Stress is an inevitable part of life and is a normal physical and emotional reaction to the demands of life. It helps us prepare for difficult situations that may arise, but when it becomes too much, it can become overwhelming resulting in negative physical and psychological effects.
Stress can become overwhelming when it becomes unmanageable and out of control. This can lead to feelings of helplessness, fear, and anxiety, along with a number of physical symptoms like headaches, nausea, chest pain, and difficulty breathing. Stress can also cause difficulty concentrating, memory problems, sleep disturbances, and appetite or weight changes. When these signs and symptoms become so intense that they interfere with your daily life, it may be time to call it quits and take steps to manage your stress.
Effects of Overwhelming Stress
A. Physical Effects
Feelings of overwhelming stress can have serious and far-reaching repercussions for your physical health. You may experience: an increase in your heart rate, difficulty sleeping, headaches, an upset stomach, or chest pain. You may also find yourself having difficulty concentrating or difficulty remembering things. Your body may respond to stress by producing excess cortisol, a hormone that can result in an increase in appetite, weight gain, higher blood sugar levels, and a weakened immune system.
B. Mental Effects
The psychological effects of feeling overwhelmed can be just as damaging. You might find yourself feeling anxious, irritable, or hopeless. Feelings of dread and guilt may arise, along with a feeling of being paralyzed and unable to do anything. You may also feel disconnected from others and experience difficulty concentrating or making decisions. It’s possible to feel like you are living in a constant state of fear or to experience outbursts of anger or sadness. All of these symptoms can take a huge toll on your mental health in the long run.
Types of Stressors
A. Workplace: Many people encounter stressors in their workplace that can range from lack of resources to overwhelming workloads. Workplace stress can be caused by tight deadlines, unclear expectations, or current communication issues with fellow workers or supervisors. It can be easy to put too much pressure on yourself to get the job done, and sometimes that pressure can become too much to handle. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or frustrated with your current workload, it may be time to call it quits.
B. Relationships: Relationships can be some of the most stressful areas of our lives. Whether it’s family, friends, or romantic partners, the emotional connection we have with others can sometimes become too much to bear. If it feels like you’re constantly struggling to keep up with your relationships, perhaps it’s time to call it quits. Take a break from the situation and reassess the best way forward.
C. Financial: Money can be a big stressor for many people. Unstable finances, mounting bills, or unexpected expenses can cause a lot of stress and worry. If you find yourself unable to manage your finances, it may be time to call it quits and seek professional help to help you get your finances in order.
Warning Signs of Stress Becoming Overwhelming
A. Changes in Sleep Pattern
If you’re feeling so stressed and overwhelmed that you have difficulty falling asleep, or have problems staying asleep, take note and be prepared to call it quits. Does it take you hours to fall asleep or do you frequently wake up in the middle of the night? These are warning signs that your stress has become too much to handle.
B. Change in Appetite
If your anxiety around stress has caused either an increase or decrease in your appetite, this is a definite sign that it’s time to cut back on the stress in your life. Do you no longer have an appetite, or maybe you can’t get enough food and are always looking for something to eat? An altered appetite can be a sign that your stress levels have become too high.
C. Feeling Constant Anxiety
If you’re feeling constantly anxious, on the edge, or panicked, then the stress in your life has become too much to bear and it may be time to call it quits. Do you feel like your mind is continuously working overtime or that you’re always on the brink of a panic attack? If so, it’s time to start managing your stress in order to prevent it from taking over your life.
When to Know It’s Time To Call It Quits
When it comes to recognizing when it’s time to call it quits when stress becomes overwhelming, it’s important to emphasize that it’s ok to take a step back and give yourself the time to assess your situation. Everyone experiences stress and it’s important to understand when stress is impacting your overall wellbeing, so before you call it quits, it’s important to recognize the warning signs.
A. Recognizing Unhealthy Behaviors
If we’re struggling with identifying when stress becomes overwhelming, it’s essential to be able to recognize the unhealthy behaviors associated with it. Look for signs such as changes in productivity, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, poor decision making, increased irritability, and self-destructive thoughts. These types of behaviors can be a sign it’s time to take a break and reassess.
B. Learning To Say No
Sometimes feeling overwhelmed can be a result of taking on too much, so learning to say no can help reduce your stress levels. It’s also important to remind yourself that it’s ok to say no when it comes to things that you don’t want to do. Rather than feeling guilty or pressured to agree, it’s totally ok to politely decline.
C. Utilizing Professional Help
In some cases, the stress can be excruciating and it may not be something that we can manage on our own. This is why it’s important to seek help from qualified professionals or support groups who will be able to help provide you with the necessary tools to manage your stress. There’s no shame in getting advice and support, so don’t hesitate to call it quits when it’s necessary and ask for help.
In conclusion, learning to recognize when stress is becoming overwhelming is key to preventing chronic stress and anxiety. Of course, this is easier said than done — one of the most important steps you can take is to become aware of the signs of stress and be mindful when they first arise. It’s equally important to recognize the various strategies you can use to counteract overwhelming stress. Just a few include finding a healthier work/life balance, seeking out social support, adopting mindfulness-based stress reduction tactics, and seeking professional help when needed. While it’s true that dealing with stress can be difficult, the good news is that there are plenty of resources available to help you manage it. Ultimately, when it comes to overwhelming stress, knowing when to call it quits and take action is half the battle.