7 Women Share Their Tried-And-Tested Stress Management Tips
7 minutes read
Stress is a survival mechanism – a biological reaction to help you cope with danger. But somehow, in the 21st century, it has turned into a condition that lasts well beyond the 20-minute fight-or-flight response it was meant to be.
Modern life is constantly hurling stressors at us – big and small. Everything from constant notifications and deadlines to urban loneliness and the ‘fear of missing out’, world news, wars and pandemics have increased stress levels and left us feeling overwhelmed.
Did you know that stress is the cause (or one of the primary causes) of about 90% of illnesses and diseases? April is considered to be Stress Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about this phenomenon that spares no one in our modern world.
This year’s theme is ‘community.’ “As we emerge from the pandemic, it’s vital that the community support experienced by many people during this challenging time continues,” says The Stress Management Society. “Although restrictions have mainly been lifted, people need support now more than ever as they adjust to a new way of living.”
So, at Beauty Daily, we looked around our community and asked seven women about their thoughts on the subject of stress management. Here’s what we learned.
Dr Mithu Storoni MD PhD
Physician, Researcher and Best-Selling Author of Stress-Proof
“Stress is a critical signal in our dialogue with the world. I used to interpret stress as a danger or alarm signal, but I now treat it as feedback from the world, as a nudge to do things differently or change direction. Seeing stress as an asset rather than a liability has changed how I respond to stress and has helped me recover faster.
Rather than fight the physical sensations of stress, I try to accept them, knowing they are a sign of my brain working hard to mobilise resources, turning me into a temporary superwoman so I can conquer a challenge and master the situation. Stressful experiences, whether large or small, have almost always been opportunities for life’s lessons. Each has left me with a kernel of wisdom to do things better, or differently, next time.” – Dr Mithu Storoni MD PhD
Dr Zainab Laftah
Consultant Dermatologist at HCA The Shard
“As a consultant dermatologist my job comes with daily challenges. I compartmentalise these daily stresses by planning ahead and organising my tasks in multiple categories ensuring those that are urgent are dealt with initially. I ensure each evening I take a couple of hours out to relax and refocus by watching my favourite series, a movie or reading a good novel.” – Dr Zainab Laftah
Hotelier and CEO of Avaton Luxury Hotel & Villas – Relais & Châteaux and honoured with Forbes 30 under 30’ status
“My journey towards a less stressful life has been an ongoing self-discovering process. Some years ago, I was one of those people saying that ‘I don’t feel stress’ until one day I could not stand the mental and physical pain I was unconsciously causing myself. But with the help of a life coach and a lot of self-improvement readings, I was able to help myself out of that dark phase. I got to understand the people around me and myself.
I learnt to be grateful, present, and mindful and understood that it is okay to delegate tasks to others without having to control everything. As a result, I noticed my creativity bloomed, the efficiency and productivity of my professional life have increased, and I became a happier and more positive person. Many people are struggling with stress both mentally and physically, but I think for some it may be a wake-up call to change their lives for the better.” – Natalia Chantzi
Her Highness Sayyida Basma Al Said
Omani Royal, Psychotherapist and Founder of Whispers of Serenity Clinic, Mental Health Advocate and International Speaker
“Stress has always been perceived as something negative but by changing the way we look at it, we can gain something positive out of it. For instance, when we talk in front of a huge crowd, or prepare for a difficult exam, it pushes us to work harder and as a result stress has done us good. It also helps us get away from danger. But what I do personally with stress or fear is to use it as fuel to make me productive. So instead of seeing it as a negative, I use it as energy, and it helps.” – Her Highness Sayyida Basma Al Said
Founder & Creative Director of E.L.V Denim brand, a zero-waste fashion brand found on Net-a-Porter
“I am continually learning in this space! I use the Calm app and try to breathe when overwhelmed. I am also learning not to reply with speed, as some emails require thought! Plus, removing email notifications have really helped.” – Anna Foster
Co-Founder of AllBright, a global career network for women
“I think of balance as more of a work/life ‘blend’. I’ve always found that my work and life blend best when I love what I do. I spent about 20-years sitting at a desk in an office. These days I try not to be too desk-bound. I start each day with exercise; I also try and take a long walk every day, which is easier now I have a dog (yes, I got a dog in lockdown!) and work calls work just as well when I’m walking in the park as when I’m at my desk. I don’t mind doing work meetings at the weekends if I get to see my children more during the week. As a co-founder and CEO, you’re always working, and I love my work, but I also try and ensure it fits around the other elements of my life.” – Anna Jones
Clarins Training Manager
“I’m a complete escapist. If I’m not going on holiday to escape everyday stress, I create holidays in my brain by reading crime novels and watching period dramas – stories that are completely different to my daily life. And I’m always finding little blocks of time to read. I read in the bath, in queues at the supermarket, if I’m cleaning, I’ll have an audio book on…
Also, if I’m dealing with a particularly overwhelming situation, I like to ring someone who has an entirely different perspective on things than I do. It always helps.” – Charlotte McHale
A quick exercise to cope with stress
In her book The Joy Journal For Grown-Ups, author Laura Brand details a breathing technique she learned from her hypno-birthing teacher Hollie De Cruz. She realised that the method that’s meant to get rid of unnecessary adrenaline also works in other anxiety-inducing situations.
It goes as follows (excerpt from The Joy Journal For Grown-Ups):
- Sit in a comfortable chair. Put both your feet on the ground and close your eyes. Be still for a moment.
- Now, with your jaw relaxed and your mouth closed, breathe in through your nose for four slow counts and out through your nose for six slow counts.
- Repeat this several times.
- Once you have got into a rhythm with your breathing and it is happening without thought, I’d like you to note how your feet feel; what is the texture, surface and temperature of the ground?
- Now note the sensations in your hands; if they are on your lap or on a surface, what does that feel like to touch?
- Next you can tune into your surroundings with your ears; what can you hear? Listen closely.
- Finally, open your eyes and, without moving your head, look at the colours, the light and dark spaces, the shapes and patterns around you.
- At this point, if you want to write down your observations, feel free to do so, before carrying on with your day.
You can buy The Joy Journal For Grown-Ups by Laura Brand here.
Need more tips on coping with stress? Find them here: 6 Expert-Backed Ways On How To Relax Your Mind