Between careers, kids, aging parents, relationships, finances and who knows what else, women have a lot of things that can potentially cause great stress in their lives. Stress can cause our immune systems to become compromised, depression, weight gain or loss, loss of sex drive, difficulty with concentrating and just plain crabbiness.
What can we do to help ourselves with all this stress? There are many ways to relax and de-stress every day. You can try things like meditation, visualization, a nice bath, writing in a journal, a good workout or some self-pampering.
The problem is that many women say they simply don't have time for any of this. The simple answer to that is that if you don't take time to take care of yourself, you're going to be ineffective at best at taking care of anyone or anything else.
You really need to find time to allow yourself to de-stress. Here is a list of techniques and things you can do to reduce stress in your life:
1. ) Organize, simplify and delegate. Stop thinking you can or you have to do everything all at once and all by yourself. Find ways to better organize your life and your home. Use calendars and lists.
Get rid of the clutter that you don't use or need (be brutal), stop worrying about dusting the house every week - if it's that important, have one of the kids do it or hire a housekeeper to come in every other week. Or, better yet, realize that the sun doesn't rise and set depending on whether your coffee table is dust-free or not.
2. ) Practice tried and true forms of relaxation. Meditation isn't difficult to learn and it can do wonders for helping you reduce stress in your life. Even if you only meditate for 10 or 15 minutes a day, you can use a mediation CD to learn, or join a class.
Another method used for deep relaxation is visualization or guided imagery. You can purchase CDs that guide you to a state of deep relaxation and back out again. For many women, these are very helpful.
3. ) Get some exercise! You can use Asian exercise forms such as Qigong or Tai Chi which can be learned in class or by using an instructional DVD. Yoga is also wonderful for helping to reduce stress.
These forms of exercise have other benefits beside stress reduction. You can also reduce stress by doing a more traditional workout every day - or even every other day. Join a gym, or get a workout buddy. Walk or run for exercise or take a kickboxing class to really get some pent up energy out.
Other good ways to reduce stress include writing in a journal every day. Just let it all out. Allow yourself to go to the spa for a massage once in awhile and really enjoy the experience.
Practice deep breathing and pay attention to your breathing all day long. If you notice yourself shallow breathing, stop and concentrate on taking some good, healthy, deep breaths. Take a warm bath and follow by cuddling up in your favorite pajamas with a good book.
The pressure to perform is intense for women. We are mothers, partners, daughters, employees and employers. We serve on committees and help with the local volunteer group.
Sometimes we get stressed out. The need for time to relax and pay attention to our own bodies and minds is great, and we cannot ignore that need. If we do, we may end up not being able to serve others or ourselves in the ways we want to.
Tiffany Washko is the editor of Goddess of the Garden, http://www.goddessofthegarden.com , a raw foods reform site for women that focuses on transitioning to health and happiness with the power of a raw foods diet.