We have all been stressed at some point. But it is in certain situations like meeting a deadline or disciplining your kid that you feel ‘stressed.’ Stress could be positive or negative. It is one of the natural ways for the body to respond to certain situations. As a woman, we have to don different hats throughout the day. From being a mother, caretaker, cook, to be accountable at work, stress becomes a part of your life. However, when stress becomes excessive, it can take a toll on you and reflect on your behavior. The more you neglect it, the harder it gets to cope! How do I know I am stressed? Stress comes in different forms. For some, it is a recurring headache, while for others, it could be in the form of anxiety. Stress also presents itself as disguised as anger, upset stomach, mood swings, worry, boredom, negative thinking, isolation, apathy, etc. Signs of stress Let us look at some of the signs and understand how it is connected to stress. Frequent sickness Do you fall sick more than anyone around you? If you are constantly battling one infection or the other, the chances are that you may be too stressed. Stress may take a toll on your immune system and cause you to fall sick more often. In a study, 61 individuals were injected with a flu vaccine. Those who had chronic stress had a weakened response to the vaccine. This indicates that stress is directly related to your immune system. Insomnia Do you ever toss and turn in bed? No matter how many sheep you count, sleep evades you? Contrary to popular belief, the cup of tea or coffee is not to be blamed. The thief of your sleep may well be stress! A study was done on 2,316 patients. It showed that people who dealt with stressful events were at an increased risk of insomnia. Many similar studies show an association between stress and insomnia. However, they do not take into account other factors that may affect the outcome. Digestive issues There is nothing more embarrassing than having the runs when you have an important presentation. Although the diet plays a crucial role, stress may be the cause behind this one. Other digestive issues caused by stress are, bloating, constipation, stomach pain or discomfort, etc. The studies done in this area show an association, but there is a need for definitive research in the area. However, people who had digestive issues did see a change when their stress levels decreased. Depression Depression is a mental disorder that affects 15% of the Indian population. As common as the disorder is, it is not talked about. People usually look for a life-changing cause behind depression. But it might be something simple like stress. A study was done on 816 women, which showed that the onset of depression was linked to acute and chronic stress. Depression is easily curable. It is crucial that the person suffering from it is not alienated. Tips for managing stress Stress affects kids in school to old-age retired people. There is no escaping it. But that does not mean that you cannot manage it. Stress management is the key to a happy and fulfilling life. 1. Exercise Physical movement in the form of walking, yoga, pilates, or even meditation is crucial for a healthy mind and body. Exercise helps you release all the stress that you hold in. 2. Sleep well There is so much to do every day that sleep often takes a back seat. A sound sleep of 7 to 8 hours is essential for any healthy person. 3. Social life Strive to maintain the relationships that matter to you. Cut out or limit the people that always bring you down. 4. Occupational responsibilities Work is important. It is more than a job to many of us who enjoy what we do. But for a stress-free home environment, you will have to leave all your responsibilities at work. Do not bring your work home. Set healthy boundaries. 5. Purpose Find a purpose that drives you to become better. Set short-term and long-term goals that you would like to achieve and work towards them. Just like we work to achieve the things we want, we have to work a little to keep stress away. Too much stress could cause heart issues, hypertension, etc. It is best that we learn to manage it in the early stages and avoid all those problems by observing signs of stress at the initial level.