Stress hits different nowadays.
It has gone from something that you can manage with the old "breathe in, breath out" technique into a high intensity, nerve-wracking, anxiety-fueled fit, which cannot be easily tamed as much as you want to. It consumes the conscious and unconscious thoughts, at any time of the day and night, without regard to your schedule or plan.
Stress is everywhere. It triggers by anything and anyone, and to be honest, there is no other way to put it, but it simply sucks.
No one will bat an eyelash if you do; busy women like us are often the unfortunate target of stress. You know you need to let go of stress, but the harder you try, the harder it latches its venomous fangs on you as well.
Is this a sign of giving up and surrendering to its whims? Or you can put up a good fight using new stress management techniques. Now, doesn't that sound a lot better than raising the white flag of defeat against stress?
According to an online article by Johns Hopkins Medicine, stress relief is significant for women. According to the report, when women experience the physical effects of stress, it may result in heart disease and cause other existing medical conditions to worsen. Women often exposed to higher stress levels may take longer to recover after a heart attack than men with the same stress levels. Women are also more prone to complications after a heart attack, and doctors have identified anxiety and stress as the culprit.
And stress is not simply a state of mind, as many would like to believe. It can affect the body's physiological reactions, too. For example, stress can cause the body to release adrenaline hormones, increasing the heart rate and increasing blood pressure.
Cortisol is another stress-triggered hormone. A body with high cortisol levels is associated with high blood sugar and resistance to insulin. If left untreated, these two can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and depression.
Given all these facts, the need to cope with stress effectively becomes even more pressing. The list below features some of the proven-and-tested stress management techniques that busy women can easily incorporate into their life.
1. Unplug regularly
These days, our social media presence is just as essential as our physical presence. According to Statista, in 2019, the average daily social media usage worldwide is 2 hours and 22 minutes.
That may seem considerably little in the general scheme of things, but if you think of how you could have spent the time doing other more productive activities, it becomes a mind-opener.
So step away from digital distractions regularly. Instead of spending 2 hours and 22 minutes (or more) a day scrolling on social media sites, put your phone, tablet, and laptop down and relax. Go for a walk, make a homecooked meal, talk to a friend, or enjoy a cup of coffee while listening to your favorite tunes – the options are limitless!
2. Try stretching
We often overlook the wonders of a quick stretch, and that's a pity!
Stretching offers a lot of benefits – it can improve blood circulation, flexibility, and your ability to perform daily activities. A quick stretch also relieves the tension in the muscles and helps you relax.
The next time you have had a stressful workday, roll your shoulders slowly or try a chest-opening stretch to alleviate stress.
3. Eat well-balanced, healthy meals.
A healthy diet is not only a great way to lose weight; it can also boost your mood, improve your thinking skills, and give you the energy needed to cope with stressful events.
However, be wary of "stress-eating"! Mindful eating effectively counteracts stress – so remember this when the urge to "stress-eat" knocks on your door! When stress gets too much to handle, the urge to binge-eat and succumb to food cravings becomes an overpowering force. This often leads to weight gain, which is another thing that most people get stressed about! It is a vicious cycle, one that mindful eating practices can only solve.
Mindful eating practices are all about making smart food choices, focusing your full attention on the meal (no phones/tablets/laptops on sight!), and chewing the food slowly to savor and enjoy the flavors and textures of the food.
4. Sleep more, sleep better
If you wonder why sleep is always on the list of things to do regarding stress management and self-care, the only correct answer is "because it is essential"! Our body utilizes sleep for reset, repair, and recharge purposes.
The recommended number is six to eight hours of sleep every night, but you can make some adjustments depending on your personal preference. Some people function fully with only six hours of sleep, while others feel more energized when they get at least eight hours.
Remember, if you lack sleep, it will only contribute to your stress. Or if it is the other way around, with focus interfering with your sleep, you can seek professional help – and that's another stress management technique!
5. Connect with your inner self
Do you know that voice inside you that tells you if something is good or bad, or if a person is to be trusted or not?
Your inner self is the source of true feelings, intuition, and wisdom. We get so busy with our daily lives that we forget to listen and connect to our inner selves. In times of stress and anxiety – when you are about to make a meaningful life choice, for example - your inner self can guide you towards the right path. It can also help you cope with the negative energy clouds your mind.
A Final Word of Advice
We all have our ways of stress management, and I hope the tips that I shared in this article make a difference. Stress is a formidable foe, but with the proper mindset, a strong, able body, and some stress management techniques, you will make it through and continue to be the beautiful, unique, and empowered woman you are!