Stress in technical terms is the physical, physiological and psychological strain on the human body in response to various circumstances that may be demanding and pressurizing to such an extent that an individual finds it difficult to cope up with the situation. It is often called a silent killer. Usually affecting the urban masses, stress seems to have strong connections with women in general. Studies suggest that the incidence of Stress is very high amongst females, especially the urban women, between the ages 25-35 years. This association could be attributed to multiple reasons, most of which are lifestyle related.
- Workloads and lack of time
Maya is a mother of two and works as a marketing executive for a retail giant in UAE. She works from 8am to 4pm at her office and reaches home by 6pm. She has a cup of coffee and rushes out to drop her daughter for music lessons twice a week. She buys grocery in the meantime and picks up her daughter by 7.30 pm. After getting back home, she cooks dinner and lunch for the following day, looks through her kids school work and retires to bed wishing she had more time in hand, to give a few minutes to herself, to read her favorite English classics.
Women today have to match men at work and the pressure is constantly on. Their workload doubles because they also have to play the roles of mothers and homemakers. Nuclear families hardly have a support system and the burden lies largely on the lady of the house, who needs to cater to every family member. There is hardly an opportunity to take a break or seek change from her routine, which gets extremely frustrating over a period of time.
- Hormonal changes
Women go through many physiological changes during premenstrual phase (PMS), Menstruation, Pregnancy and childbirth, which are predominantly governed by the hormones. These hormonal changes affect the chemical balance in the body making women more susceptible to stress during these situations. Stress can in turn lead to further hormonal disturbances, thus triggering a vicious cycle.
Women tend to get more emotionally disturbed during situations like marriage, separation, divorce, death and arguments with spouse or co-workers. Lack of compatibility or physical intimacy between the partners and estranged relationships can adversely affect women’s physical and mental well being. Women are also prone to physical and verbal abuse at home or work place, which can be extremely traumatizing.
- Orthodox mindset
Orthodox mindsets and conservative societies encourage women to suppress their natural talents and remain dedicated to serving the family. Even today, there are several women who in spite of being qualified as well as talented, cannot pursue their dreams because of the restrictions imposed on them by their society or family. Forced suppression of natural desires and talent can cause severe stress and depression too.
- Health issues
Long term illnesses, exhaustion, or injury can bring life at home to a halt. While gynaecological problems like menstrual irregularities, Infertility, Polycystic ovaries and Thyroid problems cause indirect stress , coping physically and mentally with more serious health issues like cancer is extremely challenging.