90+ Signs You’re Mentally and Emotionally Exhausted (According to Experts in an Up Journey Article)

90+ Signs You’re Mentally and Emotionally Exhausted (According to Experts in an Up Journey Article)

90+ Signs You’re Mentally and Emotionally Exhausted (According to Experts)

Possible ways to cope with mental exhaustion include some obvious and some not-so-obvious steps one can take: take a break, exercise regularly, take care of basics, and be grateful.  Read the entire article in Up Journey and find out what Dr. Connor adds to the discussion.

To further discuss, make an appointment with Dr. Connor.

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Is Stress Really the Silent Killer?

Is Stress Really the Silent Killer?

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Stress — that feeling of extra pressure or strain when something bad or unexpected occurs — can be uncomfortable. However, it can also change or harm your body and have lasting effects on your health. This has led some to call stress the silent killer. Taking steps to minimize stress may reduce your risk of future medical conditions and improve your well-being. Preventing and dealing with stress more effectively is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle.

Types of Stress

Feeling stressed before a big work presentation isn’t likely to have a major impact on your health. This type of worry, called acute stress, only lasts a short while. In some cases, it can even be a good thing. It may help you perform better under pressure or react to a potentially dangerous situation. On the other hand, chronic stress sticks around. It may stem from big life changes such as leaving a job, getting married, going through a breakup, having a child, or being diagnosed with a new health condition. It may also develop from ongoing challenges such as financial worries or problems at home or work. You can’t avoid acute stress. It’s a normal part of life. However, you can work to reduce your levels of chronic stress to protect your health.

How Stress Affects Your Body and Mind

Stress is more than just a feeling — it’s a physical change that affects other processes in your body. When you find yourself experiencing a stressful event, your brain responds. It churns out two key hormones: adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline is responsible for kicking your body into fight-or-flight mode, while cortisol controls your body’s stress reactions. These molecules travel around the body, causing changes that help you react to whatever is triggering the stress:

  • Your airways open up wider, helping you take in more oxygen
  • Your body sends more blood and oxygen to the tissues that need it most, such as the brain and muscles, and less to other areas like the digestive system
  • Your body starts pumping more sugar around your body, which your muscles use for energy
  • Your muscles tense up
  • Your heart starts pumping faster
  • Your immune system is activated

These processes are meant to be short term. They can help you get yourself out of a dangerous situation. When responding to acute stress, you’re more clear-headed, you feel less pain, and you have more physical strength. However, adrenaline and cortisol can cause problems if they stick around. For example, increased blood sugar levels boost your energy in the short term, but increase your risk of diabetes in the long run.

Health Conditions Caused by Stress

Chronic stress raises your risk of several conditions, including:

Preventing chronic stress may help you avoid some of these problems down the road. If you have already been diagnosed with one of these conditions, controlling stress may reduce your symptoms.

Warning Signs of Too Much Stress

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There are several symptoms of stress, including:

  • Aches and pains, including headaches, back pain, neck pain, or jaw stiffness
  • Low energy levels
  • Acne
  • Rashes or other skin changes
  • Nausea or indigestion
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Blurry vision
  • Feeling sick more often because of a weakened immune system
  • A lower sex drive
  • Menstrual period changes such as a shorter or longer cycle or increased symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Insomnia or sleeping problems
  • Light-headedness or dizziness
  • Worry or nervousness
  • Restlessness or jitteriness
  • Problems thinking, focusing, remembering, or feeling motivated
  • Using alcohol or drugs more often than usual or in unsafe ways

It may be time to talk to your doctor if you are experiencing signs of stress. This is especially true if you feel like stress is overwhelming you or getting in the way of your ability to complete your responsibilities at work or home. It’s also important to tell your doctor if your stress is giving you panic attacks. During a panic attack, your heart may feel like it’s beating too hard or too fast, you may struggle to take a deep breath, or you could experience chest pains, stomach pain, shaking, or dizziness.

How to Prevent and Manage Stress

To some extent, stress is part of being human. However, feeling stressed on a regular basis is not normal or healthy. Fortunately, researchers have identified several strategies that can help reduce your stress levels and avoid stress-related health problems. To be in your best health, make time for activities that help you relax and recharge.

