Your pulse is quickening, you can't eat properly and you can't sleep at night Your dreams are peppered with concern and nightmarish images and you can't explain your feelings. What's going on? Last week you were totally fine!
It's something that can happen to anyone. Anxiety and stress have a way of creeping up on us without a moment's notice, as our work or relationships catch up with us in our busy life. It only takes a small catalyst to unleash a steady stream of anxious behaviour in our life until we suddenly can't take it anymore and a nervous breakdown is upon us. We want to stop these things from happening before they do so we can enjoy a stress free lifestyle without worry. Are you feeling the effects of anxiety coming upon you?
1. Days and nights of anxiety
You're not prone to anxiety but suddenly it's dawning on you. You can't sleep at night, and during the day you always feel restless, like you're waiting or expecting something that just isn't happening. Your leg is shaking more than it should be when you sit down, and you're worried about drinking coffee because you already feel "wired". What's going on?
Remember to take deep breaths and think about what's going on in your life. Perhaps you are not acutely experiencing stress on an active level, but inside of you are some decisions you are struggling to make or a work schedule that is finally catching up to you without you realizing it. Breathe, meditate, and consider why anxiety is starting to come into your life. Don't worry about it, just confront it and tell it to slow down.
2. Feeling the blues…a lot
With the anxiety comes a lot of "Monday blues" – everyday. You didn't want to wake up to deal with Monday after the weekend and…you don't feel like dealing with Tuesday either. Or Wednesday. Or anything or anyone. What's going on? What happened to your passion for your life and vocation? A byproduct of anxiety and stress, you're starting to feel the crunch of repetition. You need to shake things up a bit to distract yourself from the anxiety. Watch a new series or go out more often to socialize might be a quick cure. Either way, tame yourself through it and you'll survive.
3. Abnormal sleeping patterns
You never used to have a hard time sleeping at night, so what's been going on now? You're tossing and turning, staying up all night overthinking everything and it never seems like you're going to fall asleep. Anxiety is truly catching up with you. Something in your diet and lifestyle has been upset and it has slithered into disrupting your resting time. On one side of things, you can't fall asleep and when you do you have terrible dreams and wake up too much; one the other end of things, when it's finally time to wake up you just want to stay in bed all day to catch up with your real sleep and not face the day. It's a painful cycle to have to deal with. If you're struggling with sleep, just try to maintain your usual sleep cycle. Eventually your body will relax and readjust to what it is used to.
4. Difficulty eating
You're supposed to be enjoying your food, but you can barely taste it. You're consumed by your spinning mind instead of consuming delicious food. Your weight is taking a toll in one direction or another. Stress affects people's diet in different ways; some people can't stop eating as their metabolism rushes through whatever it eats – some people stop eating all together as they start smoking cigarettes more, or don't have the constitution to eat much. When you're suffering from anxiety, your stomach is acutely connected to your brain. You need to use the toilet more often, and the distress caused by your brain ripples to your digestive organs. Remind yourself to slow down when you eat, remember to breath and try to get through each meal as you should. Your body needs it.
5. Wild headaches
When your body and mind is under stress, it finds ways to absorb your head and take over the most important muscle in your body – your brain. You're spending too much time on your phone, ignoring the world, computer screens at work are jarring you and you can't focus on anything; headaches are common place and they upset you during the day and at night. Try not to become too dependent on medicine during this time or else you will develop a dependency and immunity to them (not healthy!). Just remember to keep yourself hydrated, drinking lots of water and juices with natural sugars, and don't spend too much time with your head in a phone screen or even a book. Take it easy, use darkness to your advantage and try to relax.
6. Fever and a quick pulse
When we are experiencing stress like this it affects our whole body. Our neural system is connected to our digestive track and our emotions and health get all out of whack. Our white blood cells are rushing to combat the stress and start shutting down, letting down our immune system and leaving us prone to sickness and illness. During the time before a heavy breakdown may occur, we get sick, have a fever, and feel confused as to why we are suddenly so sick out of no where. We don't want to be sick – even if we have anxiety we must still carry on with our day and life. But when we become physically sick as a result of anxiety, now we suddenly cannot even perform our basic functions.
Let it serve as a wake up call to relax and distill the anxiety. It was too much to handle – you don't need to deal with it. Repair your body with rest, water, and a minimum amount of chemical drugs, and when you feel better, ready your mind to take on the rest of the week and become a more stress free person. You deserve it!