I work within a multi-cultural environment with women from many different walks of life. Each one of them living as an expat for their own unique (and sometimes intriguing!) reasons.
One thing that we all seem to have in common are the barriers that stop us from implementing stress management strategies.
My most recent workshop on Stress Management for new leaders really made this hit home. There we were, 8 intelligent, strong, independent women working as leaders within our own fields of expertise, who were all very able to create a list as long as their arm on Stress Management Strategies (as expected, we’ve all read the articles on “manage your stress”) however the problem is they cannot put the strategies into practice – or that they have tried but have never been able to sustain it.
So what are the 3 common barriers that are stopping these women?
Stress comes from within, its an emotional response and without a space to let it out it or to fully express how we feel it will build up and up inside of you.
The build up of stress has so many negative side effects on the body both physically and mentally.
Physically it can lead to
adrenal fatigue (1)
high blood pressure
immune system suppression, to name a few.
Mentally it can lead to
effecting cognitive functioning
When we are already in a state of stress it is very unlikely we are going to be able to start implementing stress management strategies, as you can see from the list above, our body is already going through quite a lot. The last thing it is going to do is provide the energy to come up with a logical strategy to follow!
What I have come to discover on how to overcome all 3 barriers isn’t by implementing new strategies, its about creating a connection with others.
The most viable and sustainable solution that these women all agreed on was the impact the support network provided within the workshop instantly made them feel less stressed and empowered to act on the Stress Management strategies listed. (Does anyone else hear the Spice Girls slogan ‘girl power’ running through their mind right now?!)
Feel empowered to take steps to ensure you manage the stressors in your life with confidence and control.
A support network is, to put it simply, having a safe space to share how you feel to other women, without judgment or consequences. Women with experience, women that have been through ‘it’ before, women who understand how you are feeling….and I can guarantee there will be plenty.
Sharing creates an equality, the freedom of laying all of the cards on the table and showing your hand and having those around you do the same.
Just knowing that you are not alone and being able to share how you really feel in a judgment free zone can be an instant relief of stress.
The experience of just being able to ‘let it out’ and to hear that you are not alone, instantly boosts that confidence that has been knocked from the effect stress has had on your body.
This process can actually make you feel happier, less clouded and regain a sense of clarity.
If you feel that a support network is what you need right now please come and join my tribe of health seekers by signing up at the bottom of this post.
Each month you will receive a newsletter filled with tips on creating a healthier and happier lifestyle and be the first to know about upcoming workshops and events.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for support on any of the topics listed above.
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