Common Health Concerns Of Working Mothers And How to Counter These
Working mothers are those super women who take care of the baby, do daily household chores, fulfill professional commitments, but many a times all this comes at the cost of their health. As per a survey in UK, more than 80% of working women were found to be suffering from at least one stress-related health issue. It is not difficult to imagine the condition of women in a country like ours, where the major onus of domestic responsibilities falls on a woman whether working or not.
The pressure to juggle professional responsibilities and family responsibilities is further augmented in our culture, where women are looked upon as ‘do-it-all’ goddesses and discouraged from speaking about their anxieties or mental burdens, since they are supposed to have everything under control.
Stress, lack of sleep, the absence of physical activity, long sitting hours, workload, poor eating habits, are enough reasons to cause serious illness in working moms. The working moms are prone to the health disorders like anxiety, depression, heart related diseases, obesity, insomnia, asthma, arthritis, psychological issues, high blood pressure, thyroid, body ache, and fatigue.
There has been an upsurge in the cases of heart attacks and heart ailments in the last decade especially in the case of working mothers. As per a study done on the working women in Harvard, a woman with job stress has a 40% higher chances of a cardiovascular disease. Poor eating habits, sometimes no eating at all, strained lifestyle and no physical activity can lead to the heart problems. Excessive work load and pressure from the bosses and peers causes high blood pressure, fatigue, anxiety and heart-related diseases.
Also, sometimes women feel that by doing everything, they are actually unable to do anything. It is not uncommon for a working woman to feel that one of her most primary responsibility, her kid is getting neglected and becoming the victim of her frustration. This causes guilt and depression in most of the working moms.
Sitting glued to the chair in front of the computer screens blocks the movement of the body and they end up having problems like obesity, arthritis, and poor vision. Studies at Harvard have linked long sitting to diseases ranging from type II Diabetes, heart diseases and dementia.
Since they often rush to the office in the morning, they do not get time to exercise and prepare a healthy meal for themselves to carry to the office, the only option left with them is to eat unhealthy junk and fast foods worsening many health problems.
You cannot expect a working mom to rest even at home because then all her time is dedicated to the baby. Especially for young mothers, attending the child and feeding the infant in the night at regular intervals leads to sleep deprivation. It is not uncommon for the mothers to go to bed very late at night after managing everything from dinner, preparation for next day’s meals to kid’s school bags and dresses often getting much less than the required 8 hours of sleep every day. Sleep deprivation can cause heart diseases, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.
How to counter?
There are few things you can do to ease your strained routine:
- Flexi hours: Look for an employer that offers flexi hours. There are many big organizations that allow you to come at your time. They have an eight-hour schedule and you can opt for the time slot comfortable to you. Most of the moms who are unable to spend the evening time with their babies as they come late from the office can chose to have a morning shift. Else, if you find yourself comfortable and more energetic in later half of the day, you can opt for an afternoon shift which will also give you time to exercise, prepare your meals, feed breakfast to your baby, drop him to day care or school etc.
- Part time (PT) job or Work from Home (WFH): You cannot ask for anything better than working at the comfort of your home. Many IT companies offer an option of work from home especially to the working moms. Picking for work from home option will solve half of your problem. This way you will be able to stay connected to your child and yet not compromise on professional success. Another option is part time job. The job hours will be reduced and so will be the stress.
- Involve your partner: Who says doing the household chores and managing the child is solely the responsibility of women? Since you are working too, the domestic chores must be divided between the two. Laundry, cleaning, bathing the child, setting the table, and helping in the child’s homework etc can be easily shared.
- Rest and Relax: Go out on weekends to completely detox yourself from the work. If needed, take an extra day off once a month, no big deal! Weekend getaway once a month is a great idea to relieve yourself from stress and to feel rejuvenated. Don’t forget to switch off your cell phone. Do take the nanny along who takes care of the childwhile youunwind.
- Keep moving: Sitting on the chair for hours is the root cause of obesity. Take a 5 min walk every hour. If possible, rather than driving or taking a public transport, walk to your office. Avoid lifts and take stairs.
- Eat Healthy: It will just take maximum ten minutes to prepare a salad or a multigrain sandwich. Seek help of your maid. Stress and fast food is a lethal combination, hence stay away!
- Take mommy time out: Take at least a 30 minute break, from all your responsibilities. Reserve a place at your home, as you me-time space, where you can put books and paintings you love, potted plants etc. This can be your refuge for the break. Listen to music, read a book. Just unwind.
- Exercise together: Plan healthy activities where you can involve your children, be it cycling or swimming classes.