4 Signs Your Body is Stressed

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One thing I’ve found amazing about the human body is that it tells you when things are wrong in many different ways. From headaches, aches and pains, the body is always looking out for our best interest and communicates with us. But do we communicate back? Acknowledge the stress signs? A majority of us just shrug it off, take some medication, and continue on with the day.

After all the doctor visits I’ve had, I now want to live a more holistic life. It started when I had my first session with a chiropractor. I’ve been experiencing a lot of back and shoulder pain added with migraines. The morning I had my session I woke up with a headache and already knew I was going to need to take Tylenol. About 30 minutes after my adjustment with the chiropractor, my headache went away and I haven’t had one since! This really made me question the medication my neurologist had given me for the migraines.

I should note – I’m not against medication. It’s extremely helpful! I personally love taking my Wellbutrin every day because it truly helps keep my depression in check. After all that’s happened within the last year or so, I’m starting to feel overwhelmed with keeping track of which medications to take, how much, etc.

So, I’ve been getting better at listening to my body and knowing when it’s time to slow down and reevaluate. Here are my body’s signs of stress that are also common symptoms for others as well!

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  1. Back Acne – In previous posts I’ve shared that I’ve never had acne before I stopped my birth control. Now not only do I deal with acne on my face, I have it on my back and shoulders. I don’t have it constantly since it out only breaks out when I’m stressed but it’s extremely annoying. In a previous post here, I mentioned a body wash that I was using to help clear it up. Unfortunately, I can’t find it in store or online anymore so I switched to Mario Badescu A.H.A Botanical Body Soap. So far, I’m really loving it and it smells so good! I use it almost every time I shower but especially when I notice a break out.
  2. Forgetting to Breathe – I’ve been really trying to focus on my breathing lately. I’m constantly on the go and moving at fast paces that I forget to just stop for a moment and check in with my breathing. When my chest and stomach start to tighten up, I immediately know that something is off. My mind is moving so fast that it’s concentrated on everything else! Now when I start to feel the tightness, I stop whatever task I’m doing and take a few deep breaths. Then once I feel calm and comfortable, I continue the task but with awareness that I need to slow down.
  3. Extra Irritable – I get angry/irritated easily but when I get stressed out, I start to get really sensitive with things. This one I do hate the most because there can be consequences that involve my family, friends, and could affect my work environment. At work I can control it better because it’s my job and the consequences could be severe(duh). As for my personal life, I try to take breaks from whatever situation is irritating me and causing stress. This usually means I either go for a walk, start cleaning, or go take a few minutes to just be in silence. I’m not running away from the problem but my brain and emotions are overstimulated so there needs to be a slight pause for my body to just calm down.
  4. Hair Falling Out – I recently posted about how I have androgenetic alopecia. It’s not uncommon for my hair to fall out but it starts falling out considerably and in clumps when I’m overly stressed. If I notice that I’m starting to have more hair fall out than normal, I really try to reevaluate what’s been going on the last few days. Have I been getting enough sleep? Drinking enough water? Eating healthy? What’s causing me stress that I can eliminate?

 

Recently my goal has been to achieve a simpler life. I was doing well for a while – going to therapy, journaling, practicing minimalism as much as possible – but along the way life happened and things got complicated and I stopped taking care of myself. Now I’m starting to listen to my body again so that I can stay healthy physically and mentally. Next time you start to feel overwhelmed or stress, take a few moments to check in with yourself and see what can be improved on to make your day just a little bit easier 😊

Being Diagnosed at 23 with Alopecia

Right now, it feels like my medical life is never going to come to an end. Mentally I’ve been…. okay. I’ve been slacking on journaling and I haven’t had therapy in awhile (but I made an appointment so that’s good!). My main focus now has been my physical health.

Since I work at a dermatology office (as I’ve mentioned 3 billion times) I had a consult to discuss my thinning hair. I’ve always had thin hair but within the last year or so it’s become pretty noticeable. After some lab work and a scalp biopsy, I got diagnosed with Androgenetic Alopecia.

