November 19

Chronic stress, anxiety and fatigue: What you need to know

November 19

Chronic stress, anxiety and fatigue: What you need to know

How chronic stress and anxiety can make you tired

If you’ve ever experienced a panic attack, acute stress, or extreme anxiety, you may also notice feeling tired and exhausted. It may even become a vicious cycle of stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Read on to see what you need to know about the relationship between stress, anxiety, and exhaustion, and what you can do to feel better.

What drives chronic stress, fatigue, and anxiety?

In moderation, the body’s response to stress is healthy – it helps us avoid (or fight) aggressors and dangerous predators that could threaten our lives. However, in today’s world, it’s much more likely that stress is contributing to poor health. Generally, when a stressor (such as a tight deadline or a public speaking engagement) has passed, our body’s flight-or-fight response is turned off, and our hormones go back to normal. But, so many executives these days constantly feel under attack – perhaps from ongoing deadlines and ever-increasing job demands – and your body stays in a stress-induced state. Prolonged stress can cause many other mental and physical issues – most commonly chronic fatigue and anxiety. 

What are the consequences of experiencing long-term stress?

Long-term activation of the stress-response system and overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This can lead to the development of health problems such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep problems
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Memory and concentration impairment

How does stress impact the workplace?

Health problems due to chronic stress can lead to decreased productivity, more errors in your work, and increased absenteeism due to the recovery time from illness. 

According to the American Institute of Stress

  • Over 1 million workers are absent daily due to stress. 
  • Unanticipated absenteeism is estimated to cost employers over $3.5 million yearly. 
  • 60% of absences could be traced to psychological problems that were due to workplace stress.

What’s more, according to a 2019 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, 64% of US adults say work significantly stresses them.

This isn’t surprising, considering the prevalence of anxiety is rising in U.S. adults. According to a 10-year study from the Journal of Psychiatric Research on anxiety among U.S. adults from 2008 to 2018, anxiety increased from 5.12% in 2008 to 6.68% in 2018 – with greater impacts on those under the age of 50.

How can I deal with chronic stress, fatigue, and anxiety?

These statistics mentioned here are particularly relevant for executives and professionals who have stressful jobs and don’t have the time or energy to seek treatment. But – know that there is caring, comprehensive, stigma-free hope and help available. If you feel like you are constantly under stress, anxiety, and/or fatigue, there is a way to feel better. 

Here are some coping mechanisms to help in the short-term, from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America:

  • Take a time-out. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.
  • Eat well-balanced meals. Do not skip any meals. Do keep healthful, energy-boosting snacks on hand.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
  • Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
  • Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health. Check out the fitness tips below.
  • Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly, and follow a breathing exercise.
  • Count to 10 slowly. Repeat, and count to 20 if necessary.
  • Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn’t possible, be proud of however close you get.

For more specialized help and comprehensive care, Ciba Health offers a personalized program to help executives and stressed-out leaders combat fatigue, stress, and anxiety. Learn more by contacting our Care Advisor: https://cibahealth.com/free-consultation/

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