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Stress is one of the major problems of working women in India. Some help to bust that stress and beat depression.
Many working women in India, and especially those who are working mothers, are stuck in a vicious cycle of stress and depression, forever trying to balance an ever-growing burden of professional responsibilities and personal commitments. It is time to break this cycle. Here are some tips for Indian women to start loving their lives.
I was an unhappy, burnt-out and depressed working woman for many years until one day when I realised that I was losing all my energy in professional ambition, peer pressure, and being a guilt-ridden mother.
I was unhappy because things were not happening as per the plan, which I made as a girl, of becoming a professional like my father and a full time mother just like my mother. This acknowledgement was the first step in battling stress and I soon started finding my way around work and family.
After 3 years of being a guilt ridden mom, I learnt the hard way that ‘mommy guilt’ does not help a working mother; sooner we working women in India get rid of the guilt, the better.
Over the years I have stopped thinking about home at office and vice versa and I have learnt the art of switching off upon leaving one place for the other. I now practice mindful parenting. Baking, visiting a bookshop, watching travel or food programs and reading with my daughter whenever possible keeps me happy. I consciously stay away from mood degraders (unsolicited suggestions or comments) and thus resist burn outs.
While I traversed through a cycle of full time jobs, no jobs, work from home and then again full time work, 6-8 hours of child care (nanny/day care) for my toddler was a must for me. Those hours kept me going with my job or job hunt and the sanity of being an adult.
At work, once trust is established through strong work ethics, it is alright to ask for flexible work options.
Spouses and other family members also need to pitch in more for working women in India. I don’t mind asking for help in the kitchen from my spouse or child. We need to accept a man working in the kitchen. I appreciate my husband working in his own way in the kitchen and putting very different and diverse food on the table.
Maintaining a like-minded network of friends is a must for working women in India. This would be of immense help when it comes to picking up/dropping off kids and even for occasional babysitting, but avoid comparisons by all means. I also rely on blogs and websites from different countries who write about similar issues. Reading their neutral views about different aspects of life helps streamline my perspectives.
Face it, there will be crappy days at office, and there will be tearful days with a cranky child. I know there will be days of overwork at office and I would be just about coping at home. But I have learnt to be optimistic. I try to be happy by helping my daughter with her studies only 3 days a week, cooking a proper breakfast only 4 days and assembling it on the other days.
I ignore a messy house sometimes and at times I don’t opt for offsite conferences. Multitasking is nerve wrecking and tiring so I avoid it. Multitasking for me is to listen to music while dusting the shelves or drinking a cup of tea while helping my daughter with her studies. At office after an hour of working on the computer I prefer to take a break for a few minutes.
I have learnt to use the same set of skills at both office and home. Some concepts like making priority lists, pareto principle (80:20 rule), delegation of work, team spirit and maintaining a calendar, are required both at home and at work. After all household chores also require lots of strategy and skill development and definitely deserve recognition.
One of the problems of women is that as we follow the daily grind, we lose our space and our identity. I found that hobbies like writing a blog, reading, gardening, yoga or travelling are extremely enriching and refreshing. Working women in India lose their interest in learning anything new as they grow older. A little enthusiasm and finding a few hours in a week for walking or yoga, dance, learning a new language, journal writing, pottery, and art and craft can do wonders in reducing the stress levels of Indian women. Breaking the daily routine and escaping into a weekend tour or a longer vacation can bring back the enthusiasm. Solo travel for leisure can be an empowering experience for Indian women.
The hectic morning rush, fast-foods and sugar-loaded coffees, project deadlines, several lined up meetings and teleconferences, a sick child, sleepless nights, orchids in the office corridor, colleagues cracking funny jokes, the morning cup of tea/coffee, the amazing redness of the setting sun, children and their laughter, a new tune in the FM radio, the husband waiting for his evening tea, a new project, getting involved in training programs – these are some snapshots of a day in a working woman’s life.
So really, the choice to pick and savour the happy moments in your life or to give in to stress is entirely yours.
So tell me, how do you choose to be happy?
*Photo credit: Alan Cleaver (Used under the Creative Commons Attribution License.)
A science researcher finding ways into broader science careers. A women enthusiast to the core
This article is very helpful and contemporary for working women. I know Chandrima personally and always appreciate her thoughts on parenting and professionalism.
Great article! As a working mother living with an extended family, you tend to totally forget yourself and put everyone else’s needs before your own. At such times you need to consciously remind yourself to keep aside those 10 min in the day which is purely “your” time. Conversing with other mothers who are sailing in the same boat also helps a lot in keeping up your morale.
Very nice, Chandrima. I would add another tip: I say ‘no’ to requests that don’t interest me, both at work and at home. Even if these ‘requests’ come from myself, I question myself twice before committing.
Thank you all. @ Rituparna, you are right, ability to say no both at work and home is a must for working women in India. We cannot fulfil each and every objective that comes our way. So the art is to optimise between what is required to be done and what we want to do!
Beautiful post..have to implement all your points..i too feel stressed out and irritated as i dont have my parents in the same city..i hope i become more assertive at home and work!
Nicely written…….. don’t know why we don’t priortise ourself. we are last one on our priority list… It’s high time we start taking care of ourself.
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