Androgenetic alopecia, also known as female/male pattern hair loss, is unfortunately genetic and can be worsened with hormone changes and stress. The hair loss happens at the top of the scalp. For women, hair will thin and the part starts to widen. For men, it’s often that the hairline will start to recede and bald patches can happen. This is what my scalp currently looks like

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So yeah…at almost 24 years old this was not something I wanted to hear. I’m young and supposed to be exploring life and having fun! I shouldn’t have to worry about me losing my hair. I gave myself time to cry and let the information sink in and then it was time to get my shit together.

The first thing I started was taking Nutrafol supplements. They come highly recommended by dermatologists because these supplements have everything your body needs to try and regrow the hair and make it stronger. I’ve been taking them for over a month now and haven’t noticed any immediate change. Hair regrowth is a process though; it can take 6 months to a year before I start seeing big results. One downside to the Nutrafol? They’re expensive but I recommend giving it a try! Taking just biotin didn’t work for me. Nutrafol was created by dermatologists so it’s got all the necessary nutrients needed for hair regrowth.

Next, I changed up my shampoo and conditioner. I was using the brand Bosley and had their hair restoration items but after a year of using the products, I didn’t notice anything different. I went ahead and bought from the brand Nisim. What makes this set a better option is that the shampoo has DHT blockers. DHT is a hormone that affects your hair’s regrowth. The one thing I’ve noticed so far is that my scalp doesn’t feel dry or super itchy anymore so that makes me feel really positive about my switch!

The other thing that we found out was that my Ferritin levels are low. Ferritin is basically the stored iron in your body. My regular iron levels are fine because my body is pulling from the storage. We caught it quick enough that I don’t have to take any drastic changes to get my iron levels back up but I do need to be proactive in getting them back to a normal range. I want to avoid taking iron supplements if possible so I’m going to try and increase my iron intake through diet. I recheck my iron levels in about 3 months and if it doesn’t change then I’ll discuss with my doctors what action to take next.

 

I wanted to give y’all a quick update and just share more about my health journey. When I started this blog, I had an idea of what I wanted it to be like – your typical lifestyle blog with my own personal touch. But now I’ve found that I have a platform that I can use to educate and comfort others that go through the same illnesses as me. If you would have told me when I was 18 years old that this was how I was going to be starting my adult life I would have called you crazy. Constantly going to doctor appointments, being in pain, and being given bad news is all too much sometimes – it’s hard to stay positive. So I’m extremely happy and grateful for my support system and my family because I don’t know how I’d get through all of this without them.

 

If you have alopecia or want to learn more about it, click here!

Beginner’s Guide to Body Confidence

Having insecurities about our bodies hits us all at some point in our life. It’s natural and human. However, we tend to let these insecurities take over our whole lives – some people going to the absolute extreme. It’s an epidemic and it’s unhealthy.

My insecurity can be hard to talk about with people. I have always had a small, thin body – something a lot of people wish they had. While I am thankful to have a healthy body, being thin comes with many struggles as well.

As a child I was always the smallest in the group – family, school, church group…you name it. Clothes were a challenge because I wasn’t growing at the average rate a child at my age should be growing. Do y’all remember the jeans and shorts that had the elastic waistbands inside? That’s what I had for every kind of pants I owned. Not only was I very skinny but growing up and starting high school was extremely hard. My first day of freshman year I was walking to one of my classes with a friend. As we were walking we went by an upperclassmen. In passing he yelled out, “Are you anorexic?!”. I was shocked that he even said that but it made me really insecure. I hadn’t hit puberty yet and I just felt so out of place.

One summer in between school, I noticed on an ordinary day that I had stretch marks on my butt. I was so confused, concerned, and had no idea why they were there. My mom made an appointment with my doctor just to make sure everything was fine. Low and behold we found out that I had gained 10 pounds! It was so sudden and quick that my skin wasn’t prepared for the change and so it stretched quickly; leading to the stretch marks and I still have them to this day.

