Whether it’s playing caregiver to a family member, trying to figure out how to squeeze a dollar out of the last dime or juggling the priorities of regular work-life activities, we all deal with stress.
Here’s a not-so-fun fact: Stressing about all of this excess, well, stress, could wreck more than a good manicure. You could be sacrificing your health and mental well-being, too. Worse, you might not even realize how bad off you are. Check these unexpected signs you’re stressed:
- Memory loss. Can’t recall the details of the staff meeting you just left? Chronic stress can expose the hippocampus, the area of the brain that controls your short-term memory, to excess amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, which can mess with your ability to remember things. You’ll need to handle the root cause of your stress to get your memory back. Until then, take copious notes.
- Hair loss. Your hair could be falling out for myriad reasons—from certain medications to genetics. Or stress could be doing a number on your tresses. Stress-induced hair loss can be caused by several conditions, including alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder in which white blood cells attack hair follicles causing hair to fall out, or telogen effluvium, which can cause sudden and extreme (as much as 70 percent) hair loss. Fortunately, telogen effluvium hair loss usually reverses itself after the stressful even that led to it is over, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology.
- Nosebleeds. Experts debate about whether nosebleeds are triggered by stress, but some studies have shown that patients who experience nosebleeds get them after being in stressful situations. One study, from the British Medical Journal, suggests this could have something to do with the spikes in blood pressure common in stressed out people.
- Dry-heaves. Retching can be a sign of anxiety. Coupled with stress, anxiety can lead to vomiting and cyclic vomiting syndrome, a condition in which people experience nausea and vomiting over an extended period of time, often daily. To treat? Get plenty of rest, drink water and meditate to calm the stress.
- Excess sweating. We all sweat more when we’re stressed, but some of us suffer from hyperhidrosis, excessive sweating, particularly of the palms and feet. Yoga and meditation can help reduce stress-related sweating—in you and others. A recent study found that stress sweat gives off signals people around you can detect, possibly causing them to be stressed out, too.
- Weakened immunity. Prolonged stress triggers the release of catecholemines, hormones that help regulate your immune system, and shrinks your thymus gland, which produces infection-fighting white blood cells.