Take a Deep Breath

Deep breathing exercises can cause physical changes within your body. They shut off your sympathetic nervous system (the part of your nervous system that controls your fight-or-flight response) and activate your parasympathetic nervous system (the part of your nervous system that makes you relax after you experience stress). Not only can deep breathing lower stress levels, but it can also help treat anxiety and migraines, reduce blood pressure, improve lung function, and help improve well-being for people with chronic conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and cancer. One of the simplest forms of deep breathing, known as diaphragmatic breathing, can help fight stress. To practice this, the American Lung Association recommends the following steps:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position or lie down and place your hands on your stomach. Relax your body, including your shoulders, arms, and neck.
  2. Take in a deep breath of air, making sure that your belly rises.
  3. Slowly breathe out, feeling your belly fall back into its original position.
  4. Make your exhales at least twice as long as your inhales. For example, breathe in while counting to four and breathe out while counting to eight.
  5. Repeat for 10 minutes.

There are many other types of deep breathing exercises. Try searching for deep breathing videos or apps that guide you through the process. Some types of deep breathing are also forms of meditation or yoga.


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Meditation can undo the effects of stress at the molecular level. It reverses some of the changes caused by stress within your cells, minimizing damage and helping prevent premature aging.

Meditation may also reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Additionally, it can lower pain levels, improve sleep, and boost overall mental well-being.

There are many types of meditation practices to explore. When it comes to fighting stress, you may want to practice mindfulness meditation by:

  • Using a smartphone app that focuses on mindfulness
  • Watching a YouTube video that guides you through a mindfulness exercise
  • Listening to a mindful meditation podcast
  • Looking for a mindfulness center or meditation center in your city
  • Taking a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) class at a local medical center, yoga center, or athletic club, in which you take an eight-week class that teaches you mindfulness exercises
  • Enrolling in an MBSR class online
  • Finding a therapist who specializes in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy to learn meditation exercises and closely examine how your thoughts and habits affect your mental health

You can also try simple mindfulness meditation practices on your own. The Mayo Clinic suggests performing a body scan meditation. Start by sitting or lying down on your back. Focus on your toes and notice any discomfort, itching, heat, tingling, pressure, or other sensations. Don’t judge the sensations or any thoughts that run through your mind; just notice that they’re there. Next, move your focus to your feet and pay attention to any other sensations. Slowly focus on each part of your body in turn, working your way to the top of your head.

If you regularly practice body scan meditations, you may find that your mind is increasingly able to stay focused in the present moment and that physical or mental signs of stress don’t bother you as much.

Analyze Your Coping Mechanisms

Many people turn to unhealthy habits as a way to escape their stress. Try to notice if you’re doing the same — do you feel like you need a drink after a trying day at work? Have you been reaching for cigarettes more often? Are you tempted to binge on unhealthy snacks when you’re feeling the pressure?

These habits can be symptoms of stress, but they can also worsen your mental state. Try to be honest with yourself about whether you’re relying on coping mechanisms that could negatively impact your health. Try to not only avoid these activities but also replace them with some of the healthier habits listed here.

It’s often easier to break bad habits with outside support. You may want to look into programs to help you reduce or stop your drinkingquit smoking, or eat mindfully. Working with a mental health professional can also be a very effective way to develop healthier habits and address the root causes of your stress.

Stretch Your Muscles

When you feel stressed, your muscles tend to tense up. Stretching exercises can ease this physical stress symptom. Research has also found that stretching can lower levels of stress hormones and turn on relaxation processes in your brain.

Yoga and tai chi are both types of physical activity that combine breathing exercises, meditation, and stretching. Regularly practicing one of these activities may help you avoid the effects of stress and avoid anxiety and depression.

Get Moving

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Stress and physical activity can affect each other: you’re more likely to avoid exercise when you’re stressed, but you’re also more likely to feel stressed when you’re not moving around enough.

Other types of workouts besides stretching, yoga, and tai chi can combat stress. Exercise encourages your brain to make neurotransmitters that boost your mood and train your body to fight stress-related health problems.

You’re more likely to stick with an exercise program if you start slow and do something you enjoy. Anything that gets you moving can help boost your health!

Take Your Vitamins

Vitamins and minerals help your mind and body function at their best. In particular, your brain uses many types of B vitamins to produce neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) such as serotonin and dopamine that help control your mood and thinking abilities. These neurotransmitters also play a role in conditions like anxiety and depression.

Several studies have found that vitamin B supplements can help reduce stress symptoms and boost mood. Those who don’t get enough nutrients from their diet may be the most likely to benefit from taking more vitamin B.

Omega-3 fatty acids may also help treat depression and reduce stress-related inflammation. You can get more of this nutrient by taking fish oil supplements or by eating more seafood, nuts, and seeds.