It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I truly hit puberty. I was filling out more and finally getting a shape to my body. The ages of 20 and 21 were my most confident. I was at a comfortable 135 pounds, I had curves in all the right places, and a little bit of chub to my stomach. For once in my life I was starting to feel comfortable in my skin. I finally was able to go shopping confidently knowing my size and which clothes fit me best.

My body has changed drastically since then. Two years ago my depression came back hard and in full force. When I get too depressed I stop eating. My butt was losing its shape, I had a thigh gap for the first time in years, and my stomach was extremely flat that I could count my ribs. It took a few months but I was able to get some of my weight back. I was able to get my curves back and was starting to feel a bit better.

Now within the last 6 months or so my body has lost a lot of what I loved about it. My weight is back in the 110s, I have a thigh gap, my arms are at the skinniest they’ve been in years. I even noticed that I lost weight in my face. When I realized my body was changing so much I got depressed about it. I used to be so confident. I liked having my weight. Going shopping was now my least favorite thing to do, especially shopping for pants. In two years, I’ve gone from a size 6 to a size 2. I hated the way I looked so much. Instead of it motivating me to eat a lot more and go to the gym, it just seemed like a chore to gain weight again. I wasn’t ready for the commitment it would take to try and gain back 20+ pounds.

It’s easy to stay upset about your body. It’s easy to look at models and wish for their looks. It’s easy to compare yourself to your own friends with the pictures they put up on social media.

What’s hard is loving your body.

It hit me recently that bodies are always changing, no matter what stage of life you’re in. My body was different two years ago. I was different two years ago. Life constantly changes and we as people constantly change. Why should we expect our bodies to stay the same no matter what?

And numbers? That’s it, they’re only numbers. The size of your clothing does not define if you’re beautiful or not. Your weight does not define your character or your personality.

I want to tell you guys something that truly helped me accept and start to love the body I have now.

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Get rid of all the clothes that don’t fit you anymore.

This was so hard for me. Getting rid of my favorite pairs of jeans and shorts tore my heart apart. But they all were negative reminders of what once was. Trying to wear them was impossible because they were too big and it made myself feel even smaller. Trust me though. You won’t miss them when they’re gone. I can guarantee that you’ll find the same style in a size that will fit you and look AMAZING!

Buy yourself a new wardrobe.

This wasn’t exciting for me either. I had to get my bra size checked again and try on many different sizes of pants and shirts to find what actually fit on me. But once I was finding clothes that fit me I noticed I was becoming more confident with how I looked. Because the clothes actually fit and complimented my body. I already know the next thing you’re thinking. A whole new wardrobe!? That’s so expensive! I get it. I was not psyched about having to drop money on new clothes. So here’s what you can do to help avoid spending a ton of money!

  • Thrift shop – I have found so many good finds when I go thrift shopping! My greatest come up? Gorgeous leather Steve Madden boots for $20! You want to know when I bought those? 6 years ago! They still fit and are in perfect condition; my absolute favorite pair of boots.
  • Sell your old clothes – There are a ton of places that will take your clothes. I have both Crossroads and Plato’s Closet in my city so I have a couple options. Before when I would sell my clothes I literally just wanted the cash but now that I actually need new clothes, I’ve trade my old ones for new! It’s basically getting new clothes for free and getting rid of your old clothes in one trip – amazing!
  • DIY – I have a few shirts and tank tops that started to look really baggy on me but I still loved them! I just couldn’t part. Those tops have now become crop tops and are perfect for lounging or going out in the summer. A perfect compromise don’t you think?

I’m not saying this journey is easy and I’m not saying that I have 100% body confidence. I definitely still have my down days where I wish I could look just a little bit different. But I don’t! This is my body. What matters most is that I keep it healthy, inside and out. That should be the goal anyway, right? To have a healthy body? We don’t get new bodies – this is the only one we get. We need to remember to think twice about what we’re putting into them and how we’re taking care of them. A healthy body is extremely rewarding! Your organs will be happy, your skin glowing, and your mind at its sharpest! We are all beautiful human beings – no matter what ANYONE says. Love yourself because your body is for you and nobody else. Love it, cherish it, take care of it ~