Women’s Day 2020: The power of women at work and how to ensure you lead a healthy lifestyle

Emails that arrive almost all the time, travel arrangements that make you think twice about family, the struggle of work-life balance – working women tend to be like a pendulum oscillating between demands of office and home chores. And between these oscillations, there are endless social expectations to match up to and the constant anxiety of keeping up with demands of both the worlds.

Geeta Sharma, 33, a bank manager says, “Being a working woman feels like it’s a double-edged sword hanging on my head. Most of the times I find myself sacrificing on my social life, family life and me time to be efficient in everything. My productivity often suffers due to anxiety. Juggling such different responsibilities takes a huge toll on my health which I usually ignore. This is the case with every working woman. I think we should all take care of ourselves and look out for each other.”

And for working mothers with toddlers, the pressure – be it self-imposed or designated, increases manifold. After all, motherhood is constant, demanding and exhausting. Nikita Joseph, teacher and mother of a 6 month old says, “Thankfully, my mother-in-law helps me out handling my baby. However, it is still pretty much difficult. I have to wake up really early in the morning and feed her, finish my work in the kitchen, then go to school. Professional life is also extremely busy and mind boggling. At the end of the day I am so stressed and tired. Thankfully, my colleagues look out for me.”

Mental stress

This combination of juggling multiple commitments could lead to physical health problems as well as mental distress. Clinical psychologist and author Pulkit Sharma says, “The main source of stress for working women is the multiple things in their life. They expect themselves to do extremely well at work and home and people also expect the same out of them. I believe that one should take a more rational approach and not make everything so performance oriented. Then only they’ll be able to multitask and also get a space to breathe. Otherwise, it makes them more at a risk of depression because being the best in everything is not realistically possible.” He adds, “I have had many cases like such. This is something very common. You can’t be running marathons in every sphere of life.”

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Why is women’s health so important?

Obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Rachna Rohatgi says, “Working women undergo a lot of stress because they have to keep a balance between all the fronts. The whole foundation of a family or a society is based on a woman’s health. If she is not healthy, the whole family gets neglected. In fact, women are very reluctant to get themselves checked and keep on ignoring their health. While doing justice to both their profession and family, they are prone to a lot of medical complications.”

Every woman should have a priority for herself. She adds, “Women need to find time for themselves. Every day, they should do a half hour workout session as well as go for regular health checkups. Adequate breaks are also important. They should have a sense of self care.”

Adopting a healthier lifestyle

Trying to lead a healthier and less stressful life is not a bad thing. Holistic wellness expert Mickey Mehta gives some lifestyle tips:

•Women tend to ignore their health and that is a disaster. Disciple, self love and sleeping early are some of the most primary things they should consider.

•At home, they should do simple yoga exercises like Surya Namaskar, Bhujangasana to improve immunity, little bit of spot jog, and a yoga form where they hug themselves.

ALSO READ: 10 minutes of Surya Namaskar daily is highly beneficial for body and mind, here’s how

•At office, taking the staircase is very important and while coming home in the evening, a 10 minute walk in the garden would add up a lot to the immunity and energy of the person.

•Once or twice a week they should have an all-fruit day to keep their weight in check and keep higher energy liberated within them. They should also pamper themselves with a spa treatment once or twice a week.

•They should do meditation once before sleeping and after waking up. Do seven minutes of observing silence. Settle the mind down and breathe the mind out. Be selfish and serve yourself so much so that you can serve the world better.

The combination of all these things put together will make sure that today’s woman can also be fit and healthy despite so many job roles that she plays. These are the endeavours she should keep integrated.

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The diet to consider

Women should always eat well at every stage of their lives. Dietician Esther John says, “Trying to balance the demands of family and work can make it difficult for any woman to maintain a healthy diet. But the right food can support your mood, boost your energy, and help you maintain a healthy weight.”

She gives some nutrition and diet tips:

•While women tend to need fewer calories than men, their requirements for certain vitamins and minerals are much higher. Hormonal changes associated with menstruation, child-bearing, and menopause mean that women have a higher risk of anaemia, weakened bones, and osteoporosis, requiring a higher intake of nutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin B9 (folate).

•Among other things, you need calcium to build healthy bones and teeth, , regulate the heart’s rhythm, and ensure your nervous system functions properly. Calcium deficiency can lead to, or exacerbate, mood problems such as irritability, anxiety, depression, and sleep difficulties. If you don’t get enough calcium in your diet, your body will take calcium from your bones to ensure normal cell function, which can lead to weakened bones or osteoporosis. Women are at a greater risk than men of developing osteoporosis, so it’s important to get plenty of calcium, in combination with magnesium and vitamin D, to support your bone health.

•Magnesium increases calcium absorption form the blood into the bone. In fact, your body can’t utilize calcium without it. The USDA recommended daily allowance for magnesium is 320 to 400 mg/day. Good sources include leafy green vegetables, summer squash, broccoli, halibut, cucumber, green beans, celery, and a variety of seeds.

•Vitamin D is also crucial to the proper metabolism of calcium. Aim for 600 IU (international units) daily. You can get Vitamin D from about half an hour of direct sunlight, and from foods such as salmon, shrimp, vitamin-D fortified milk, cod, and eggs.

•Some of the best sources of calcium are dairy products. However, dairy products such as whole milk, cheese, and yogurt also tend to contain high levels of saturated fat. The USDA recommends limiting your saturated fat intake to no more than 10% of your daily calories, meaning you can enjoy whole milk dairy in moderation and opt for no- or low-fat dairy products when possible.

•If you are planning pregnancy while working eat organic foods and grass-fed or free-range meat and eggs, in order to limit pollutants and pesticides that may interfere with fertility. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and nicotine as they are known to decrease fertility.

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