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Women and stress

Women and stress
Is there any circumstance, which threatens or is perceived to threaten one’s <g data-gr-id="74">well being</g> and thereby tax one’s abilities? Well yes, there is and it’s called “stress”. 

With the world progressing at a fast pace, everyone is in a hurry and are competing hard to win the rat race of their lives. It won’t be wrong to say that all are caught in a rat trap. We all are after something and we keep on chasing that until and unless we acquire it but have we ever given this a thought that something might be chasing us too? Have we?

There is <g data-gr-id="98">scramble</g> for more and more. Money, power and wealth have become symbols of success and happiness. When under stress, one is like a car in the neutral gear with the accelerator on, trying to exert internally, but unable to do so. We all have a certain physical and mental capacity for work and endurance. Stress can also get triggered when we are made to do or endure, beyond our capability either physically or mentally. According to <g data-gr-id="91">Anjula</g> Pandey, <g data-gr-id="92">principle</g> scientist, National Bureau of Genetic Resources, Pusa Institute, New Delhi, “One needs to assess their capabilities and should not <g data-gr-id="93">over burden</g> themselves. Time management and prioritisation are the key factors in leading a <g data-gr-id="97">stress free</g> personal as well as professional life.”

When we talk about stress with special reference to women, we put an emphasis on a varied section of women like city women, village women, tribal women, students, office goers or housewives. Not a single section is devoid of the phenomena called stress. Though it might vary in intensity depending upon the work, habitat and lifestyle quotient. They undergo stress because they are more worried about their education, career or business. Shivani Kashyap, a DU graduate in Psychology Honours, who had been a topper in her 2nd year said: “We as students somehow are forgetting to live our lives due to the pressures of studies, which according to me isn’t justified. I believe in maintaining a balance between both my studies and free time activities, which help in de-stressing and calming the exam fears.” She further added: “My mantra for de-stressing is to watch some comedy shows and have a good laugh.” 

Some people might believe that it is easy for women who are homemakers as they just have to manage one side of the coin that is housework, but to manage household pressures along with 
handling the tantrums and responsibilities of their husband and kids, is a no child’s play. Sonali Sen, a housewife and a mother of a <g data-gr-id="87">three year old</g> says: “You cannot take things for granted and leave them for later as along with a wife, I’m a mother too and so I need to take care of my husband, my kid as well as perform my household duties and not completely depend on a housemaid. It is very important to follow a certain routine in life.”

Women, nowadays, go to great lengths to achieve their goals and emerge successful in their respective fields. They no longer want to be subdued. It is not only  important to address the cause of “bridging the gender divide” or the end of <g data-gr-id="99">age old</g> suppositions attached with women but also to give an opportunity to women to take chances  and break-free from their cocoons(inhibitions) and emerge as beautiful butterflies and explore the world, which is as much as of theirs as of the others. And what do we need to do to achieve this? <g data-gr-id="89">Well</g> we are just a few steps away from achieving this and the hindrance is none other than ‘stress’.

Richa Jain, a high school teacher, says: “ Students suffer from constant fatigue and lack of concentration. Along with parents, we too need to help students to remain unburdened of studies and teach them to successfully manage their curriculum and extra-curriculum. So as teachers, we have to keep our stress related problems in check as many futures depend on us.” We cannot stop the body from functioning in the way it triggers stress, but we can certainly restrain it from becoming a problem for itself. The simple and easy to do stress busters; suggested by Dr. Machelle (Mache)  Seibel, one of America’s leading health experts on women’s health and menopause, addressing stress and weight control issues to menopause symptoms and beyond; are: Exercise–releases stress and increases <g data-gr-id="100">feel good</g> endorphin hormones; Yoga–slow deep breathing, stretching and focusing are all stress busters; Meditation–slow, deep thought with positive affirmations are terrific; Laughter–releases endorphins and is equivalent to exercise; Prayer–increases happiness and a way to relieve stress; Socialise–spending relaxing time with others is a great stress buster; Bio-feedback–you can actually learn to control your vital signs; Stay positive–positive emotions diminish the perception of pain; Cognitive Behavior Therapy–retrain negative thoughts to manage stress; Sleep–if you do nothing else, getting enough sleep will reduce stress. 

“Yoga and meditation help to de-stress in a huge way and they do not take much of your time. It not only calms us but also generates positive energy into <g data-gr-id="84">us.</g>”, says Anita, a behaviour counsellor.
“Taking good care of your health is of prime importance at all times. Your slogan should be: I shall stay healthy. Your diet should be balanced and nutritious. Take some time out for exercising and relaxing after workout”, believes <g data-gr-id="94">Toolika</g> Wadhwa, Assistant Professor, Education, Delhi University.” She, who is a mental health professional as well, says, “At times I take some time out for myself from my busy schedule and I do some activities like experimental cooking, art or reading to relax my tired mind and fatigued body. Alcohol, cigarettes and drugs create an illusion of relaxation but in reality they only suppress and thereby increase stress. Escapism does not help. Shift your focus from <g data-gr-id="95">problem</g> to solutions and do not depend on others for your happiness.” 

The more we keep progressing in our lives, the more is the work pressure, added responsibilities as well as household duties. We cannot back away from them but need to deal with them to our best of abilities and emerge <g data-gr-id="82">victorious</g>. Stress, <g data-gr-id="144">an unavoidable phenomena</g>, always creeps in and tends to hinder <g data-gr-id="143">with </g>our progress and most importantly disturbs our peace of mind. We need to <g data-gr-id="142">prioritide</g> the agendas of our lives without being subjugated. 
Sonali Mitra

Sonali Mitra

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