Stress doesn’t just live inside us invisibly—it shows up on our skin, in our hair, and throughout our bodies, so finding ways to cope is imperative to looking, feeling, and functioning at our very best. Here are five telltale signs that stress is impacting your health:

Breakouts and Skin Irritation

Cortisol increases oil production and slows our bodies’ natural detoxification processes, causing stagnation and buildup that can manifest in breakouts and flare-ups like eczema. Stress-induced skin issues are common and can be exacerbated by additional stress about appearance.

Weak Nails

Nails that peel easily, are flimsy, and are prone to breakage and slow growth are also side effects of prolonged stress. Hangnails, ridges, and the disappearance of half-moons are all signs of imbalanced hormones, typically tied to stress. These changes in nail health can be subtle yet indicative of deeper issues.

Lack of Appetite

High anxiety can push our body into survival mode, causing us to hone in on the cause of stress and stop producing ghrelin, the hunger hormone. This can affect our appetite, causing us to lose weight in an unsustainable and unhealthy way. A lack of appetite not only impacts energy levels but also affects overall nutrition.

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Weight Gain

On the other hand, obsessive-compulsive eating can be triggered by a spike in cortisol, making us crave sugary, salty, and fatty foods to fuel the body against stress. This can lead to weight gain, especially around the abdomen, creating further stress about body image and health.

Poor Sleep

High cortisol levels make us feel alert, ideally peaking in the morning to wake us up. However, when cortisol stays high throughout the day, it disrupts our circadian rhythm, making it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. Poor sleep quality affects every aspect of health, from cognitive function to physical well-being.

So What Can I Do About It?

Stress is a hormonal response in the body, and hormones signal every function from digestion to detox. Our sleep, skin health, mental wellness, and so much more are affected by our hormones, so when a cascade of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline throws off our balance, a lot can happen. It’s up to us to find calmer ways of responding to stress by utilising simple, go-to stress-reduction protocols like breathwork, plus taking supportive vitamins and minerals, and herbs like adaptogens.

And Breathe…

To effectively reduce stress by slowing the heart rate and affecting the production of stress hormones, try this simple breathing exercise: breathe in for four counts, hold the in-breath for four counts, breathe out for four counts, and hold the out-breath for four counts. Repeat as needed before, during, or after feelings of intense stress.

Adaptogens

Adaptogens are herbs that help the body adapt to stress. Incorporating adaptogenic herbs like Ashwagandha, Reishi, Shatavari, and Rhodiola can aid in stress management. Glowable’s product, Adapt, features a therapeutic dose of Ashwagandha, along with vital micronutrients to support a healthy stress response. Adapt is designed to combat chronic stress and promote overall well-being.

Guest post by clinical naturopath and Glowable founder, Tegan Marshall.