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QUIZ: Are Your Xmas Season Stress Levels Surging?

11/10/2009

Are Your Seasonal Stress Levels Surging?

Let me help you regain control by Christmas!

Most of us know our stress levels increase as Christmas draws near. Snap at your loved ones - you bet! Bite the heads off colleagues - guilty too! As we get more frantic trying to get stress under control goes straight out the window. Monitor your stress level now to make sure you don't end up as stressy as Scrooge.

Take my quick quiz to solve your seasonal stress:

1/ Are you experiencing more sleeplessness then you might usually?

A/yes, practically an insomniac

B/yes, some sleep disturbance

C/not very much, not at all

2/ Are you finding it hard to resist snacking or comfort eating?

A/yes, I'm putting on the pounds

B/sometimes I'm turning to the biscuit tin

C/not really

3/ Have you had any panicky feelings, perhaps that have come out of the blue?

A/yes, I often feel panicked

B/occasionally I feel panic stricken

C/I don't really feel panicked

4/ How worried are you about your seasonal spending?

A/very - I'm well over budget

B/ I'm increasingly concerned about my budget

C/not worried -I'm pretty much on budget

 

5/Generally speaking how would you describe your temper at present?

A/ extremely short tempered

B/somewhat bad tempered

C/the same as usual

6/Compared to your average intake are you drinking more alcohol right now?

A/yes definitely

B/sometimes

C/not really

7/Do you feel fearful/worried about the family/relations getting together over Christmas?

A/I'm very worried about rows and family meltdowns

B/I'm quite worried about family/relations

C/no I'm not really worried about rows

8/ Are you taking things out on your nearest and dearest right now?

A/ yes I've been awful to him/them

B/sometimes they feel my stress

C/I hope not

9/Do you have any time for yourself right now?

A/I barely have time to breathe

B/not enough time

C/just about enough time

10/ How many things are getting left to the last minute like shopping, wrapping, planning, cards, decorations, outfits, etc.?

A/far too many things hadn't been done yet

B/a few things have been left

C/I'm pretty much on schedule

Mostly As = SOARING SEASONAL STRESS

If you're in a relationship you're likely to become one of the January breakup statistics. Even if you're not in a relationship this is not a healthy way to conduct your life particularly at this time of year. First I’d like you to look at the "payoffs" you get from your stress. There must be something keeping you hooked in your stressy style - maybe it gives you an excuse to let rip loved ones when you're actually angry about something else. Or maybe you quite like playing the role of stressed-out Martyr to get attention! Think through and try these:

  • Look after your relationship - book in a couple of dates where you focus on each other – not Christmas. Discuss now how you two can split responsibilities. Agree things you can both say No to - like the neighbours' drink party when you'd rather have time with each other. Be fair when it comes to dividing time between the respective families.
  • Look after yourself -put in your diary some regular exercise and relaxation breaks as if they were business appointments. Ensure your energy levels by eating well. Make a vast portion of hearty soup and freeze into serving sizes. Then microwave portions as a nourishing snack.
  • Prioritise - are there things you could give up that take your time and cause you stress? Perhaps you say Yes to too many functions or give up too much of your time in other ways. Be ruthless about protecting your stress levels. This isn't being selfish - it's about looking after yourself so that you can give your time and love to the people that count - your family and friends. Making two lists - a must-do "A list" and less important "B list" helps. 
  • Keep things simple when it comes to entertaining friends and family. You don't have to put on a massive spread. Spending time together is what counts. If you're happy and relaxed it doesn't matter if you serve mini sausages on sticks!
  • Become a delegator - think about family members as individuals with unique skills that can help you. Enlist them with planning, shopping and cooking for the Christmas dinner and seasonal chores. Write down who's agreed to do what  if everyone knows their jobs it'll save arguing.

Mostly Bs = SOME SEASONAL STRESS

You’re managing to keep things just in control but that's not good enough. Because you're likely to spin out of control when your half-hearted coping mechanisms fail you - which they will at some point! So that you don't jeopardise your happiness, or the happiness of those around you, decrease your levels of seasonal stress by using the advice above.

Mostly Cs = SLIGHT SEASONAL STRESS

Look at you – you’re a rare one! With only slight stress you could become positively serene. Why not check out the advice above and apply any that’s relevant to enhancing your already enviably low, seasonal stress levels.

Published in The Express Newspaper