Stress: Symptoms and Strategies – A Woman’s Point of View6 min read

Stress - Symptoms and Strategies - A Woman's Perspective

Stress and Chaotic Work Life

At some point in time, you would all have felt the pressure of an upcoming office deadline after an already chaotic day. Teamwork is challenged further with work-from-home and the resultant break in effective communication with your colleagues. The blurred and stretchable work time does not make it any easy. A little pressure is normal, but if it persists, it can wreak havoc psychologically and physiologically. I say this because one takes stress for granted, becoming a good habit. The result, however, affects your physical health and mental wellness. Your body does give signals which you often tend to ignore, again because of habit.

Owing to the excessive pressure and demands you bring on yourself, stress and mental fatigue have become a growing concern in organizations today. How do you define extreme pressure? How do you handle stress? Have you noticed your body crying for help sometimes? Can you relate it to stress?

Stress is Not Always Negative

Stress can also bring out the best in you. It helps you be alert and achieve in life. However, in most cases, when you think you cannot control stress at work and home, it eventually leads to lifestyle diseases. Some lifestyle diseases are elevated blood pressure, cardiovascular issues, sleep disorder, and maybe niggling problems like prolonged headaches for no apparent reason. It can even impair cognitive ability, affecting your overall efficiency.

Anyone who’s worked themselves to the point of burnout will relate to these symptoms, as I did at one point. I was getting headaches lasting for two to three days, my blood pressure was high, and my digestive system went for a full toss. But I was in denial. How can this happen to me, being a super achiever, organized, calm, and focused at work? Do you see the irony? I couldn’t connect nor listen to my body.

Lifestyle Diseases

When you live 24/7 in stress, it starts eating into your physical health and body and affects your mental health. Let me introduce you to some lifestyle diseases. It starts right from unhealthy eating habits. Maybe sugar or caffeine abuse. You can see a possible weight gain. You may suffer from PCOD and other period-related issues. Early signs of diabetes, uncontrolled blood pressure, heart issues, migraine, common cold, aches and pains, fatigue, sleep disorder, lack of enthusiasm, digestive problems, food intolerances, thyroid issues, and autoimmune diseases like Arthritis and Cancer, to state a few. The good news is they are reversible, subject to how you handle stress. I have the following website to further validate the claim and for your reading pleasure.

Women Work Twice as Hard

It may be debatable, but I believe women have to work twice as hard as men in several aspects of life, ranging from personal to professional, to sustain themselves in a world full of competition and stress. Women wear multiple hats and have to acquire the skill to juggle them successfully. You want to be seen as strong and confident but often undervalue yourself, costing your self-esteem. It can lead to resentment and a sense of helplessness.

Step Back, and Magic Happens

Once you learn to step back, pause and introspect, magic happens. Women adopt certain behaviours due to conditioning over generations. When you were young, your mothers unconsciously led you to believe that you must maintain a demure image and not argue, fight or talk too loud. Some types of jobs were not considered a good fit. You grow up accepting many ‘inequalities’ or have to work hard and fight against such ‘norms.’

Using Your Unique Strength

Although men have different qualities than women, both important and useful, you bring your unique attributes to work, to this world, society, and your family. Learn to focus on and use your strengths and accept what is not yours.

You can be fantastic nurturers, being emotionally stronger. You are likely to have better focus and attention to detail, an excellent manager skill to possess. It helps to be aware, accept, and focus on your uniqueness and derive your strength rather than complain or live in resentment.

How to Live the Change

Now that you recognize the problems and pitfalls, you want to change. But the how part is challenging. Often, all it takes is physically taking a step back, inhaling a deep breath, and exhaling it out slowly. Sounds easy, yet it is potent. These few seconds are enough to allow your brain to move from its default 24/7 ‘stress’ mode to open a ‘creative’ window. All the solutions are within you, right there in the creative side of your brain. This method of stepping back and observing yourself is a practical first step.

What Other Tools Help Access Your Creative Side?

You will need to slow down at times. Slow down the pace of your talk, the speed of your walk. Slow down and give yourself some ‘Me Time and Me Space’ once in a while. Acknowledge your effort now and then. If you don’t pace yourself, take a pause, validate yourselves, how can you add value to others, be it in your personal or professional life?

Friends add significant value to your life. Share your feelings not only with your spouse, share with your friends as well.  You can even bitch a little and laugh our heads off.  Like I always say, learn to let go, to forgive. Forgiveness is only complete when you forgive and forget. It allows the enormous burden off our shoulders.

Looking for Positive Aspects

Looking for and focusing on even the slightest positive aspect in your spouse, your children and appreciating them is also a great team-building tool, a step forward to building that solid trust. All these steps help in your confidence building, define your boundary better, and make it easier to say ‘No’ when needed. It boosts your self-esteem, your image, and self-worth. Since stress is not going to disappear, it helps you handle stress with ease.

The more you exercise these mindfulness practices, 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.  As a result, you blossom into a strong, confident woman with abundant energy, sharing that happiness while nurturing others while you find success in whatever you seek. Coming back to lifestyle diseases, it is at this point reversal starts to happen, towards a healthy body and healthy mind.

I recommend the simple stress-buster activities in my 5 Daily Exercises for Women guide available on the resources page on my website. Visit the link to download it for free now!

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