Can Stress Cause Shingles?

Can stress cause Shingles? In my experience – yes! We have been dealing with sickness in the Tress house since Easter when we visited with family and passed around a bad virus. The virus affected each of us in different ways. Emma simply displayed bad cold symptoms. Cole contracted a bad cold and also had hives for several days in a row (very scary when it happened the first time). And I got a terrible sinus infection and Shingles this week. Yes – Shingles. Not only was I sick with a bad sinus infection, I was under a significant amount of stress this week. Here’s what led to the perfect storm and what changes I plan to make moving forward to prevent another Shingles outbreak.

Can stress cause shingles?

I hope you find my experience and suggestions helpful if you ever deal with Shingles. Below is a photo of how mine started. I actually thought it was a series of painful bug bites. My symptoms started on Monday with a few bug bite looking bumps on my lower back, a terrible headache, sensitivity to light, a lot of congestion, and overall fatigue. The symptoms increased to involve nerve pain around my lower back and front of my pelvis, diarrhea, nausea, and a spreading rash that popped up in three clusters. Shingles was not on my radar at all. I didn’t even know it was possible for someone in their 20’s to get Shingles. In fact, I finally texted my mom and mother-in-law a photo of my rash on Thursday morning (four days after it started) and posted a photo on my business FB page. My mom immediately called, my MIL texted, and a gal on my FB page remarked it was Shingles. I went to the doctor to confirm and receive anti-viral and pain meds.

Now I am trying my very best to relax (so much easier said than done), and recover this weekend so I can prevent permanent problems down the road. I welcome any and ALL suggestions about how to truly unplug as a work-from-home mom.

This is the appearance of my rash outbreak in it's early stages (one out of a few locations).

This is the appearance of my rash outbreak in its early stages (one out of a few locations).

If you remember, last week I was fairly relaxed. I even wrote a post about my perfect day. It’s amazing how fast things change, right? Last week at this time I was feeling balanced and healthy, and now a week later I’m laid up in bed trying to recover from a bad Shingles outbreak, haha. So, what happened between then and now?

I don’t believe there was one main event that caused my stress-induced Shingles outbreak. Rather, it was a combination of several things.

Here are a few things I had in the works this past week which caused some stress and what I plan to do to prevent these items in the future.

  • I am currently leading four online boot camp groups. I absolutely love working with my online clients. Seriously – LOVE. There is always a cap on enrollment. Occasionally, I allow a few more clients into the groups because they really want to register and I truly want to help them get healthy. However, at this time, I’ve allowed a few extra participants into ALL four of my groups. Which means I have to find extra time to do consultations. Even 3 extra clients per group means I am cutting into my calendar margin through the week and giving up time for professional development or rest. Moving forward I will not allow extra registrants into my online boot camps. I do believe that my clients will understand and patiently wait for my next online boot camp open enrollment. I am also working on finalizing an eBook with my new Bikini Boot Camp plan so some clients can simply purchase the plan without going through a consultation.
  • I was very busy working to complete my Instagram Academy Video Series portal this week. I got most of it completed and the video series turned out extremely well, but I still have a long way to go with adding the 25 daily trainings and deliverables. I am also planning to start another IG Academy Online Course on May 4. I plan to continue chipping away at the portal, but also decided to cut my enrollment cap in half for the course. I typically enroll 20, and I am only going to enroll 10 to give me more time to work one-on-one with participants.
  • We went to the library for a quiet morning.

    We went to the library for a quiet morning.

    My Team INSPIRE (Beachbody team) has exploded in growth. We enrolled 25 new coaches this week totaling 239 coaches, and hit Two Star Diamond rank. I take my role as a team leader very seriously. Although I don’t interface with each person daily, I feel a pressure to offer professional development and training opportunities and I think about each and every one of my team members often. Someone’s daughter is trusting me to help them become successful and I feel the weight of this daily. I also had two calls with corporate. Although I know they have pure intentions, I don’t buy-into the fabricated ranks, point systems, and pressures they put on coaches to achieve certain milestones. I am 100% confident in my team’s approach to LEAD with our OWN brands and although I realize this will not be popular and earn me brownie points with the corporate reps, I will continue to implement my unique marketing strategies versus spammy sales tactics.

