There’s a lot to feel stressed about whilst clawing your way through a university degree. There are the deadlines, exams, not to mention the impending existential crisis and questioning of what the hell you’re actually going to do with your life.
And while those obvious stress factors can feel crushing at times, there are other reasons your stress levels might be sky-rocketing right now. Of course there are the academic pressures but let’s face it, as a student, we doubt you are getting the best night’s sleep of your life – and not catching enough winks is a key cause of stress.
Busy schedules packed with socialising, societies and library stints can also cause stress levels to rise and that Dominoes you ate for dinner (and breakfast) for the past three days? Yeah, that’s not helping either. Is it any wonder that a whopping 82 percent of students are suffering from stress and anxiety in the UK
In fact, it can be easy to miss the signals that we are stressed at all. You might know the obvious signs, like feeling out of control, having difficulty relaxing, over-worrying and having a poor appetite. But what about the symptoms you might be less tuned in to? To help you on your stress-reduction crusade we’ve put together some of the slightly weirder symptoms of stress that you might not be looking out for.
Clenched jaw and grinding teeth
If you see your fellow students doing this in the library, don’t just assume they’ve turned up straight after a stint at an all night rave. Many people hold tension in their face so if you find yourself clenching your jaw and/or grinding your teeth this could be a sign you need to slow things down.
All the bowel bothers
At times, stress really ain’t pretty. We’re talking diarrhea, constipation and even nausea. These can all result from being overly stressed. So if you’re wondering why you’re having a traumatic time on the toilet, check in with how you’re feeling right now. Do you have any more stress symptoms (or did you just have one too many tequilas last night)?
Wondering why you’re blushing so much despite not feeling at all embarrassed? Stress strikes again. Not just blushing but also sweating are some of the weirder bodily symptoms caused by being stressed out.
So over sex
All your flatmates are bragging about their latest conquests and you couldn’t think of anything worse than getting down and dirty. While libido levels shift and change throughout the year, a lack of interest in sex could be due to some of that mounting student stress.
And if you’re not feeling sexy right now, maybe those extra gasses are partially to blame? If you’ve got a lot of flatulence and find that you’re burping more than you ever have before, you could pin that one on stress too.
Some people do overeat from stress but even those that don’t change their diet at all can end up putting on weight after lengthy periods of feeling stressed out. Stress causes a spike in cortisol, the stress hormone, and this has been directly linked to a gain in weight.
Becoming a shopaholic
If you’re looking for an excuse for your midnight ASOS splurge, this could be it. When we are overly stressed we are more likely to make impulsive decisions. That includes things like gambling or going a bit mad in the shops.
Messed up dreams
Having seriously weird nightmares lately? Or are your just not able to sleep at all? Both disturbing dreams (without cheese before bed) and insomnia can be caused by stress. Annoyingly, poor sleep then makes you more stressed and you’ve trapped yourself in a vicious cycle.
It can feel a bit unnerving when your muscles start convulsing but don’t start panicking because you’ve just watched Impossible. If you’ve started to notice your body twitching and spasming or if you’re having unexplained back and neck pain, stress could be the reason.
Feel as though you’re having an allergic reaction but there’s not a shellfish or dog in sight? Or maybe you don’t usually have allergies at all? Rashes, itches and hives as well as inexplicable or frequent ‘allergy attacks’ could actually just be a symptom of stress and anxiety.
Before you start panicking, there’s little use stressing about being stressed (although we’re sure you won’t listen to us). If you have one or two of these symptoms on their own, they could be the result of a number of things but if you notice a few of them then maybe it’s time to spray some lavender, get in the bath and do some deep breathing. If you feel like this is totally you then stay tuned for our next blog post on how to deal with stress.
You’ve got this.