These days, every time we look at a computer screen or our phones, there's a new headline that evokes immediate dread, fear and disgust. With our new president settling in to the White House faster than a cockroach makes a home in your pantry, it seems like the news about outrageous policy after outrageous policy is the new normal. And while we might already be starting to feel desensitized from the madness, our bodies are carrying around the damage, even if we can't see it.
While it feels like right now is the time to get pro-active and be part of every protest and march and cause there is, we have to take the time to check in with our bodies and minds, too. Because in order to be our best selves, we've got to stay in tune with our bodies, even if we feel out-of-synch with the rest of the world.
If you haven't had the time or mental space to assess your well-being, there are a few signs you can look out for. Our bodies have a clever way of telling us when it's time to slow down, even if we're not listening. Here's what to look for if you've been burning the candle at both ends lately:
You Have Screen Anxiety
While it's tempting to stay up-to-date with what's going on in the world and your social life, you've got to be able to put a little bit of distance between you and your screens. If you're constantly reaching into your pocket to check your phone and feel anxiety when you can't, it's time to force a little space. There's a difference between staying informed and obsessing.
Your Sweet Tooth Is Out Of Control
When we're stressed, our bodies crave sugar. Think about the foods you've been craving lately — are most of them treats or carbs? Chances are that's your body acting out and giving you a subtle reminder that it's not getting the rest and relaxation it needs.
You Can't Find Anything
When you're operating in a stressful mind state, you're not fully present. So when you put your keys down, you're thinking about something else. And when it comes time to find your keys, you haven't got the slightest idea where you left them. If you've been spending more time than usual looking for your things around the house, that might be a sign you've overwhelmed your mind and need to decompress and work on staying present.
You Have A Stubborn Cold
Maybe you had a full-blown cold at the beginning of the winter, but it went away. Since then, it seems like it keeps coming back for a day or two and you've got a perpetual crumpled tissue pile at home. This could mean that your immune system is struggling due to stress. In order to beat that cold you're going to need to slow down, sleep more, and find more time to take care of yourself.
You Have Road Rage
Stress-related anger can rear its head in many different ways. Whether you find yourself honking more than usual, or brushing past people on the street without patience, or tapping your foot in line at the grocery store, your tolerance is thin. This often happens when you're feeling stressed and haven't had time to check in with yourself and re-balance.
You're Not Sleeping Well
Whether you're having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep all night, or waking up in the morning with anxiety and an inability to fall back asleep, your sleep cycles are out-of-whack. This often happens when you're stressed out and not taking the time to deal with it. Of course it's understandable that you want to get up and read the news and catch up on all that you've missed out on while you were asleep, but consider moving your phone away from your bed so you're not so easily tempted to grab it in the morning before you've had enough rest.
Your Stomach Has Been Acting Funky
Maybe you've been having indigestion, maybe you feel bloated, maybe things are a little slow down there — if things feel off and have for more than a few days, your stomach issues might be stress-related. Stress affects the amount of acid that's pooling in your stomach which affects your digestive process. If you don't get things under control mentally, you might risk some long-term health issues.