I have read thousands of articles about how bad stress, especially chronic stress, is for your body. However, what I never realised is what a sneaky bastard chronic stress is. You don’t wake up one day with a multitude of stress-related problems, but instead it’s like you are the frog in a pot of water that is slowly being brought to boil – well at least I was. The symptoms started so slowly and were so random that I never chalked them up to stress until I quit my job and now 6 weeks later these problems are all going away. Sure, I knew I was constantly stressed and frustrated and all the other negative things that comes from working in a toxic environment for years, but I totally underestimated the impact it had on my health.
I’ve had IBS for over 20 years. I know how this thing goes, therefore when I noticed it getting worse I thought it was something I was doing wrong. I cleaned up my diet, got rid of the foods I knew triggered my IBS but nothing really changed. My symptoms were still off the scale. I was getting through each day by taking the maximum dose of Immodium allowed. Still I didn’t put two to two together until just recently when I noticed I didn’t need a single Immodium tablet to make it through the day or even the week. My stomach was calm, except when I did something stupid like not sleep or eat something I knew I shouldn’t. I was actually shocked. Shocked that stress could make me that sick and shocked that I never even once thought my symptoms were caused by stress.
Another thing I have noticed since quitting my job is that my skin is looking better than it has in years. I’m one of these rare people whose skin is still trapped in puberty as I’m about to turn 40. I’m using both Clearasil and anti-wrinkle cream. Whilst I still have some spots, this is me we are talking about, my skin now looks healthy instead of all congested and clogged. Again nothing has changed in my diet or skin care regime, all that has changed is that I quit my job. The chronic stress has disappeared. Even my hair is looking better. I was queen of the persistent bad hair day. Nothing I did made my hair look good for more than a minute. Now, it’s good hair day almost every day.
You would think that being unemployed and, until I improve my German, pretty much unemployable would be overloading my system with stress, but it isn’t. Well, at least, nowhere near the stress levels I had whilst working in my previous work. I’m not going to lie and say that having no income is a walk in the park. But being finally free of chronic stress has lifted my mood out of the gutter that even being worried about money isn’t bringing me down to the level I used to be at.
If you have recent health problems or just not looking or feeling as good as you used to, please take note of your stress levels or the environment you work or live in. Then do something to change it. I was only in an ultra stressful and toxic environment for 2 years, but the impact it had on my health was major. I can’t imagine the state of my health if I had stayed in that job for 5 or 10 or even 20 years. I probably would have never blamed stressed for my health problems either. Remember stress is sneaky, it’s like a ninja. You don’t know that it’s stress’ fault until you are boiling alive and can’t get out of the pot.