Do You Pass the Holiday Stress Test? – By Dr. Julie Durnan ND

Yes, it’s true that the Holidays are considered to be the most wonderful time of the year.  But for many, they can also be the most stressful time of year.  Instead of putting your health on the back burner right now, I invite you to take a moment to check-in and see how you’re doing.  The following Naturopathic Stress Assessment can be completed in just 5 minutes.  Answer true or false to the statements below and calculate your total score at the end.  The higher the score, the more likely that stress is adding up for you and taking a toll on your overall health.

  • I often feel dizzy, faint, sleepy, or foggy
  • After getting up from a seated position, bending down, or getting out of bed, I often feel light headed or dizzy
  • I have dark circles under my eyes
  • I catch colds or other infections (lung or sinus infections, cold sores, yeast infections, bladder infections) easily and often
  • I’m gaining weight around my mid section
  • I am forgetting appointments, deadlines frequently
  • My nails are brittle and weak, my hair is dry and thinning and/or my skin seems to be aging too quickly
  • I feel exhausted, tired, run down, drained, or simply out of juice emotionally or physically
  • I am working harder, but accomplishing less
  • I often have trouble waking in the morning even though I seem to get enough sleep
  • I’m often tired after exercise, rather than energized
  • I have developed allergies, hay fever, asthma or skin rashes over the last few years
  • My body temperature seems off balance. My hands and feet feel cold and my face feels warm even though I’m not sick
  • I drink more than one cup of coffee, caffeinated drink or cola everyday and need it to keep up with the pace of my life
  • I have strong cravings for sweet or salty foods
  • I feel overwhelmed or stressed by work, family and social responsibilities
  • I’m often irritable, impatient or pessimistic
  • I am experiencing more physical complaints, aches, pains, or headaches
  • In my free time I’m too tired to do anything that involves leaving the house
  • I rarely take pleasure in many of the things I used to enjoy

Scores:
0-8: You’re probably just having a tough week.  After the Holidays, take this test again and see how you score.  For now, please be gentle on yourself.  Eat healthful food, get some rest, and ensure you’re sleeping 8 to 9 hours per night.
9-13: Stress is beginning to take a toll on your health. You need to be careful that you don’t burn out.  Begin by saying no to some of life’s demands and consider making some positive changes, such as improving your diet, resting often, ensure you are breathing properly (through your diaphragm and not your chest), and taking some additional supplements (B complex vitamins) or herbs (Astragalus or Ashwagandha are just two of the many options I recommend at this stage) at this time.
14-20: You are more than likely experiencing adrenal fatigue. When the adrenals become exhausted, this can lead to a more serious illness. Please consult with your naturopathic physician to be fully assessed and discuss treatment options.

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