Issues and Challenges

Equip Yourself to Beat Stress

Stress is our body’s response when we feel overwhelmed or are unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure. According to Health and Safety Executive (HSE), females between the ages of 35 and 54 are likely to have higher stress levels than their male counterparts. All of us experience stress from time to time. However, some women are more impacted by stress than others. If left untreated, stress can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, etc.
Workplace stress is common in working women. Women have made their place in all facets of life but unfortunately, they have yet to accomplish a smooth transition in sharing of responsibility for some of the more traditional roles. So while women might excel at work, they will usually pile the pressure on at home. As women we often ignore stress because we are too busy and are unable to slow down.
If you feel anxious, angry, sad, irritated, frustrated or depressed, you may be stressed. Stress causes long-lasting changes like eating habits, headaches, nausea, indigestion, shallow breathing or hyperventilating, sweating, heart palpitation and aches and pains.
Remember, that you can always manage stress by actively taking care of yourself and making some lifestyle changes. Here are some techniques that may help you manage stress at home.
Recognizing the Symptoms
In order to deal with any problem or issue it is important that you acknowledge that you have a problem. It is significant to connect the physical and emotional symptoms you are experiencing. After recognizing that you are stressed out, think about what is causing the problem and look for a realistic solution. Remember that you cannot take control of the situation all at once so stay patient and be positive. Positive self-talk and an optimistic view of things can help manage your emotions better. Positive thinking can help reduce stress levels and improve overall wellbeing and outlook.
Individuals suffering from stress may experience   warning signs, which manifest in form of physical, physiological or behavioral symptoms, including, low energy, feeling numb, headaches, increased BP, high cholesterol, sweating, loss of appetite, ulcers, feeling helplessness or hopelessness, experiencing severe mood swings, paranoia, grief or self-doubt, insomnia, losing temper, and inability to perform daily tasks.

What Can You Do?
Lifestyle Changes
You may need to prioritize and reorganize what is important in life. As working women, we often find it difficult to strike a balance between work and home. Remember that perfection does not exist. Forgive yourself for not being perfect! Whether you’re a working woman or a housewife, take time to relax and practice self-care. It is vital to strike a balance between responsibility to others and responsibility to yourself. Always look for things/relationships that are positive and make you feel happy. Sometimes, the best way to reduce stress is by getting rid of toxic things/relationships. Watching the news or being glued to smart phones may add more stress.
Every individual comes with their own understanding of life and deals with stress accordingly, depending on their intellectual ability, knowledge and personality. Following strategies may help manage stress:
•    Communicate more
•    Spend more time with friends and family
•    Get a pet or find a hobby
•    Distract your mind with things that bring you joy
Focus on Relationships that Matter
Find close friends or family who can help you in managing stress. Expand your social network and focus on things that make you happy. Activities like volunteering are mood boosters and they can help you find peace. Remember that happiness begins from the moment you do something for others. People who are supportive and positive are the key to managing stress!
Beat Stress with Physical Activity
Physical exercise, yoga or meditation can help manage stress by producing endorphins that can boost our mood. Remember to engage in 15-20 minutes of any physical activity three times a week.
Deep breathing is another approach that may help reduce stress. Breathe in through your nose and let your belly fill with air. After 5 to 10 seconds breathe out slowly through your nose. Repeat 3 to 5 times!
Balanced Diet
A healthy and balanced diet is essential to reduce the negative effects of stress. Getting enough nutrients (including essential vitamins and minerals) and water can improve your physical and mental wellbeing. Avoid skipping meals! Skipping meals can make stress-related symptoms worse.
Sleep 7 to 8 Hours at Night
Stress is known to influence the quality and duration of our sleep. Lack of sleep can have a severe impact on physical and mental wellbeing. Experts recommend that a good night's sleep enables us to tackle the day's stress better. Most adults require 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. To improve your sleep cycle, reduce the amount of caffeine you consume and avoid too much screen time before bed.
Accept Change
Resisting change will cause discomfort. Embracing it will help you cope with challenges. Don’t dwell in the past or overthink about the future. Remember that life is fluid, nothing is static. You cannot prevent change, so it’s best to accept that everything alters as time passes.
Be Grateful
Studies show that people who are grateful for the little things in life tend to enjoy better mental health, lower stress and a better quality of life.
Try Behavioural Modification Techniques
Behavioural modification refers increasing or decreasing a specific habit, behaviour or reaction. The term may sound unusual but it is used frequently. For example, parents use behavioural modification to teach their children right from wrong and therapists use it to promote healthy behaviours in their patients. The aim of behavioural modification is not to understand why or how a particular habit started. Instead, it only focuses on changing the habit. Some behavioural modification methods to reduce stress are:
•    Positive thinking
•    Breathing exercises when you feel stressed
•    Sound therapy
Get Professional Help
If these steps do not help and you continue to feel overwhelmed, do not be afraid to seek professional help. It is vital to get help as soon as possible. Seek advice from a close friend, relative or a doctor. HH


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