We all have to deal with stress at work, but left untreated, stress can cause physical harm.

Sleep problems, moodiness, not feeling like yourself, headaches, light-headedness, chest pain, heart racing – these are all signs of stress.

“If left untreated, your stress festers, and it can go into physical symptoms. It can affect your blood pressure. For some people, it can cause some heart problems; people feel like they are having palpitations or the heart is racing,” said Dr. Mike Sevilla.

Most people don’t need someone to tell them that they are stressed, but sometimes, they might need direction on how to deal with it in the workplace.

There are many ways to deal with stress, but some options could make the situation worse such as overeating, drinking and smoking.

Not only should you manage your physical symptoms with exercise, but you should also manage your mental symptoms by talking with someone.

“When it comes to stress, it is going to be out there. It is not something you really ignore. There are unhealthy ways of dealing with it, but if people start to have physical symptoms of their stress, they should probably check it out with a doctor to make sure there is nothing medically going on,” Sevilla said.

Sevilla said he sees high levels of stress even in young adults and kids. For everyone, high levels of stress can make you more susceptible to diseases.

It is time to see a doctor if you experience more serious symptoms such as chest pain, heart racing and light-headiness. Also, if your stress is causing mental fatigue or depression you need to speak with someone.

COMMON SYMPTOMS OF STRESS (Centers for Disease Control)

  • Disbelief and shock
  • Tension and irritability
  • Fear and anxiety about the future
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Feeling numb
  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nightmares and recurring thoughts about the event
  • Anger
  • Increased use of alcohol and drugs
  • Sadness and other symptoms of depression
  • Feeling powerless
  • Crying
  • Sleep problems
  • Headaches, back pains, and stomach problems
  • Trouble concentrating

Tips for Self-Care (Centers for Disease Control)

The best ways to manage stress in hard times are through self-care.

  • Avoid drugs and alcohol. They may seem to be a temporary fix to feel better, but in the long run drugs and alcohol can create more problems and add to your stress—instead of taking it away.
  • Find support. Seek help from a partner, family member, friend, counselor, doctor, or clergyperson. Having someone with a sympathetic, listening ear and sharing about your problems and stress really can lighten the burden.
  • Connect socially. After a stressful event, it is easy to isolate yourself. Make sure that you are spending time with loved ones. Consider planning fun activities with your partner, children, or friends.
  • Take care of yourself.
    • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
    • Exercise regularly
    • Get plenty of sleep
    • Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out—for example, treat yourself to a therapeutic massage
    • Maintain a normal routine
  • Stay active. You can take your mind off your problems with activities like helping a neighbor, volunteering in the community, and taking the dog on a long walk. These can be positive ways to cope with stressful feelings.