  • The hubs and I have select family members who have never been supportive or kind to us. Hearing from or about them always drums up some negative emotions for me. Or even if my kiddos are exposed to these family members without my permission I come under stress. Personally, I am committed to surrounding myself with people who support and uplift me and I will continue to live with that commitment for my kiddos as well.
  • I have a business trip this week. The schedule and details of the week are completely out of my control and I’ve heard that we will get minimal sleep (not great since I’m already sick). I will also miss a few days of work which means I will be behind when I return home. Thinking about the trip has caused a lot of stress for me even though I’m sure it will be a great business trip. I will simply trust that the coordinators have our best interests in mind and if I have to step away to get some additional rest, I will do so. The trip will be a ton of fun and I need to be OK with unplugging for a couple of days.
  • We are working on quotes for a deck, pavers, concrete and landscaping in our backyard around the pool. This will have a high price tag and anytime I spend a lot of money, I get stressed, ha. But yesterday we were able to commit to a plan and I am so excited to get the project started. I am confident that we will stay with-in budget.
  • I have a 1.5 and 3.5 year old with no family or free babysitters around to lend a helping hand – enough said.
  • Here is my rash in one location after several days.

    Here is my rash in one location after several days.

    I am obtaining quotes for fitness photo shoots and finalizing my Bikini Boot Camp workout. This is also adding stress about maintaining my flat abs by eating perfectly. However, I am committed to being a good example to Emma and always being confident and content with my fitness journey. Balance is key. Today we went to our local fair and even shared a cheeseburger without guilt.

  • I have a couple hundred team members, mentorees, and clients who are needing my attention on a daily basis. I receive about 100 notifications (texts, emails, FB messages, IG notifications) per hour. I want to respond in a thoughtful and caring way. I’ve had people in my life who directly benefit from hard work I do, who do not respond in a kind or thoughtful way to me – so I try to make up for it by being there for everyone who needs me. My phone is a constant source of stress and if I don’t leave it in the other room or turn it off completely, I cannot escape texts every minute or so. This weekend I have my phone turned OFF for most of the day. I am also considering a new business cell phone so I can keep my work and personal life separate. I try not to respond to text messages immediately because then I set an expectation that I will continue to be an “instant messenger.”  I also need to set up a better question and answer system. I tried to do this two weeks ago, but it has not been adopted, so I need to brainstorm better ways to answer clients and team members without having to always be the person responding. I think it’s time for me to delegate my email account and some social media platforms as well.
  • I still continue to meet with clients in the gym and run boot camps. Although I love meeting with clients in-person, it does not make sense financially per my cost/benefit analytics. This summer I plan to revamp my gym schedule and brainstorm ways to expand my reach without trading hours for dollars in the gym.

On Thursday when I went into the doctor and was told that I had a confirmed case of Shingles, I almost passed out. All the stress and fatigue from the week hit me like a ton of bricks. However I quickly changed my thinking, filled my prescription, and started working on a recovery plan. I my experience, recovery from any trauma, stress, or illness is greatly impacted by mindset. I’ve tried to have a very positive attitude about my Shingles recovery. Even though my rash is still spreading, it’s in a great spot. It’s on my lower back and bikini area. I got several new pairs of comfortable underwear since any thongs and underwear I owned was not working well in terms of fabric/material. I am also finding that tight-fitting workout clothes that does not move much is better than loose-fitting clothing. I know this likely sounds weird, but I prefer for my clothing not to move or irritate the rash when I’m walking.

We are doing a few activities each day to get my mind off of being sick, but also taking it easy since I’m so fatigued. Yesterday we went to the park, got some flowers at Lowes, and relaxed for much of the day. Today we went to the Library, walked around a local festival, and watched a parade. Now we are relaxing quietly all afternoon. Daddy and Emma are going on a daddy-daughter date to a baseball game tonight. So cute.

I’ve also notified several team members and clients that I am staying fairly unplugged this weekend. I put up my away message on email and plan to sleep in tomorrow, stay home from church, and finalize my online personal training clients plans in the morning while the rest of the family is at church.

Sometimes rest and recovery is the very best thing we can possibly do for our health. Even those of us who are highly productive and can handle a lot of responsibilities are susceptible to burnout. I want to be a good example to my kiddos and team members, mentorees, and clients. When a doctor tells me to avoid stress, I will do my very best to do so!

