9 Signs You’re WAY Too Stressed Out
1. You wanna stay in bed foreverrrrrrrr.
Even the chillest girl has the occasional morning where she just doesn’t want to face the day. But if you’re repeatedly feeling too freakin’ drained to rip yourself from the covers (a crazy combo of physical exhaustion and emotional NOOOOO!), it’s time to take stock of the worries that may be weighing you down. “Stress is an energy-drainer, because it secretly sends all of your body systems into overdrive,” says Jane Pernotto Ehrman, M.Ed, a behavioral health specialist at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute.
2. One catch with the *so tired* thing? You can’t actually sleep.
Another legit reason that stress is making you wake up feeling like death: You spent a good chunk of the previous night tossing/turning/wishing your brain would just TURN OFF ALREADY. “I call it ‘wired and tired,’” explains Lucie Hemmen, Ph.D, a psychologist in Santa Cruz, CA. “Practice bumps back homework, which bumps back bedtime – and by the time you’re ready to go to sleep, you’ve pushed yourself past the point of exhaustion.” Real talk: That wired feeling may be a sign that sneaky stress hormones are pumping through your body at unhealthy levels, just to help you survive your ridic day. And when you’re experiencing that crap-night-of-sleep cycle on repeat? It’s maybe time to give your schedule some breathing room.
3. You’re legit sick, like, every other day.
When you’re in high-stress mode, your immune system can be suppressed up to 30% – making you more likely to catch every single cold or flu that’s circulating around your school. So if you’ve already taken 8 gazillion sick days this year, it could be a signal that you’re overwhelmed.
4. Wait … where did you put your phone/keys/brain-that-works?
Here’s the funny thing: A tiny jolt of stress in some situations (like getting called up to present your project in class) can make your mind do totally amazing, somewhat super-human things (like recalling a random fact about photosynthesis when your teacher asked you #KilledIt). But when every project, paper, practice, etc., etc., etc. is weighing on you to the point where you just feel stuck? Your memory goes fuzzy, your focus becomes non-existent, and your ability to actually listen gets squashed. It’s like stress hijacks your brain.
5. Your head feels all sorts of tight and/or explode-y.
OK, think about the last time someone spooked you: Your shoulders instantly scrunched up, right? And your neck muscles tightened? Well, that response to danger actually dates way back to caveman days: “It’s an animal instinct to protect the jugular,” says Ehrman. But the tricky part is, your brain can’t distinguish between an approaching tiger (HELLLLP!) and that vague I-have-a-million-tests-this-week-make-it-stop feeling. And if you’re not paying attention, you may be walking around in constant *high alert* mode. “All of that tension travels up the back of the neck, causing blood vessels to swell and press on brain tissue,” explains Ehrman. To counter-act this stress-induced stiffness and the headaches it causes, try this trick: A few times a day, you can sit up straight, take a nice deep breath, put your chin to your chest, and roll your head all the way to the left (ahhh)…then back to the right (yup, so much better!).