Recently I took an online stress test and according to my test results I am in a Stress Danger Zone!
My actual results read:
Your score is = 16
Scores of 13-17 Danger Zone. Watch out!
I believe these results without a shadow of a doubt, even though the simple online stress test does say: This test is not meant to replace a clinical assessment but to help you judge how you are doing. If you score as stressed you may need to seek help.
I am pretty sure I won’t be seeking any help, but I do know that the last few months have been extremely stressful for me and that as soon as I get the opportunity I am going to get some serious R&R; hopefully by way of a day at the salon including a manicure and a pedicure, some shopping for myself only and lots of time spent in my favorite faded PJs watching movies, movies, movies!
The life of a Superwoman (mother, student, employee) is filled with stressful moments behind every door and lurking in every shadow and comes with many ups and down that I have somehow gotten accustomed to. Even though I may have gotten accustomed to the routine, the stress does take a toll on me from time to time…hence the test result of danger zone. But you can imagine how stressful one’s life can become when you spend half of your day in your car dropping off and picking up children, much of that time is spent disciplining children who seem to enjoy high noise levels especially when you just want to hear your favorite song on the radio. Then there are the 7.5 hours spent at work trying not to go insane. Then there is that place called home where occasionally there is peace and quiet…with that occasion being sparse and far in between. For the most part-time at home is spent cleaning, cooking, washing, spanking, yelling and sleeping. Sounds like loads of fun doesn’t it? lol
As I began to edge towards the BIG 3-0 I began to take my health much more seriously. Coming from a family with a high rate of hypertension (also known as high blood pressure) and diabetes I knew that if I didn’t eat right and care for my body I had a great chance of following in the footsteps of many of my family members who suffer from either hypertension or diabetes. My family genetics along with the fact that high blood pressure is much more rampant in African Americans helped me to make the decision early on that I did not want my health affected by either of the two. However when I generally thought of both illnesses my thought path always lead to the best way of avoiding these illnesses was eating healthy and exercising. For the most part I never considered my emotional well-being a risk factor for either.
But according to a study from Duke University, obesity is not the only risk factor for developing Type 2 Diabetes. Stress can play a major role in elevated blood sugar levels. This means that people with high levels of stress have a greater risk of developing diabetes if they are overweight.
Diabetes and Hypertension are not the only illnesses that stress can be a factor of or contributor to. There are many illnesses that cannot be directly linked to be caused by stress but are believed to be stress related such as: Insomnia, or difficulty sleeping, eating disorders, anxiety, depression and Gastrointestinal problems, such as heart-burn, stomach pain, and diarrhea.
One of the key things to do to keep your stress at bay is to know what your stressors are. Stressors are the things that cause your stress and some of the most common stressors are finances, time limitations, relationship issues and weight issues.
Personally I know that finances and my work environment are major stressors for me. With the holiday season vastly approaching I know that anxiety due to spending money is a major stressor for me right now and most likely contributed to my high stress test result.
Since I have identified the things that I know stress me out I can now take the steps to managing my stress. Since stress is something that everybody has to deal with at some point in their lives, we have to learn to manage it instead of trying to trick ourselves into believing that we are capable of eliminating all of our stress forever.
So this holiday season I plan to kick back and enjoy my vacation days. I will spend quality time with my family and enjoy the food and festivities. The Christmas Season is my favorite time of year and I will not allow stress to take away from the enjoyment of the holidays!
More information on stress and stress management
Stress Management from the Mayo Clinic
WebMD – Stress Management
Managing Your Stress in Tough Economical Times from The American Psychological Association