Friday, February 4, 2011

Health - Stress Relief Tips For Women

By: Shazia Yousuf

“Love is in the air everywhere I look around
Love is in the air every sight and every sound
And I don't know if I'm being foolish
I don't know if I'm being wise
But it's something that I must believe in
And it's there when I look in your eyes.”
Whenever I listen to this part of the song, I feel like replacing the word “love” with “stress”. Stress is something that is becoming a significant part of our daily routine. Life is moving at a fast pace. In the course of this race against time, we get stressed at small even very insignificant things. There is nothing abnormal about this behavior as the threats that life throws at us starting from the undue load shedding, never ending traffic jams, extremely high utility bills, long working hours, job insecurity, running the house in limited budget, problems in relationships, all add up to the list of ingredients for the sizzling hot dish of “stress” on life’s menu booklet.

Women are a major victim to this. They tend to have more responsibilities and less time to spend on their own needs. Although the general trend is changing, still a lot of working women also look after home and children without much help from their husbands, juggling between work, house work, settling issues relating to children, their school and petty disputes among siblings. If living in joint family, it also means keeping the in-laws happy and putting up a with mood swings of other family members. A house wife also faces these day to day issues. Sensitive relationship issues with husbands, mothers in law and for that matter even maid, driver and gardener contribute to stress in the daily lives of women. Looking at it from the other perspective, mothers (in law) have also to cope with the unpredictable and sometimes unexplainable attitude issues. Differences of opinion and cold wars, which are a part of every normal household, put everyone, especially women in a lot of stress and sadly there is no escape.

Stress is damaging. It slowly poisons and develops into chronic ailments.  It has a paralyzing effect, stops you from doing anything constructive, or even enjoying what you have. It eventually ruins the overall environment of your home and adds up to the mess in life!

Instead of fretting about the situation that life has put you in or sinking with your worries, you have to learn to cope with it. Yes, there is no escape from what life throws at you! All you need to learn is to relax and take charge of the situation.

Relaxation is a powerful medicine. It speeds recovery from all kinds of illnesses and prevents it in the first place. It also puts you in a state where you are then able to look at your problems with a cool mind and come up with more constructive solutions.

How to relax is a major question. A lot of people usually munch on unhealthy foods e.g. chocolates, chips and biscuits, or indulge in a lot of colas, coffee and tea to lift their moods. This is a totally damaging approach which will apparently lift your spirits but will further cause havoc to your health.

Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants not relaxers! These things whizzing round into the blood stream keep everything hyped up. Herbal tea for that matter is a better choice.

Munching on healthy foods such as bread, pasta, fruits and vegetables is a better idea. Small meals of wholesome carbohydrates keep blood sugar level steady which helps to prevent your mood swings. Vitamin C counteracts depression, confusion and insomnia. Try taking some black currants, guavas, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers and of course oranges. Oats, nuts, lettuce, green leafy vegetables and bananas are known as super stress busters. According to a recent survey amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. Bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier. Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack. No wonder why monkeys are so happy all the time!

A lot of stress is caused in the process of raising cranky kids. Parenting is not easy. This is why there is heaven under the feet of a mother. You need to keep your calm and instead of yelling, try listening to them more. Listening helps. Not just with kids, it helps with adults too. If you have small bad tempered children throwing tantrums, you need to focus on the reason instead of worrying. Exhaustion due to not eating enough could be one of the reasons. Focus, analyze and take action.

Get organized. Make a to-do list, keep realistic targets and focus on one task at a time. Do not get distracted by your worries. Things will seem more manageable. This will leave you less distracted and more focused, and you will feel in total control. While you are at something, for example cooking, try to keep clearing things at the same time. This will save you time and energy and an additional task.

Be on time. Try and do things according to the planned schedule. This will save you time for relaxation and quality time with family.

Women are brought up to care about everyone else. Looking after themselves is the easiest task to drop. Love yourself and indulge in some activity that you love doing, be it for only fifteen minutes. Get hold of that book that you bought ages ago but never found time to read it, open up your facebook and watch those funny video clips that are piled up on your home page, call up a friend or relative that you would love to catch up with, or simply play a game of Uno or snakes and ladder with your kids. If you can manage to take out more time then join pottery making, book club, community services, or anything that is affordable and will please you.

Walk. It lifts mood. Energetic exercise makes the body produce happy chemicals called the endorphins. Anything that speeds up heart beat to get those endorphins moving would help your body to cope with stress.

If something is bothering you, try and walk away from it. Come back to it with a fresh mind and then get that issue resolved. Try to write about what is bothering you. It clears your mind and helps you think straight. If you are bothered by someone write a letter saying all that is inside you. Take it out on paper, but do not mail it!

If you really have to worry about something, worry by appointment. Set a time and worry at that time only with full focus. Do it either sitting down or while ironing or mopping the floor. But promise yourself you will not worry at any time other than the appointed time.

Meditate, it clears your mind, cleans it up like a shining mirror and leaves your mind relaxed.

Music / voice therapy is also helpful. Listening to relaxing music, or singing maybe just to yourself if you are not that great a singer also relieves stress.  Vibration of the vocal chords benefits the whole body like an internal massage. No wonder why being regular with prayers and recitation of Quran with qirat leaves you with positive energy.

Overcoming stress is not easy. But it is not tough either. You need determination and the will to overpower it. Life is a gift which should not be wasted by worrying helplessly. Be the master not a slave to the circumstances that surround you. Take control of your life and live to the fullest!  

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