November 17, 2022

Am I Busy or Am I Just Stressed?

Written by Rachel Eddins

Posted in Stress Management and with tags: overwhelm, stressed


Between managing their home life, achieving their professional and personal goals, making time for hobbies, and spending quality hours with loved ones, it’s common for people to be busy.

Sometimes busyness and stress can overlap, and some individuals may confuse the two ideas.

If you find yourself tired but content at the end of each day, you might just have a busy schedule, but if you end your day feeling unsatisfied and overwhelmed with how much or how little you accomplished, you might be experiencing stress rather than simply a busy schedule.

Is There a Difference Between Being Busy and Feeling Stressed?

There’s certainly a difference between being busy and feeling stressed. It’s true that when you can feel stressed when you’re busy, but you may not always be busy when you feel stressed. You might also live a busy life without experiencing stress.

The difference between these two ideas is that prolonged stress can hurt your body, while having a busy schedule may not have the same long-lasting implications.

For example, you may have a busy schedule filled with multiple activities you enjoy, such as completing a motivating workout in the morning, working at a job you love, meeting with friends or co-workers after work to chat, and going home to make your favorite dinner. This qualifies as a busy day but may not lead you to feel stressed.

In comparison, if you dread going to your job every day and find the work overwhelming and meaningless, you might feel stressed about it.

Additionally, there are two types of stress you may experience in your life: acute and chronic. Acute stress is a short-term stress that you may find relief from more quickly. For example, after accomplishing and submitting a large project at work, your stress may decrease significantly. Acute stress can also help your body respond to dangerous situations, such as slamming on your car brakes or missing a step on a flight of stairs.

On the other hand, chronic stress can last much longer than acute stress, potentially continuing for multiple weeks or months. Some examples of this stress include feeling unsatisfied at work or in a partnership and experiencing financial challenges. When unaddressed, chronic stress may cause long-term health problems.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Stress?

There are several signs and symptoms of stress that you can recognize in yourself, and acknowledging them may help you take steps toward reducing your stress levels.

According to the American Psychological Association’s 2020 Stress in America survey, “When considering the physical and emotional toll of increased stress, nearly half of adults (49%) report their behavior has been negatively affected. Most commonly, they report:

  • increased tension in their bodies (21%),
  • “snapping” or getting angry very quickly (20%),
  • unexpected mood swings (20%), or
  • screaming or yelling at a loved one (17%).”

Stress can manifest itself in mental, physical, and emotional signs and symptoms, and it can cause long-lasting effects on your mind and body if you become used to them without learning how to fix them. The symptoms can vary by person, and it’s critical to learn how your body in particular reacts and copes with stress if you want to address it.

However, there are some common signs among those who experience chronic stress.

Mental signs and symptoms:

  • Experiencing poor judgment.
  • Having difficulty concentrating.
  • Dealing with memory challenges.
  • Experiencing racing thoughts.
  • Having a negative outlook.

Physical signs and symptoms:

  • Feeling nauseous or dizzy.
  • Dealing with a decrease in your immunity and experiencing more sicknesses, such as the flu.
  • Having unexplained body aches and pains and headaches.
  • Experiencing chest pains or rapid heart rates.

Emotional signs and symptoms:

  • Feeling depressed or unsatisfied with life.
  • Dealing with various emotional or mental health challenges, like anxiety or depression.
  • Having more mood swings or angry outbursts.
  • Experiencing anxiousness and agitations.
  • Isolating yourself or feeling lonely.

If you’re struggling with any of these challenges, consider seeking stress management therapy to learn how to cope with them.

What Can Happen if I Don’t Make Changes to My Stress Levels?

You may suffer various negative consequences if you don’t make changes to your stress levels. On the less severe side, you can experience a drop in your productivity levels, causing you to miss deadlines or procrastinate on your tasks. This may occur because high levels of stress can take away the energy you need to focus on other tasks.

On the more severe side, there are more extreme consequences that can affect your body if you don’t address your stress levels. Some repercussions can include:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Heart disease.
  • Skin problems.
  • Menstruation issues.
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.

What Are Stress Preventions and Treatments?

The good news is there are stress preventions to keep you from reaching chronic stress, and there are treatments to help you cope if you’ve already passed the point of chronic stress. For stress prevention, try finding workouts you enjoy and incorporating them into your schedule, either daily or a few times a week.

You may also try:

  • deep breathing,
  • meditating,
  • eating well-balanced meals,
  • talking to your loved ones or trained professionals about your challenges,
  • taking frequent breaks in your day, and
  • making time for activities you enjoy.

For stress treatments, you can attend talk counseling sessions to learn how to cope and manage your stress properly from a therapist. If you, your child, or your partner are seeking supplemental resources on how to better manage stress, our stress management courses offer various tools to help you improve on your own or serve as additional learning for your therapy sessions.

You may also try scheduling massages to target areas in your body where you might be holding stress. Other therapies can include acupuncture, aromatherapy, and hypnotherapy.

At Eddins Counseling Group, we’re committed to providing the best resources and treatment available to help you manage your stress levels and pursue a healthier lifestyle.

If you’re seeking additional help on how to manage your stress based on your professional and personal life, get started today to start learning positive coping strategies and prioritizing your to-do list.

Our Houston, Montrose, and Sugar Land therapists are ready to partner with you on your journey towards wellness. 


Students learning together by Alexis Brown is licensed with Unsplash License

Posts You Might Also Find Helpful:

Blog Categories