season, research suggests. Women bear most of the family burden of shopping and holiday celebrations, and they feel particularly stressed by the time it takes to get everything done.

What are the three physical symptoms of stress?

It is essential that when symptoms of stress occur, proper care is taken to manage them so that the symptoms do not worsen. Stress can manifest itself with various physical symptoms. Here are three common physical symptoms related to stress to watch 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 migraines. It can also cause 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.

Johns Hopkins Medicine shared the following common tension headache symptoms:

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

Adding that identifying and avoiding headache triggers can prevent tension headaches. Keeping a regular schedule of sleep, exercise and meals is also helpful.

2. Loss of hair

It’s common for people to lose about 50 to 100 strands of hair each day, according to the Society of the American Academy of Dermatology. Emphasizing that if a person experiences a high level of stress in their life, they may fall victim to more hair loss.

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

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

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

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

3. Sleep problems

There’s a difference between having trouble sleeping as a child because you’re excited about Santa coming versus a parent trying to make the house colorful for Christmas morning.

According to Amerisleep, 46% of people report worse sleep during the holidays, between busy schedules and lots of stress. Sleep and stress have a lot to do with each other, and sleep quality plays a role in things like food choices and mood.

It can be an endless cycle of high stress levels, which causes inadequate sleep hygiene, resulting in poorer daily performance which then increases stress.

The Sleep Foundation found that US adults lose an average of 11 minutes and 14 seconds of sleep each Thanksgiving, according to research. Stress and anxiety were the most popular reasons for sleep loss, according to respondents (34.7%).

Noting that people who host Thanksgiving lose 51 minutes of sleep during the holiday, on average.

Improving your sleep while under stress can make a significant difference in overall well-being and resilience. Here are some 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 warm bath or shower to relax.
  • Avoid caffeine and large meals before bed.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Try to deal with everyday stresses earlier in the day instead of at night.

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