Managing Stress: A Woman’s Perspective7 min read

Managing Stress

A Competitive World:

We live in a competitive world that leads to stress. You have to compete in school, to do your best to get into a better University. Then you have to compete for your dream job. If you think you arrived, then you are wrong. With work comes pressure and more struggle, with now also with managing work-life balance. Whether one likes it or not, I believe women work twice as hard as men in many aspects of life, be it professional or personal. What is your motivation to success?

Women wear multiple hats, and to juggle them successfully is an acquired skill, being daughters, mothers, professionals, managers, homemakers, dreamers, achievers. You want to be seen as strong and confident in all that you do. It comes with a cost. It will cost you anxiety for sure and can also cost your health. It dents your self-esteem. Soon resentment sets in, and stress becomes a habit, an accepted way of life. What you need is to learn to step back, pause and introspect. It would help if you gave yourself the time and much earned self-validation to feel confident, which usually takes a beating as you navigate these multiple roles in life; more is stress than in choice.

How do you Identify the Problem?

So how do you identify the problem when it has become a background default and unconscious habit? You have been conditioned over generations with an image of how women should be. When you are young, your mothers unconsciously feed to your image as someone who must not argue, fight, or talk too loud. You grow up accepting a lot of ‘inequality’ or have to work hard and fight against such ‘norms.’ Men have different qualities than women, both important and useful.

As a motivation and wellness coach, I have seen times over and believe, you bring your unique attributes to this world, your society, your family. You can be better nurturers, being emotionally stronger. You are more focused and better managers than men, with greater attention to detail. You need to believe in you and your yet to blossom abilities. Being aware of and focusing on your unique strength rather than complaining or resenting is a significant first step to a confident you.

How to change the Attitude?

What will help you in your quest to be the ‘ideal woman, be seen as an achiever, and follow your big dream? Does multitasking bring overwhelm instead of effectiveness?  Can you change the male-dominated trend in this world by being aggressive or by complaining? Maybe you are devoting more time to your family, your children, much more than your spouse, perhaps. Are you giving any time, value, and self-love for yourself? Are you unwittingly putting yourself in constant stress?

Where is the Balance?

As a woman, you constantly struggle with work-life balance, to give your best to the different roles. You often think you can handle the children better and allow the strain of child-rearing to rest more on your shoulders. You also do not expect, let alone ask for help in household responsibilities. To be seen as equally efficient in the office, you take in more work, more working hours perhaps. If there is physical or emotional abuse, you sometimes accept it due to a lack of better options. If you choose to fight, you can be termed aggressive. Where is the balance? By the way, work-Life balance is not just a woman’s issue, as seen from the research in this article:

How do you cope with this Overwhelm?

How do you cope with all this stress and overwhelm? You cope with stress by procrastination, denial, or ignoring the problem at hand, playing the blame game. ‘My maid is always late and irresponsible; my office staff never gives the report on time, why can’t my children be more responsible… The list is endless. You often go into denial mode. Or you use the escape mode. While smoking and drinking within limits may not be harmful, it can give short-lived results, increasing addictive dependency as an escape from stress.

Stress shows up in your Body:

Your body needs the rest when the symptoms are shouting out there. It could be the aches and pains which doctors have no remedy for; it could help with some gyne issues or just that niggling headache. How many times are you in denial when there is a physical or emotional abuse? You might want to ignore and wish the problem away, as you have no time or energy to deal with them now. Yes, it takes courage. I know from my personal experience and struggle with realizing the problem. It took me time to accept there is a problem in the first place, especially when my body could take it no more and effected by mental wellbeing.  It takes courage to say ‘No.’  and make the effort to change. Yes, there is fear. But everything you want is often on the other side of fear.

All the Solutions are within You:

Now that you recognize the problems and pitfalls, you want to change your attitude, create new habits. But you do not know how to bring about this change. Often all it takes is to physically take the step back, take a deep breath, breathing out slowly. Sounds easy yet powerfully effective. These few seconds are enough to allow your brain to move from its default 24/7 ‘stress’ mode to a ‘creative’ window. When I first reading on this research, I thought to myself, how can it be that easy? We like complex solutions and think only those work. This in nothing but a misapprehension.

I started practicing some breathing techniques, slowing down my breath when I am at it. I soon noticed, when I was stressed, I could bring myself to slow down my breath and this in-turn made my mind calmer, allowing me to handle that stress. My health started to improve, and I felt lighter, with more energy and enthusiasm. All the solutions are within you, right there inside the creative side of your brain. This stepping back and observing ourselves helps.

Other Tools:

What other tools help you access your creative side, other than a few slow breaths? If you want to give your best in all the multiple roles, you first need to provide yourself with ‘Me Time and Me Space.’ If you don’t pace yourself, take a pause, validate yourself, celebrate your small success, give yourself self-love, how can you add value to others, be it in your personal or professional life? Take time out for coffee-breaks with friends, a movie perhaps. It is an excellent platform to share, even bitch a little and laughing your heads off. 

Learn to let-go, to forgive. Forgiveness is only complete when you forgive and forget. It lets the enormous burden off your shoulder. Empathy helps one look at issues from another perspective while not necessarily agreeing with it. Try to understand a colleague’s problems, sometimes beyond work. It will lead to healthy conversations, even if it is a difficult one. Looking for and focusing on even the slightest positive aspect in your spouse and your children and appreciating them is a significant step toward building that solid trust. All these steps help define your boundary better and make it easier to say ‘No’ and be assertive and confident. It boosts your self-esteem and self-worth.

Practice makes New Habits stay:

The more you practice these mindfulness exercises, the more you will access your creative brain and find that perfect balance. It helps you choose, from resentment and stress to happiness and excitement, seeking opportunities in challenges. It allows you to blossom into a strong, confident woman with abundant energy. It enables you to manage your stress and work-life balance, be in choice, and be happy. You can share the happiness while nurturing others and be present for others without compromising you in the bargain.

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The is Coachgeeta signing off…


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