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We live in a rapidly changing world, and stress has become a part of many people's daily lives. However, in the long term, stress can have an impact on both our physical and mental health.

What is stress?

One way to describe stress is as a state of heightened alertness. Such a state can be helpful at times. However, if stress is constant over time, it can quickly become exhausting.

Therefore, paying attention to physical symptoms such as skin rashes that show that stress is too high is important. Fortunately, therapy is available to teach us how to deal with it.

Stress and its physiological consequences

Stress activates the body’s fight or flight response, which in turn can lead to a variety of physical and mental symptoms. Thus, high blood pressure, heart palpitations and, surprisingly, skin problems such as eczema and rashes can be stress signals.

Read more here specifically about long-term stress, management and stress at work.

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How stress leads to skin rashes

When you are stressed, your body releases hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones can cause inflammation and irritate your skin, sometimes leading to skin rashes or the worsening of existing skin problems such as eczema.

Symptoms to look out for

  • Rashes or redness on the face and other parts of the body
  • Eczema or other skin conditions
  • Increased oil production, which can lead to acne
  • Hair loss or thinning hair

Psychological tools to manage stress

Talking to a professional therapist will give you tools to understand and manage your symptoms. Even if they are severe, these tools can greatly improve your quality of life and make it easier to cope with the fast pace of everyday life.


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Consider the following

  • Practising breathing exercises or mindfulness to reduce your stress levels.
  • Move regularly; exercise is a natural stress reducer.
  • Talk to a professional therapist or psychologist if your situation is unsustainable.

Next steps

Stress is not just a mental state. It has a real and measurable impact on your physical health. That’s why it’s important to pay attention if you experience skin rashes or other physical symptoms and think it might be stress-related. It may be time to take the next step. With us, you can easily book a session with a qualified psychologist or therapist who can help you work through your stress behaviour. Together we will make the difficult easier.


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10 FAQs about Stress

What exactly is stress?

Stress is the body’s natural reaction when facing challenges or threats and activates its defence system. But if it’s chronic, it can lead to health problems and should be managed effectively.

What are the most common symptoms of stress?

The most common symptoms of stress include headaches, sleep problems, stomach problems, and increased heart rate. Emotional symptoms may also include irritability and reduced concentration.

How can I reduce stress in everyday life?

One way is to identify stressors (things that stress you out) and work to reduce or eliminate them. Regular physical activity, good sleep and relaxation techniques such as meditation can also help.

What are stress-related diseases?

Stress can lead to a range of diseases and conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. It can also exacerbate mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Is stress dangerous in the long term?

Yes, long-term or chronic stress can have serious health effects. It can affect everything from your immune to your cardiovascular system and lead to long-term problems.

How does stress affect working life?

Stress can significantly impact work by reducing productivity, increasing absenteeism, and reducing the quality of work. Therefore, it is important that your workplace has resources and methods to help you deal with it.

Is there positive stress?

Yes, what is known as ‘eustress’ can motivate and improve performance. It is different from negative stress reactions, which can harm health.

What role does diet and nutrition play in managing stress?

A balanced diet rich in nutrients can help the body better manage stress. Specific foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins can be particularly helpful.

Can stress affect relationships?

Yes, stress can lead to tension in relationships and cause irritability, impatience or isolation. It is important to communicate openly with loved ones about your stress levels.

Where can I seek help for my stress?

If you are experiencing prolonged or severe stress, it is recommended to seek professional help.

Stress management steps to improve quality of life

Stress is a common condition that affects many people, regardless of their lifestyle or working conditions. However, it is important to understand that stress is not inevitable. That’s why psychologists and therapists are working on effective tools to help you manage stress and improve your quality of life. To give you an overview, we have developed a simple and concrete guide that outlines the steps to treat stress symptoms.

Identification of stressors

Write down situations, people or tasks that trigger stress for you. Then prioritize these points to identify the most pressing stressors.

Consultation

Contact a psychologist or therapist for a professional assessment. You can discuss your symptoms and stressors to get a tailored treatment plan.

Mindfulness and relaxation techniques

Learn basic breathing techniques, mindfulness exercises, and tapping/havening. Although they are not magical solutions, these techniques will help reduce symptoms once you learn how to use them.

Physical activity

Therapists often recommend that you incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine. Exercise helps to release endorphins, which naturally reduce stress.

Diet and sleep

Keep a balanced diet and ensure good quality sleep. Poor diet and sleep can exacerbate symptoms.

Set limits

Learn to say no to tasks and obligations that increase your stress level. Use planning techniques to balance work and leisure.

Monitoring and adjusting

Continue to have regular meetings with your psychologist or therapist. Adjust your treatment plan based on your progress and any new stressors.

Lavendla – Making the difficult easier

Written by samantha

Sr. Samantha Pieterse is a registered psychiatric nurse who is deeply committed to mental health and well-being. Samantha brings a unique and valuable perspective to her role as an editor for Lavendla South Africa. She has worked in Government and Private mental healthcare institutions in Gauteng and her expertise ensures that the articles on our website are accurate and accessible. Samantha is dedicated to enhancing mental health awareness and education in South Africa.