Read on how to enrich your life by purpose, i.e. to find depth and, a reason to get out of bed each morning, your own Ikigai.
Today, women’s need for professional gratification comes up against the pressure to remain culturally acceptable to our families, friends and society in general. How can this not be stressful?
For the entire 2018, my focus was on that one aspect of fitness that I had been otherwise ignorant of in the wake of a fast-paced life. I have always had a life where I worked hard and partied harder with both friends and family. Life had actually become a race where I was constantly in competition with the high standards I set for myself. Yes, that one aspect of fitness is Mental and Emotional Wellness.
As a formerly working mom, when I had to leave my career to be with my kids post having a second child, life became very hard for me. As somebody who had grown up in a nuclear family with primary, secondary and tertiary focus on studies and career, being in a family where relationships took precedence over personal aspirations was a difficult shift even immediately after my marriage. But with the support of a very understanding family and a boyfriend turned husband who was a rock of patience and tolerance, I managed to tip toe my way. But in the core of my heart I know that I was able to manage the stress of a radical shift in my living conditions because I had a job to distract me.
However, with two kids in tow, the feeling of being stuck at home made me go almost berserk. Yes, I had my blog, but that was my only hold on sanity. As I felt lonely in a houseful of loving and friendly people, I wondered how new stay-at-home-moms who were in a nuclear set-up coped up with similar distress. Not that everybody would face it, but still! Someone old-school reading about this disturbed state of my mind, might question me, “Why this distress? After all, once you are a parent, the priority has to be the kids.” “You have brought these two lives in this world! You are responsible for them!”
I know, I know…. And I really do know all of that! And trust me, I really love my kids. Maybe I don’t swoon over them the entire day. Neither do I click pictures of them and share them when others might deem that I ought to. I also admit that I may be a Tiger mom in the making where I will refrain from display of too much affection and come across as an overt disciplinarian.
While I do my best given my personal limitations for my kids’ upbringing, I have to admit that for long after I gave birth to my second one, I nursed the hurt of having to give up a job that I so loved. It was only a couple of months later after a heart to heart conversation with a friend, I figured that I could be suffering from Post Partum Depression. And that was when my antennae went all active and I began to read up all I could about it.
No, I am not going to dwell into the topic that is Post Partum Depression. Neither am I am going to list the other one thousand and seventy eight reasons that could cause women to get distressed/depressed in their life. What I mentioned above was my reason for a distressed post-partum phase. But distress among women or for that matter any individual could creep in for any known or unknown reason.
It has been repeatedly said, to the extent of being the most abused cliche of this century, that the fast pace of life is actually taking a toll on the quality of our lives. But no matter how many times this has been said earlier, it remains the biggest fact of life in modern times. And for us women especially, it is a stranger situation. Looking at it from a brighter angle, times couldn’t be better for us as we sit on a plethora of opportunities enabling us to prove our mettle and walk as equals with our male counter-parts. Yet, at the same time and for the same reason, things have gotten more complicated because our struggles are now amplified due to our need for professional gratification and an innate pressure to remain culturally acceptable to our families, friends and society in general. Of course there are these dare devils (I surely know a few such), who wear their care-a-damn attitude like a second skin and live life as per their own conditions. But I bet these are just a handful.
Most of us are drowned till the neck by the burden of our individual aspirations and the expectations of those in our inner circle. Added to it is the fact that social media is playing havoc with our personal priorities and choices, and this age of consumerism is adding to our stress by putting us in a whirlwind of multiple choices to be made on a daily if not hourly basis.
Thus it is not surprising to read one news report after another about surging stress levels and suicides, especially among women. As per experts, definite lifestyle changes and conscious efforts to curb stress are required in order to deal with worsening state of affairs as far as mental wellness is concerned. But in the rat race of life that we call our routine that tugs at us from various directions with its demanding nature, it might be extremely difficult to spare real time to alleviate the plummeting wellness quotient.
Does that mean that we have no hope. Or that professional therapy is the only way out? Umm.. I’d say no. Not exactly. Having read about this topic of mental wellness over a span of the last 20 months, I have come to observe that many organisations and individuals are taking steps to not only help us women deal with stress and but there are several communities aimed at nurturing the over-all wellness quotient for women. Various virtual platforms have mushroomed and are doing an appreciable job at that. The best platform that has emerged to live up to the occasion is the Facebook communities. With no entry barriers, these communities are doing a great job of bringing women together and help them deal with issues by providing genuine help and advice without the fear of being judged.
I sometimes feel extremely thankful that I am born in this age where I have a whole virtual world with unlimited possibilities where I can express myself and deal with my stress in extremely innovative ways available online. Yet, the limitations remain. When it comes to dealing with stress on a regular basis, many of us still find ourselves clueless. The moment we switch ourselves off from social media, the feeling of distress and unhappiness creeps in. Not to forget mentioning the other syndrome of this happiness quotient induced through the virtual world. This syndrome known by the name ‘FOMO’ (Fear Of Missing Out) is a dangerous byproduct of the happiness we seek through virtual relationships. These run a risk of worsening the state of our already distressed minds. But what else can one do to alleviate her stress levels, and improve the individual wellness index?
Well, as I mentioned in the beginning of this write-up, for over a year and a half now I have studied and practiced various techniques of increasing individual vibrations for internalising happiness. As a general observation I have come to conclude that all these methods and techniques primarily follow a skeleton format of conditioning the human mind. Among the techniques that I have read about and practiced, some are simple, others are complex, but the underlying message remains the same. What is that message? As per me this is what the message looks like –
Having said the above, remember Newton’s Law about every action inviting a reaction of the same degree. So keeping that law in view, your happiness is a reflection of your own manifestation of your happiness through your thoughts and actions. There is a whole area of study about karma that talks about why you receive what you receive in terms of the tangible and intangible. But that’s an entirely separate ocean of knowledge and information. From the perspective of keeping it simple and attainable, let’s just focus on simple and mindful actions and thoughts that will tune our mind to only positive and happy thoughts.
This year, dedicate yourself to a cause of self awareness and happiness.
Image via Unsplash
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