Many people with high stress levels also have low magnesium levels. Magnesium could help control cortisol levels and play a role in whether you turn to unhealthy behaviors to manage stress.

Eating a balanced diet containing many different types of whole foods helps you ensure that you are taking in all of the nutrients you need to support your mental health.

Set Aside Self-Care Time

It’s always important to take the time to relax.

Finding time to relax can feel hardest when we’re stressed, but this is when it’s most important to make the time. Try keeping your mornings just for you — do some deep breathing or meditation, step outside for a few minutes, or drink a cup of coffee while reading a book you like. Alternatively, you may find it easier to wind down in the evening with a warm bath or calming music. Take breaks throughout your day to go on a walk or spend time talking to loved ones.

Talk to a Professional

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therapist or counselor can help you deal with ongoing stress, whether you’re experiencing a little more anxiety than usual or you’re completely overwhelmed. They can also teach you tools that help you avoid or deal with stress in the future.

Therapy comes in several forms. You may choose to meet with a mental health professional individually or as part of a group. A therapist may teach you deep breathing exercises, analyze your beliefs or behaviors, understand where your emotions are coming from, problem-solve a specific issue, or help you with something else based on your needs.

Living a Life With Minimal Stress

Although it may not be easy, it’s possible to make lifestyle changes that help you feel less stressed. Even small steps may go a long way when you commit to building healthy habits that fight stress.

If your stress levels feel too high to manage on your own, bring it up with your doctor. You may want to seek additional suggestions, ask about medication that fights anxiety or depression, or get a referral to a mental health provider who can better help you.

Can CBD Relieve Menopause Symptoms?

Can CBD Relieve Menopause Symptoms?

In an article in Giddy, Dr. Connor explains that although menopause is a natural part of life, the symptoms often cause women to seek treatment. Read this entire article to find out how CBD oil works in the body and if it can be beneficial toward eleviating menopausal symptoms. If you are being impacted by menopausal symptoms and would like to discuss this further with Dr. Connor, please make an appointment

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The Pet Parent’s Guide to Hemp Oil for Dogs and Cats (Be Chewy article)

The Pet Parent’s Guide to Hemp Oil for Dogs and Cats (Be Chewy article)

The Pet Parent’s Guide to Hemp Oil for Dogs in BeChewy.com

Confused about hemp seed oil? Hemp seed oil is very nutritious and can have an array of health benefits for people and their dogs. Read this article in BeChewy.com about hemp seed oil’s benefits for dogs and see Dr. Connor’s quote regarding hemp seed oil for humans.

To further discuss, make an appointment with Dr. Connor.

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Can Working From Home Affect Your Mental Health?

Can Working From Home Affect Your Mental Health?

Can Working From Home Negatively Affect Your Mental Health?

Can working from home negatively affect your mental health? In the era of COVID-19, many of us have discovered what it is like to be a remote worker. Our working days often look very different than they used to. In many cases, these changes can have a negative effect on mental health.

Experts predict that many jobs will remain remote after the effects of COVID-19 begin to disappear. In one mid-pandemic survey, more than 80% of employers said they were considering offering more work-from-home options even after the pandemic ended. If there is a chance that you will continue to work from home for some time, it may help to know how to set up your work environment and routines to better protect your mental health.

It’s Not Just You: Working From Home Can Be Stressful

Can Working From Home Affect Your Mental Health?

As many as 3 out of 4 workers in the U.S. have reported feeling stressed during COVID-19. And research from before the pandemic began has found that remote workers tend to feel more stressed than those who work on-site.

Stress can come with many symptoms. The following signs may indicate that your stress levels are high:

  • Feelings of nervousness or uncertainty
  • Feelings of sadness or depression
  • Tiredness
  • Feelings of anger or irritability
  • Low motivation levels
  • Difficulties with paying attention
  • Sleeping problems

There are several things that can be adding to workplace stress during COVID-19. Many people have additional duties, both at work and at home. Some people may not have all of the tools they need to get their job done from their house. Additionally, changes in routine, uncertainty about the future, and worries about health concerns all add up to more stress.

Sometimes, you only experience stress for a short period of time, such as when you’re in a new, scary, or dangerous situation. This is known as acute stress, and is normal – it’s the body’s way of keeping us safe. However, when stress lasts long-term, it can become a problem. This type of stress, called chronic stress, can lead to negative effects on mental and emotional health.

