Women are more prone to daily stress than men as most of the working women have to juggle multiple roles of a mother, caregiver to elderly, and breadwinner for the family. In addition to this women in India usually face discrimination and inequality and may not have the same opportunities and access to education, healthcare and employment. The root cause of this could be the attitude of society towards women or the stereotypes that see women as inferior to men. All these factors could adversely affected a woman’s mental health and a lot of times, they do not find an outlet to release this stress and find themselves at risk of several mental and physical health issues. Many times family members fail to realise their mental health needs and they do not get the much needed space and time to sort their thoughts and focus on what they truly love to do and what provides them greater satisfaction. (Also read: Mental health tips: Signs that you are emotionally exhausted; how to cope)
“In determining mental health and mental illness, gender plays a critical role. Women exhibit distinct patterns of psychological distress and psychiatric disorder than men do. Men and women differ from one another not only in their overtly physical characteristics, but also in their psychological make-up. Gender differences in the age of onset of symptoms, clinical characteristics, frequency of psychotic symptoms, course, social adjustment, and long-term prognosis of severe mental disorders have been reported. All aspects of life such as household responsibilities, power, and social status are affected by the disparities that men and women encounter as a result of socially established gender roles. Through the sexist prism of male superiority and dominion over women, the distinctions between men and women have been socially defined and distorted for generations. As a result, women’s roles in the human dyad have been undervalued,” says Saumya Baliga, Counseling Psychologist, SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim – A Fortis Associate.
Depression, anxiety, somatic symptoms, and high rates of comorbidity are associated with risk factors such as gender biased roles, stresses, and unpleasant life experiences.
“In India, over two-third of married women experience domestic abuse. Distress is common in late pregnancy and the postpartum period. Majority of new moms (between 50-80%) suffer from the post-partum blues. More than half of working women experience significant work-family conflict, and 90% of them experience stress as a result of various responsibilities. These factors might cause strained interpersonal relationships at home or at work and predispose them to psychological disorders. The preference for a nuclear family has reduced social assistance at the home level, leaving women to worry and handle their issues on their own,” says the psychologist.
Developing coping mechanisms for ups and downs of life is important for sustaining healthy mental health. Women must take care of their mental health since it is linked to overall wellness.
Baliga shares 3 effective ways women can beat their daily stress:
Journaling for mental health: It’s therapeutic to write down thoughts because it helps people express their emotions in a more tangible way. As a result, ideas no longer circle in one’s mind and doing this will mentally benefit the individual. Writing becomes a substitute for talking to someone and expressing thoughts.
Get ‘Alone Time’: One of the primary reasons impacting women’s mental health might be due to lack of self-care. It can be challenging to find alone time, yet it is essential for resetting emotions. Additionally, one might use this time to assess their lives and determine what is working for them and what is not.
Get help if needed: There comes a point when it is necessary to be honest with oneself and admit that they require assistance. Perhaps professional help can be obtained to assist one deal with stress and improve their mental health. The bottom line is that every woman should attempt to take breaks whenever they can and seek professional assistance to maintain their overall wellbeing.
“In order to live a life of positivity, it is crucial to dedicate time, each and every day, to focus on one’s mental and physical health. Being optimistic and having a healthy mindset is essential to an individual’s mental and physical health,” concludes Baliga.