You get up late, rush to get dressed, navigate the traffic, deal with a mountain of work at the office, get yelled at by your boss, rush home to make sure the children have done their homework and have been fed, then finish off the work you didn’t have time to do at the office. By the time you’re ready to go to bed, it’s late – and you wake up to go through the same motions the following day.
From losing a loved one to being fired or enduring illness, life is full of drama and ups and downs. No one is immune to stress and challenges, yet some people seem better able to deal with life’s setbacks. Our modern lifestyle means many are working harder, longer and have less time to relax.
South African women are particularly vulnerable to stress and the pressures of life.
A survey by pharmaceutical company Pharma Dynamics polled 900 working moms across South Africa between the ages of 25 and 55, and found that many of them spend up to 80 hours a week on work and responsibilities at home. About 60% regularly catch up on work outside of working hours.
This is not to say that men are immune to stress and anxiety.
Some people just seem better able to deal with challenges, and even thrive on dealing with life’s problems.
“People who handle setbacks or challenges in a more resilient manner are usually those who are emotionally and mentally strong in the way that they process and make sense of the reality of the situation they’re faced with,” says Sara Braithwaite, a corporate and life coach. “[They do this] by accepting the situation for what it is, while at the same time being proactive about moving forward and not being overwhelmed by the emotions of the situation.”
There are several things you can do to cultivate resilience. According to an article in The Huffington Post, resilient people aren’t luckier – they simply practise doing things that keep them afloat and better able to weather the storms.
Braithwaite says there are things you can do to increase your resilience. Here are a few steps to take if you feel the pressure getting to you:
Ask for help
When faced with adversity, it’s often necessary to ask for support. It’s important to realise that asking for help when faced with a crisis can be a sign of strength. This can be in the form of professional support or by confiding in your partner or friend. Challenges are often less daunting when you have someone to lean on.
Staying grounded and clear-headed is essential for mental, emotional and physical well-being during a stressful situation. So it’s important to engage in activities such as exercise, yoga and meditation.
Use your energy wisely
Reprioritise your commitments and daily tasks. When faced with a challenging situation, one can feel overwhelmed by stress and any changes that may have occurred as a result – it’s essential to acknowledge these changes and prioritise your daily routine accordingly so you’re able to use your energy more wisely to manage the most important issues in the least unsettling manner.
Braithwaite says it’s easy to become negative, angry and despondent when dealing with a setback in your life. These emotions can sometimes cloud one’s judgement and ability to make clear, rational decisions to move forward. “Through experience, I’ve learnt the profound effect that gratitude has on our mental and emotional well-being,” Braithwaite explains. “Reminding yourself of what’s going well in your life and what you’re truly grateful for will create mental calmness.”