Mental Effects of Stress

If your brain is feeling foggy or if it seems like you just can’t get things done like you used to, there’s a good reason. High levels of chronic stress can cause memory problems. Stressed people are also more likely to have low energy levels and difficulty focusing. Increased stress also leads to more serious mental health problems. Nearly a third of telecommuters say they have experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression during the pandemic. People are also increasingly turning to drugs and alcohol to cope.

When stress remains a constant presence hovering in our minds, it can cause burnout. People who are burned out have very negative feelings about work. They often feel very exhausted, distance themselves from work or from coworkers, and don’t get as much done. Burnout is a real diagnosis and one that I continue to see in my medical practice in the last 14 months. Burnout affects the way the brain works. People who feel burned out have a harder time remembering things and paying attention. On the other hand, some research has found that when people feel better about working from home, they are less likely to feel burned out. Finding ways to make telecommuting more enjoyable may help protect your mental health.

Impacts on Physical Health

People who experience long-term chronic stress are also more likely to have various physical health problems. These can include:

Stress can also negatively affect sleep, which can in turn cause additional health problems. Among people who have started working from home due to COVID-19, at least half report that they aren’t getting as much sleep as they used to.

The Benefits of Working From Home

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Although working remotely can be stressful in some ways, it may help to know that setting up in a home office can positively affect your mental health too. If you’ve been working at home for over a year, you may not be remembering all the stressful parts of your previous in-person role.

No Commuting

The average commute time for Americans was at an all-time high before the pandemic hit. Spending a lot of time in the car every day can increase stress levels, leading to negative effects on physical and mental health:

Staying at home during your workday may mean that you avoid stressful traffic, have more social time, and get more sleep.

Productivity Boosts

Some research shows that when people work from home, they get more done. Additionally, the vast majority of employers have said that productivity has increased during COVID-19. Believe it or not, you may be doing better at your job now than you were when you were going into the office.

Other Benefits

Working from home may help you save money. You aren’t paying as much for commute-related expenses, and eating lunch at home is usually cheaper than buying lunch at work. Additionally, you could move to a more affordable location and work from there. If you plan your schedule right, you could also have more time for other non-work activities like exercise or hobbies. Many people enjoy their jobs more when they can do them from home.

Mental Health Solutions for Remote Workers

Telecommuting can be both a relief from stress and a source of it. If you restructure your working day and make the most of working from home, you may end up feeling better about your job and having less mental health worries.

Create a Separate Work Environment

Trying to resist temptation and avoid distractions wears down your mental energy, which can make you feel more stressed at work. Take a look around your home workspace. What catches your eye? A cluttered desk, television, or nearby smartphone may be a constant source of distraction. Separate yourself from temptation as much as possible while working. This separation is crucial so that you can close the door to work, both figuratively and literally, after your workday is complete.

Eliminate Multitasking

Research shows that people who multitask more often are actually worse at it! If you’re trying to do multiple things at once, you may not be doing as good a job as you think you are.

Workers in one survey spent an average of 40% of their day multitasking by communicating with coworkers while trying to accomplish other tasks. Technology like Microsoft Teams and Slack makes it possible to work from home, but also provides another source of distraction. Studies have found that people who are regularly messaging while they work take longer to get things done. Try to avoid checking these apps while in the middle of a big project, or schedule time to catch up on messages once every couple of hours.

Work Smarter By Using Your Body’s Internal Clock

Different processes within the mind and the body follow a pattern called a circadian rhythm or a biological “clock.” At different times of day, things like alertness, digestion, and body temperature naturally change. You likely feel more energetic and focused during specific times. One study found that students were likely to get better grades during morning classes, while another found that test scores improved after lunch.

Try noting how you feel at different times each day, or track your activities with a time-tracking website or app. When you look back at what you accomplished over multiple days, you might see a pattern. What time of day do you usually get the most done? Try scheduling tasks that require a lot of focus during times of higher energy and productivity. Then, plan to check email or take meetings when your amount of focus is lower. If you seem to hit a slump at the same time each day, try taking a break right before you usually reach that point.

Stick to a Set Work Schedule

Does avoiding a daily commute mean you have more free time? Not always. A pre-pandemic study found that people who telecommute work an average of 3 hours more per week. During COVID-19, the length of the average workday increased further. More work may equal more stress.

Try to set consistent work hours each day. If possible, choose a start time and end time to your workday, and make sure to also schedule in some break periods to give your brain a chance to recharge. Sticking to a schedule can help give you a stronger sense of control.

