Thursday, June 23, 2011

Top Ten Reasons/Factors for Stress in Working Parents

 I started this post with the aim of writing the 10 different stress factors for working mothers, and then realized that the stress factors are common to all working parents irrespective of if it is a man or a woman, more so for all professionals and working people of today’s world. How you plan to manage and avoid these stress factors depend on several personal factors and each individual can look into it in their own way and manage it. If you think any one of the above factors is familiar to your daily lives, it is time to give this post a serious thought!


1. Balancing Act between work and personal lives:


Today, the world is running faster than your thoughts. Traffic signals make you find seconds as longer in the life than anything else. Projects, work deadlines, everything makes you automatically pace with the world around. The way to organize one self to match with the expectation of the work place and family/children become important. Priortize not just the work for the day, but also the attention you need to pay to family and children become important. As long as one can organize, prioritize and pay attention and divide the available time with due diligence gives the best of both worlds

2. Feeling of Anxiety:

The feeling of anxiety to outperform others at work and the feeling of anxiety to prove as the best spouse / best parent all the time, ends up in a deep feelings of anxiety. This anxiety eats away attention to details, makes one feel nervous about everything happening in the day to day life and feel overwhelmed at both ends. At one point, in a urge to please everybody ends up pleasing no body. These feelings of anxious approach everything we do makes us aim at perfection all the time and there by damaging the very essence of the tasks. Understanding that every person cannot give 100% all the time to all things is very important to manage this stress factors.

3. Self pity and guilt consciousness

Every time I update my timesheets in office after a hectic work routine for a week, I feel so bad for myself. I think why I am working so hard, am I doing a thankless job, is this worth giving away my personal time for family and kid etc etc, and this happens to many people around me these days. The feeling of self-pity makes you feel depressed and tired more than the actual work. The guity consciousness that you are not spending enough time with your children makes you feel all the more miserable. Kids these days do understand the parental work pressure and they balance it right from the beginning. It is important for parents to sit and talk to children, help them understand that they are very important in life and they plan quality time with the family.

4. Becoming workaholics and lack of proper management of work

The competition to perform the best and the challenges of outsourcing project, client expectations, organizations widening their horizons in the times of recession and all these economies take toll on the committed people at work. People who take these factors both internal and external to the lines of control become workaholics in the long run. Over a period of time, these workaholics lose focus and attention and then start to bargain for best organized days of work. Proper management of work and organized every day routine makes work life easy and possible for good personal time. Communication, attentive work culture and positive management of work is the key.

5. Unplanned family time and distractions to work

Making a quick and timely calls to take family updates during breaks is always a welcome, but running errands for the family during work hours is something that may not please any bosses. Long personal calls, causal chit chats for long hours, browsing for personal needs, catching up with old friends on facebook and other social networking sites during production work hours is a sure no-no. Making families understand that they will not be able to pay attention to work with the distractions of family during work is very important to avoid the stress that such situations cause at work. Being truthful to personal emergencies is always understood by organizations and cooperated.

6. Continuous work with no vacations and personal time

Few people don’t take breaks or planned vacations for years. Families expected, fight, express it and finally give up with much frustration causing stress to the individuals also. Taking few days vacation and coming back refreshed is the best way to manage stress. That will not only give you energized mind to act fast but also giving you the physical break from the office ergonomics. Playing a cherished game, spending time with spouse for quite dinners, taking kids to beach and visiting old family members can sometimes be a great stress reliever.

7. Travel

In spite the culture of remote work in place in many corporate, travelling has become inevitable in everyone’s life these days. No big corporate are any longer located in the prime areas of the city and the travel to the work locations vary any time between 15 mins to 2 hours. And the traffic woes of today with the increased vehicles on the road add to the stress. If you job needs you to travel, that adds more to this stress on move. Taking public transportation or private transportation , it has its own levels of stress. Public commutation has too much crowd, inconvenient timings and above all women face all kinds of stress especially in trains and buses in India. Private transportation takes the tension to calm driving, cultural changes, increased cost of fuel, unorganized traffic etc. Planning ahead, avoiding drunken driving, maintaining traffic rules, following safety norms are few ways to avoid this stress.

8. Productivity

What you learn, what you work, what you earn and what you give are all correlated with one another. Right opportunities at the right time do not happen always to all people, but how you maintain your best at all times, consistency in your performance, practice and thinking is what makes your productivity. The stress and struggle to maintain this consisitency, reliability and integraty is a continuous factor for stress in lot of working professional today. To perform this and also inject the need of these values into children add to our stress. The essence of this factor is not to cause to the stress in reality but should be a way to get out of it. Productivity should not become a stress factor instead in should contribute to growth.

9. Multi Tasking and losing focus

Moving targets, in both personal and professional lives, changing priorities, reorganizing day to day activities cause lot of stress in individuals today. This add to the working parents daily woes. Multitasking is no more an additional ability, but the very walk of life today. If you cannot do it, you are just out of the game. Staying focused while doing 10 things at a time is the key stress factor. But not paying attention or giving focus is worse. So doing one task after the other, managing multi tasks with care and staying focused is very very important to stop making this a stress factor.

10. Not giving time for self

One desperate friend called me at 10 pm in the night to share the life’s burden and to lean on a shoulder and ears that can care. After 4 hours of talking into the night, this friend thanked me and said that I blessed him with the most precious gift in his whole life, I was confused. He said that the best of the gifts one can give to other in these hectic days is ‘Time’ and time to listen, share and react in a way to comfort the other person. Similarly if one is not able give time to oneself’s personal interests either in music, sports, hobbies of any kind, or simply time to relax for few hours and do nothng can contribute to greater levels of stress. Able to relax and not having a train of thoughts running all the time is also a best way to avoid stress. Meditation, exercise, eating right food, spending time with friends, visiting places of worship, listening to favorite music, watching favorite tv shows or visiting places on vacation, this personal time can be anything and even if it means giving oneself few hours a week will make a lot of sense to one’s life these days












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