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The ‘stress virus’ seems to affect all of us in this hyper-connected, dynamic world. Women especially, are big time carriers of this virus – is it time to be kinder on ourselves?
This morning I was flitting through my email and came across a very interesting Women’s Web newsletter (Editor’s Note: You can subscribe to it here too!). About stress and how it might be affecting creativity.
It got me thinking. This modern-day plague of stress is rampant in every sphere of life. I’ve seen women suffering from this ‘disease’ whether they are single, married, working full time, part time, from home, SAHM, or any other cross section you could think of.
It not only kills creativity, it robs you of feeling normal or capable. It eats away at your core. Is this condition self-inflicted or just a result of our environment?
I hear experts saying very often that we are solely responsible for our stress. How often have you heard people saying, ‘Relax, take a chill pill’, or ‘Don’t think so much. Things will work out.’ I don’t know about you but these statements make me angry instead of placating me. After all, no-one deliberately wants to be stressed right? It isn’t the best feeling in the world either. That tension headache in the front of the head, the buzzing, the dull ache and churning in the tummy, sweaty palms, racing heart, how are any of these desirable? I’ve heard of so many people say that they get stressed about getting stressed! That if they know they are anxious about something, it makes them more helpless that they can’t control it.
Despite my general exuberance, I have been a carrier of this virus as well. More frequently than I’d like to admit and somehow after my maternity break, it became worse. The post partum depression phase definitely had a role to play. But even after it was gone, I was anxious and stressed about so many nonsensical things. It was almost changing my personality. I eventually got back to work, my passion: travel, a normal life and body, supported by a great family, managed to get back to writing, wrote and published my first book, milestones that would make most dizzy with happiness.
Yet the stress and anxiety wouldn’t leave me. One fine day I sat holding my head, heavy with a multitude of plans and problems and worries, and suddenly decided that I had had enough. I shook my head resolutely and had a cold shower. I made a list of all the things that were irking me and realised that most of them had a solution. The problem was actually inside me. I was pushing myself so hard, holding myself to such standards, judging myself so much that I was bound to fail in my own eyes! It was like a eureka moment.
Isn’t it hard enough that as women, we don’t have it easy from the get go? If it’s not gender stereotypes or discrimination, we are battling prejudices or fighting for our rights. Between home, work, responsibilities, children, relationships, where is the time to crucify yourself. But we still find the time. Because we still think there is more we can do. Guess what, YOU ARE DOING ENOUGH! More than enough.
The world around you will not change but it is up to you to find the beauty in it by being at peace with yourself or then constantly being at war by berating yourself and pushing yourself all the time. Your stomach with its scars of battle, the imperfections in your beautiful face, the callouses in your hard working hands, your proudest body of work, your family, everything that you do and you are is exactly how it is meant to be.
Enjoy every moment – walk instead of running, accept instead of judging and see that monstrous stress melt away like candy floss!
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