Assess your stress levels and take control. By Dawn Chen
Do a stress test and don’t burn out! Photo: Lorelyn Medina / www.123rf.com
Given how fast-paced society is, stress has become a given. From looming deadlines to relationship issues, it’s normal for everyone to face a fair amount of stress in our daily lives. But just how much stress is too much? Take a step back and make sure you don’t reach the breaking point by performing this DIY stress test by Watsons’ senior pharmacist Emelyn Wong – it takes just five minutes and can be done anywhere!
1. Examine your personal relationships
Poor or strained relationships with family members, colleagues or friends are often key contributing factors to stress. Do a quick assessment of your relationships – has there been more tension than usual?
2. Determine if your usual sleep patterns have changed
Have you been sleeping more or less than usual? Stress is commonly accompanied by insomnia as worrying or thinking too much keeps you up and prevents restful sleep at night. But do note that for some people, stressful situations can also lead to sleeping more than usual!
3. Observe if you have difficulty controlling your emotions
If the slightest provocation – that is otherwise manageable under normal circumstances – leads to an angry outburst, it is very likely that your stress levels are getting out of control. Erratic mood swings may be another sign that you’re not handling stress well too.
4. Check for the following telltale signs of uncontrolled stress
If any of the below conditions sound familiar to you, you might be having difficulty coping with the stressors in your life.
•Emotional imbalances such as moodiness, short temper, agitation or depression.
•Physical symptoms such as pain, diarrhoea, constipation, nausea or heart palpitations.
•Poor concentration, memory problems or constant worrying.
•Behavioural changes in eating and sleeping patterns and abusive behaviour like smoking and drinking, social isolation, nail biting and hair pulling.
You can also take online stress tests, such as the one at www.stress.org.uk. It was created by Stress Management Society, a non-profit organisation based in the UK that is dedicated to helping people cope with stress.