Take the SELF Stress Test

1. Are you stressing hard-core?

A crazy day at the office can cause production of the hormone cortisol to skyrocket, says SELF contributing expert Catherine Birndorf, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. “Once whatever’s stressing you out is over, cortisol levels go back to normal, but that drop leaves you feeling fried.” Think of this question as your general jumping-off point.

2. Is your pee the color of a tangerine?

Unappetizing, but true: Urine should be pale yellow; any darker means you’re dehydrated. Even mild dehydration can make you feel wiped and less able to focus, research in The Journal of Nutrition finds. As for what you sip, it doesn’t have to be water.  Any liquid, even coffee or alcohol, counts. (Though too much spiked stuff won’t exactly keep you on your toes.)

3. Do you regularly sleep through your alarm?

If you and the snooze button are besties, you’re not sleeping enough. Docs recommend seven to nine hours of shut-eye a night, but everyone’s different. You’ll know you’ve found your Z spot when you can rise and shine without alarm assistance. Particularly tired? Sitting quietly (no tech distractions!) or napping for 90 minutes can help your brain process new info, a Vision Research study finds.

4. Have you been sitting at a desk all day?

Understandable! But it could help explain why you’re so weary. Before you caffeinate (again), try this: Get up and go for a stroll, even if it’s just to grab lunch or run errands. Moving for as little as 20 minutes a day can increase energy levels by 20 percent, research shows.

5. Is your BFF getting married?

We know you’re psyched for her, but maybe you’re also just the teensiest bit jealous? Those negative vibes can slow you down, and pretending you’re totally happy when you’re not zaps your mojo, big time. Admit to yourself how you’re feeling. Then smile. Literally. The physical act of grinning tricks your brain into thinking you’re more upbeat, which makes you feel peppier.



Finally, there is a perfect weight loss plan for your personality. SELF's Lose 8 pounds program let’s you choose between a bootcamp trainer and yoga guru who lead you through the slim-down, shape up plan in just four weeks. (Plus, the nutritionist-approved recipes are delicious! No cooking skills required.) The payoff: you’ll erase 8. It’s easy!


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