In today’s world, everyone has some stress. Everybody is working harder to deliver a productive outcome in this competitive era, and the digital revolution makes work follow us home. Too much work and a hectic schedule cause people to be completely exhausted. This exhaustion can prompt people to stop enjoying life outside work and digital life.
Stress is a normal human response to unpleasant stimuli (stressors), such as negative comments, time pressure at work, traffic, exams, extreme temperature, trauma, chronic illness, financial crisis, pregnancy, and child-related issues. These stressors can be good sometimes, keeping us motivated and alert and preparing us to fight negative situations. However, chronic stress can be detrimental and causes physical and mental health problems.
Stress in women
According to various researches, women experience much higher stress than men of the same age. They juggle many roles, including homemaker, career for family members, office worker, mother, and a perfect partner. The cumulative stress of these multiple roles can negatively impact their health and quality of life.
In addition to work and home tension, being pregnant can also bring stress. Worrying and depression during pregnancy can be due to various reasons, including unplanned pregnancy, single parent, fear of miscarriage, morning sickness, relationship difficulties, financial burden, any mishap in family, family violence, complications during pregnancy, or delivery-related worries.
How can stress affect women’s health?
The stressors and their effects are different for every woman. During stress, our brain releases stress-related hormones (cortisol). Chronic stress leads to the continuous release of cortisol, which impacts our overall health and affects the baby’s health in the womb during pregnancy. Following are some side-effects of the stress in women:
- Body aches and lack of energy
- Disturbed eating habits, such as overeating or undereating
- Loss of libido
- Difficulty in falling and maintaining a restful sleep
- Emotional symptoms such as anger, sadness, frustration, anxiety, feeling of being out of control, and depression
- Lack of concentration and forgetfulness
- Piling of work, difficulty in making decisions in the office, loss of focus, and negative thinking
- Social isolation
- Stress may cause high blood pressure (preeclampsia) or increases the risk of gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
- Worsening of normal pregnancy-related discomfort and morning sickness
- Severe and long-term stress can affect your baby in the womb, such as a low-birth-weight baby, premature birth, or weaker immune system
How can you reduce stress?
A little bit of stress is typical in our daily life, but excessive worrying or overthinking is detrimental to your health, which also impacts the health of your loved ones. Following are some ways that can help you reduce stress:
- A proper diet schedule: Whenever we feel stressed, either we cut down our food or binge eat. So, first of all, cut down all the extra sweet and salty packed food. Eating a healthy, nutrient-rich diet improves body functioning, and you feel good as you take care of yourself.
- Exercise: Inclusion of light exercise, yoga, meditation, aerobics, dancing, listening to music, cycling, or swimming, in your daily routine can bring down the cortisol hormone level and improves the feel-good hormone (endorphins) level, which is a natural stress-buster. But, if you are pregnant, consult your gynecologist about which exercise is suitable for you.
- Talk it out: The best way to handle stress is to talk with your partner, family, or friends. Sometimes talking only lightens the burden of overthinking. If you are pregnant, a simple talk to other pregnant ladies with similar symptoms is beneficial.
- Cut back extra work: Every woman wants to finish all the chores herself. Try to cut these workloads and ask your partner and family to help. It can significantly reduce stress.
- Planning: For a working lady, proper planning can cut extra workload. You can ask your colleagues for help.
- Halt bad habits: Avoiding bad habits, such as alcohol consumption, smoking, or substance use, improves stress levels and overall health.
- Set targets: Irrespective of doing all work in one go, you can set smaller goals and take time off in between for rest.
- Professional help: If still facing difficulty with stress management, you can take professional aid.
These lifestyle changes and modifications in the way of thinking with self-care can help women manage stress and move towards a healthy life. Accept what you can’t change and smile a lot to burst the stress bubble.