In today’s competitive world, the desire to outshine our peers puts a constant strain on us. Stress not only affects working professionals, who are battling daily deadlines and target achievements, but also homemakers and students. We talk to an expert on how to manage these pressures with simple techniques.
The possible causes of stress among students and young adults range from academic and career-related tensions to troubles in social and family life — high expectations from parents and the need to look attractive being the most common. “The biggest discouragement for teenagers is when parents do not acknowledge their performance which demoralises them, thus resulting in stress,” says Malti Bhojwani, professional life coach and neuro-linguistic programming practitioner.
The responsibility of managing a household often leads to stress among homemakers. Besides, the lack of appreciation for their work, which is often disregarded as a part of their duties, is upsetting. “The need to please the family, tension about their children’s education and future, dependence on others for money and the perpetual need to prove themselves in every role (as mother, wife and an individual) causes stress,” explains Bhojwani.
Among working professionals, deadlines or target pressures, work expectations and maintaining pace with co-workers are some of the causes for stress.
Meditation is the best way to relax. Close your eyes for a few minutes and breathe in and out deeply. “When you meditate, your heart rate slows down, you sweat less and your breathing becomes deeper, resulting in calmness,” says Bhojwani.
Yoga and physical activity can also help in stress management. Make time for 30 minutes of exercise every day as it helps release pent-up stress and tension.
“Yoga and stretching exercises are particularly helpful because they encourage you to breathe deeply and rhythmically. Plus, basic hand and leg stretches can be done at home and office,” says Bhojwani.
The amount and type of food that you consume can also affect your stress levels. Start your day with a healthy breakfast and have balanced, nutritious meals through the day. Foods like whole grains, beans, chicken, fish, bananas, oats, pears, yoghurt, walnuts and strawberries help you relax and maintain the blood pressure.
Reduce caffeine and sugar, as a higher intake can affect your mood and energy. By reducing the amount of coffee and sugary snacks in your diet, you’ll feel more relaxed and sleep better.
Get enough sleep. It relaxes your mind and body.
Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. Coping with stress through alcohol or drugs may provide an easy escape, but the relief is only temporary.
Adapt and adopt a positive outlook towards a change in the working model of your professional life. “Just remember that if you don’t adapt to the change, you might not get acknowledgement, so take it as a professional challenge,” says Bhojwani.
Mentally sketch out your plan of action if you find yourself stressed before a presentation in office or school. This will divert your mind and make you feel prepared.
Assure yourself you can face any problem and overcome it. That’s the most important thing that you need to do before trying any stress-management techniques.