NETfacts: Self-care

Five Signs of Stress (and ways to reduce it)

Stress – we have all experienced it at one time or another and recognize the typical signs that go along with it, like sleepless nights, panic attacks, crankiness and overeating! But there are some other not-so-obvious stress indicators that you should be aware of:

  1. Itchy SkinDuring stressful situations, our bodies release histamine which can cause the skin to react with the appearance of itchy hives. Stress can also cause chronic skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis to flare-up.
  2. Sore Jaw
    Stress can cause you to clench your jaw and/or grind your teeth while you sleep causing you to wake up with an aching jaw, chipped teeth or headache around the temples.
  3. Curled ToesSimilar to tensing your shoulders, stress or anxiety can cause you to curl your toes under. A quick walk can help to stretch them out and relax.
  4. Increased Menstrual Cramps
    Hormones can become unbalanced during stress causing menstrual cramps to increase in duration and severity. Any exercise or activity you enjoy will help increase your happy hormones and reduce those cramps.
  5. Rubbing Your Forehead
    In a subconscious effort to massage away the stress that leaves you with a lack of focus, you may find yourself rubbing the middle of your forehead. It could also be an early indication of a headache.

Whether you have experienced any of the above symptoms above or any other signs of stress, following are some tips to help reduce your stress levels:

  • Learn to say no! We think we can do it all, but that puts too much stress on ourselves to be superhuman and will eventually stress you out! Only do things that you want to do, or that are absolutely necessary.
  • Exercise every day!  A two-hour trip to the gym isn’t necessary, but a short, relaxing walk will help to reduce stress and keep you healthy.
  • Enjoy sleeping!  Are you getting enought sleep? Getting less than seven hours of sleep at night can make you more vulnerable to stress, so put down that remote control and get that extra sleep your body needs to help prevent stress.
  • Take a technology break!  Constantly checking emails, text messages and Facebook 24/7? A 2012 study by the University of California in Irvine discovered that being constantly online feeds stress. Make a point of turning off the computer and phone and relax!
  • Book that vacation time!  Whether you are jetting off somewhere exotic or just enjoying a stay-cation at home, take the time to let your body and mind recharge and revitalize. It will make you more productive when you do return to work.


For ‘stress’ image: Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti /

For ‘no stress, relax’ image: Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /