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Five signs you're more stressed than you realise

Are you more stressed than you need to be?

In 2015, I didn't think I was stressed. But in hindsight, I was definitely more stressed than I realised.

And because I didn't realise how stressed I was, I didn't do anything about it. Because I thought it was normal.

So I thought I'd write a blog post, to help you lovely people avoid the mistakes I made. I'd love to know if you resonate with any of these.

1. You procrastinate.

In me, this presented as me putting off the jobs I found difficult for as long as possible. In reality, this only added to my stress, because they were looming over me, making it difficult to focus on other jobs. Plus they were never as bad as thought they would be; it was generally that pesky future-thinking and imaging the worst that made me stressed!

2. You snap at people if things don't go exactly to plan.

I did not see myself as someone who snapped at people. But I did, although admittedly only to those closest to me. Say my husband (then boyfriend) and I had said dinner was going to be ready at 7.30 and it wasn't ready until 7.42, I'd find it really hard to stay calm. I felt like it was eating into my precious time. 12minutes late meant 12 minutes less time to chill out after! And if I'd known it was going to be 12 minutes late, I could have planned something relaxing or productive before the meal. In my head, it was totally reasonable to be irritated at this. In hindsight, it was a sign of how stressed I was. Every minute of my day mattered. I was unable to "go with the flow" and find joy in the moment in front of me, because I thought I'd planned the perfect day and any variation from that was therefore "less than perfect"

3. You feel overwhelmed if anyone tries to give you anything new to do

Whether that's suggesting something fun to do on the weekend, or a job at work that you hadn't expected. Again, I thought this was quite reasonable; my time was all planned, of course I couldn't add in something else last minute! Now I recognise this as a sign of stress; I just didn't have the capacity to add anything else.

4. You can't switch off

Now I think lots of people think this one is normal; that when you leave work, it takes time to slow down the thoughts and get into chill out mode. I definitely thought this, thought that it was normal to need 2-3 hours minimum to switch off from work. That it was normal to carry certain worries about work with me through the weekend, like exactly how to get everything done on time, and how to manage a call with a difficult client. In reality, this is your brain trying to find a solution to a problem it thinks is a threat and it's a sign you're stressed.

5. You feel Sunday Night Dread

Dread is about overly worrying about something in the future. So if on a Sunday night, you're dreading work the next day, it's a sign you're stressed. But how many people, my old self included, think a certain amount of "Sunday Night Dread" is normal? I'm here to tell you it doesn't have to be.

So what can we do about these? As with anything, the first step is recognising it. Recognising that you're stressed, so you can step back and make a plan to do something about it. I didn't realise that life didn't have to be this way. I thought I was pretty happy DESPITE living with all the above symptoms of stress. I hope this helps you realise sooner than I did that you can live differently; of course for me, the answer was mindfulness xx


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