Have you dealt with Shingles at a young age? What caused your Shingles? How did you treat your outbreak?

Thank you for reading. I trust this post will help you if you ever experience Shingles. Best wishes as we all continue to work toward balance in our lives.

11 thoughts on “Can Stress Cause Shingles?

  1. Laura says:

    I too also dealt with Shingles at a young age and it was also from work stress. I will say that I am still very much trying to figure out what balance is supposed to look like, but it is easier said than done. I still get the nerve pain that comes with Shingles on occasion (which completely freaked me out in the beginning) and I view it as a reminder to slow down and evaluate why there isn’t balance in my life. Praying for a quick recovery!

  2. Alicia Schmitt says:

    Oh my goodness Amanda, I hope you’re doing better! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE you business plan with Beachbody in taking a softer shell approach. That’s what I’ve always enjoyed about this team, in doing what we love and making a living how we want to do it. You really nailed it and your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. Your motivation is inspiring and contagious! Even through a setback like this. We all look up to you, have a wonderful relaxing weekend!

  3. empowermoms says:

    GET BETTER SOON!! That is really stressful to add one more thing to your plate (being sick!). You will be in my prayers! thanks for all your support in my journey. You are a wonderful person and a great blessing to those around you!

  4. Jennifer says:
    Here is a link to some products that worked so well and took care of my shingles right away. So quickly in fact that had I not experienced it for myself I’m not sure I would have believed it. I had shingles about a month and everything the doctor gave me did nothing and they continued to get worse. Finally the doctor said this could go on for months and I was feeling really horrible and close to hopeless when A friend called and gave me the number to a man in California that started out making his own remedies and treating himself. He then began making some for friends and family and that worked so well it blossomed into a company. When I called, he told me what all I needed and shipped it overnight to me and told me to call him was I was ready to take it and he would walk me through it. So, I called him and took the stuff and he told me to call him backin about 30 minutes. Within 15 min. 80% of my pain was gone! 80%!! It was crazy, so crazy in fact that I risk looking like a lunatic when I tell others about it. But it really works. I had lost about half of my hearing because it had formed on my neck and went into my ear, but I could have lost more if I had not taken it. I really recommend calling the company and asking any questions about the products that you are interested in and they can tell you so much more about them than I can. He had also recommended a spray to put on the spots and I ordered that too, but don’t remember what it was called. With in 3 days all the pain was gone, it took a while for the rash/welts to go away, and my hearing loss did not get any worse, which was awesome. I was really scared I was going to lose my hearing completely. Anyway, best of luck, and I wish you a speedy recovery however you choose to treat your symptoms. Also, I am not affiliated with their company, in any way shape or form!

  5. Amanda Remlinger says:

    Oh man I’m so sorry. I just witnessed my hubby deal with Shingles. He had it back in Jan/Feb then recovered really quickly. He was totally fine up until this week he had a big mountain bike race to do. The Shingles nerve pain came back during the race and he had to pull out. I think he was stressed. It’s too bad because we thought this was all over but perhaps we were wrong. Please take care of yourself and slow down or relax. I have even heard it can be a really long time for that nerve pain to go away.

  6. Heather says:

    I can truly sympathize with you! I am 50 and have had shingles 4 times! My first time was in my mid 20s. I was a nurse. It started as a quarter size area on my back with little red bumps. I too thought something had bitten me. The other times I was 48, 49 and now 50. Yes, I’ve had it 3 times in the past 2 years. Time 2 was when we had just moved back to the US from Europe, a huge move which I did by myself while my husband still worked overseas. A year ago, I had an outbreak on my leg, right side like the others. I took Valtrex and Lyrica which is FDA approves to prevent pain after shingles. Now I have my worst case which is on my right thigh, buttocks and inner thigh. I started meds right away but it got worse. Six days of meds and it’s improving. I have been completely stressed out and I am sure that contributed. Now I’m wondering if this is going to be a frequent problem and if getting the vaccine would help. I, like you, have my own medical practice and am a health coach also Mom of 4 and a lot of people depending on me. My job never ends. How does one keep balance and decrease stress. I try but it obviously isn’t working. I hope you never have it again. Best wishes to you!

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