The modern woman of today experiences immense stress, as a consequence of the society’s overarching expectations as well as ever-increasing personal and professional responsibilities. Stress is a physical and emotional response that most people experience on encountering life events. It is quite normal but constant pressure and unrealistic expectations can prolong stress, thereby leading to a range of health issues. So, try to maintain work-life balance.
According to Emcure’s Indian Women’s Health Report 2021 that surveyed 1000 working women aged between 25 to 55 years across 7 cities in white-collar roles, the stress related to professional and personal pressures (71 percent) is the leading cause of health issues for working women.
As per the report, 90 percent of respondents confirmed that they have faced a conflict of interest between balancing family/ personal obligations and professional obligations. On the other hand, 50 percent of respondents affirmed that women are subjected to pressure associated with prioritising family over work, marriage pressures and not paying attention to their child/ children.
Does stress lead to health issues?
Under stress, the body releases a hormone called cortisol which temporarily increases the production of energy, but at the cost of other important body mechanisms like digestion and the immune system. If this response is prolonged, it can lead to health problems in women.
Not having a work-life balance can lead to these health concerns:
Irregular periods: Stress can disrupt the hormone balance of the body, which causes missed or irregular periods.
Hair loss: Emotional and psychological stressful responses can contribute to hair loss by disrupting the life cycle of the hair.
Poor digestion: Stress can increase the production of stomach acid, which leads to indigestion. Prolonged overproduction of stomach acid can lead to the development of ulcer.
Depression: Elevated levels of cortisol can act as a trigger for depression.
Weight gain: High levels of cortisol decreases the metabolism, which leads to weight gain.
Decreased fertility: Women with high levels of alpha-amylase, an enzyme-linked to stress, have a more difficult time getting pregnant.
Increased risk of heart disease and stroke: Women with high-stress levels are at higher risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Be kind to yourself
Stress can be managed, but how? Let’s find out how you can maintain work-life balance
Track your stressors: Identify and journal those events or situations, understand your feelings and the environment, as well as people and circumstances that give you stress. Find out ways to handle these situations
Limit your commitments: Cut back on non-essential commitments and prioritise them, depending on their importance to you. Refrain yourself from overburdening with responsibilities.
Take support from close ones: Speak about your issues with friends and family. No need to face it all alone; support from the closed ones can reduce the burden.
Put down your phone: Constantly checking emails and social media can cause sleep problems. Take a break and put your phone away!
Don’t postpone your health-related commitments: Go for a brisk walk or do some activity that increases the production of the feel-good endorphins.
Enhance sleep quality: Take an hour or two for calming activities like listening to relaxing music, reading a book or practicing relaxation techniques like meditation.
Balance is like walking on a tightrope, which we need to ace by practicing age-old resilience building measures like adequate sleep, appropriate exercise, prayer, gratefulness and enhancing connections with fellow human beings.