One of the major reasons people have been working longer during the pandemic is that they spend more time on email. Try taking your work email off of your smartphone and only answering it during working hours. If you sometimes need to respond to email during the evening, designate one small block of time for checking your messages and stay out of your inbox for the rest of your non-working day.

Once your workday is done, it’s time to distract your brain. Try building a habit of doing a certain ritual once you’re finished each day. This can help signal to your brain that work is done and it’s time to switch gears. Engaging in a more passive activity like watching TV makes it easy for work-related thoughts to creep in. Instead, try activities that require your full attention. Picking up a new hobby, planning some social time with a loved one, or cooking a fun dinner can help you leave your work behind and fully enjoy your free time.

Move Your Body

Sitting all day is bad for your health. It increases risk of many different health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Even if you regularly schedule exercise sessions outside of work, it doesn’t undo all of the damage of sitting down for the remainder of the day.

Make time for movement throughout the workday. Do a couple of stretches during a 5-minute break or take a 15-minute walk around the block. Try not to remain in your seat for large blocks of time. I often tell my patients to take a short break every hour if sitting at a computer. Your eyes will also thank you, since computer work causes strain to the eyes.

Get Some Sunlight

Going on a walk is a great step, but location matters too. Some studies have found that there is a difference between walking around in the city and spending time in nature. In a city setting, there is more chaos – honking cars and bright billboards are calling out for your attention. However, when you take a walk through a more natural setting, your brain gets a chance to reset and you can improve your ability to focus. Other research has found that walking through nature lowers anxiety levels and improves your mood. Find a park nearby to spend some time in, or schedule time on the weekends to immerse yourself in a natural environment.

Stay Socially Connected

Telecommuting often means that you’re spending a lot of the day on your own. Make sure you’re engaging in social time, both inside and outside of work. Take a bit of time during your workday to check in with coworkers. During work breaks, message a friend or family member. Outside of work, spend some quality time playing with your kids, or plan a visit or phone call to catch up with a loved one. Making time for social activities can boost your sense of belonging, improve self-esteem, and provide an outlet for giving and receiving support.

Balancing Responsibilities at Home

When you work from home, it may seem like it should be easier to keep up with your roles around the house, but the opposite is often the case. Work and home stress can easily bleed together, with one set of jobs distracting you from finishing the other.

Women are particularly facing difficulties in this area. 44% of women and only 14% of men say they are the only one in their household with childcare duties. Women are also more likely to feel under pressure, exhausted, or burned out at work. Overall, many parents are finding it very difficult to work from home while also overseeing their children’s online schooling.

Work with your family or housemates to find a solution that works for everyone. Try to lessen the amount that you multitask by setting up a schedule with your spouse to divide childcare or pet-related responsibilities. Make sure you’re devoting some time to the kids, but also set aside time where you’re only thinking about work. Have your spouse or another family member keep an eye on the kids, even if just for an hour or two. Try to set boundaries to protect this time – it’s okay to say “no” sometimes.

Remember That This is Temporary

Yes, remote workers have reported higher levels of stress during the pandemic – but so have on-site workers. A great deal of the stress that people are feeling right now is not just due to working conditions. Living through a global pandemic has meant that many of us are dealing with health concerns, isolation from loved ones, financial difficulties, and new routines. These other factors all add to our stress levels, making working from home seem especially difficult right now. It’s possible that once the number of COVID-19 infections drops and regulations are lifted, some of these other stressors may improve. Working from home may become more enjoyable once the effects of the pandemic lessen.

Know When to Ask For Help

Long-term stress can easily turn into more serious mental health problems. If you are constantly feeling overwhelmed or are experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression, talking to a healthcare professional may help. Bring up these feelings at your next appointment with your primary care provider, or seek out a psychiatrist, therapist, or counselor. Many different websites and apps now also offer virtual counseling sessions. Talking to a professional can help you further learn how to manage stress and improve mental health.


Despite the possibility of added stress, most people like to work from home at least some of the time. In one recent survey, nearly 3 out of 4 people said that in the future, they hoped to be able to split their time between working at home and working in the office.

There are many strategies that can help you lessen stress while remote working. Even though you may have been working from home for over a year now, it’s possible that you still haven’t found a good routine or an effective work-life balance. Continuing to use trial and error to find potential solutions may help you protect your mental health.

If you would like a physical check-up please make an appointment with Dr. Connor.

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