— Sameer Bhide, Author of the book ‘One Fine Day’
Women have, over centuries, possessed strong emotional strength and intelligence, which has been attributed to their ability for excelling in interpersonal communication, multi-tasking, and people management skills. It is not a coincidence then, that the women, particularly in India, have been observed to constitute the highest non-paid hours of work – including caring, nurturing, and running a household, compared to men.
According to World Economic Forum (WEF), up to 66% of work done by women in India falls under the unpaid category – a number remarkably higher than other countries in the world.
Further, up to 49% of women, in a country of 1.3 billion people, don’t have their work accounted for in the annual GDP, which only highlights the gender disparity!
Even as the world celebrates International Women’s day this month, they continue to remain one of the most overworked and underpaid parts of the collective human race. From gender pay disparity and representation in leadership roles and board rooms, women also need better support systems to be able to manage the amount of personal and professional responsibilities that they shoulder.
And although science has proven that women are inherently more resilient in the face of a crisis or adversity than men, the last few decades and more recently, the many life changes caused by the pandemic have shown higher cases of depression and anxiety among women.
The multi-tasking, the added burden of unpaid work, and the overall evolution of the society into a more isolated, competitive, and tech-driven space, have impacted all aspects of life, making stress a constant companion. And dealing with it can be a rather tricky matter, especially for women.
In order, to face the challenges ahead and to draw unique guidelines, based on his own encounters with several life-altering events and the women who helped him cope, Sameer Bhide lists 5 tips for the women of today, that can help them cope better with stress and adversity, and gain control of their lives. He is the author of a book, One Fine Day, which is an inspiring memoir of coping with the several adversities that transformed his life but also left him with finer insights about life and coping with the inevitable.
Prioritizing and Delegation of tasks
Like any expert taskmaster, prioritizing one’s tasks helps effective time management and completion of tasks at hand. Delegation is another important, and often underrated aspect of effectively coping with higher workloads. Often lack of effective delegation can cause an unmanageable pile-up of workload, leading to overbearing work pressures, stress, and anxiety. Be it the personal or professional arena, effectively drawing up boundaries, and taking up tasks based on practical and well thought thorough planning, can go a long way in helping create a relaxed and pleasant work-life balance.
Effective Me time
One of the most important aspects of maintaining a healthy mind and body, is to indulge in some ‘me time’ activities. From physical pampering to relaxed solitude, pursuing a hobby, or just basically having a time assigned to do exactly what one wants to do, instead of having to or needing to do, can be as healing and therapeutic, as it is vital to help create mental peace. This also allows the excellent opportunity for introspection and connecting with self – aspects that play significant roles when one is trying to cope with difficult situations or just trying to handle daily stress.
Exercise (Mind and Body)
Exercise has been one of the most underrated antidepressants and most often, is not on the list of most people with hectic schedules. However, even 30 mins of basic physical exercises daily, such as going for a walk, joining dance groups, or working out with friends can all help drastically improve the quality of life. In addition, doing yoga and mindfulness meditations can help build a healthier mind and body. These exercises can elevate the spirit and help manage stress and anxiety.
Healthy Social Support system
This continues to remain a significant aspect of effective stress management. Indulging in a hobby or a social group activity, on a regular basis, can help improve stress, build self-confidence, and greater ability to handle adversity/ crisis. A healthy social life, with an effective support system, like a group of friends or extended family, that can step in to help, talk, relax, share opinions or guide, etc., can be a boon when one is facing a high-stress situation or adversity.
Music has a universal language and, since ancient times, and has been used to heal. Listening to music daily is highly therapeutic as it is quite relaxing and makes you calmer which then helps reduce anxiety and stress, help you sleep better, and fight diseases
While all, of the above, are important aspects in ensuring mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical wellbeing, it is important to not shy away from seeking professional help, if, and when needed. Mental health issues, especially postpartum depression, are serious issues that women need to be more aware of and take action.