Climbing the career ladder is an entirely difference experience for women. The expectations placed on working mothers are often unrealistic and rigid, forcing them to strike a delicate balance between professional ambitions and family responsibilities. Women may also battle gender stereotypes which can lead to feelings of isolation and under-appreciation. Sexual discrimination of varying degrees is still very real and negatively impacts women’s mental and physical health. The result is an unrelenting juggle of time and energy, leading to exhaustion and, in the worst case scenario, burnout.
Burnout is a very real workplace issue. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines it as an ‘occupational phenomenon’ that results from chronic workplace stress that has not been effectively managed. Although not classified as a medical condition, prolonged exposure could result in a number of physical, physiological and emotional problems including insomnia, fatigue, muscle aches and headaches, high blood pressure, depression and even heart disease, to name but a few.
So what can we do to ensure we are managing our stress effectively?
Here are some helpful tips:
For women who are feeling the stress of everyday life, exercise can be a powerful stress reliever. Try out some of these stress-busting workouts at Virgin Active:
Why it works to reduce stress: GRID is a High Intensity Interval Training group class that alternates between weight-training and cardio, with short rests in between. The result is a workout that offers the same benefits of longer exercise sessions in less time (45 minutes or less). It’s short, sweet, pumps up your body’s endorphin levels, and you get to work out with other members, improving your mood for the rest of the day.
Why it works to reduce stress: Whether you’re punching a bag or jabbing the air to some powerful beats, nothing gets your heart rate and endorphins going quite like a Boxing class. Punch it out in a Kick, Punch or Rumble class. You’ll leave these classes lighter, brighter and happier.
Why it works to reduce stress: It’s easy to do and provides moments of mindful peace in the water.
Water isn’t just a place to exercise, it’s also a sanctuary where you can disengage from the stress of everyday life and slip into an immersive form of mindfulness – the weight of the world becomes significantly less when you’re weightless in water.
Why it works to reduce stress: Yoga postures are a form of strength training, making you more resilient and flexible, which in turn relieves physical tension. It also uses deep breathing, which triggers the body’s relaxation response. Studies have shown that yoga reduces blood pressure too.
But perhaps yoga’s biggest benefit is the mental focus it promotes. Focus is key to stress management.
Being a successful and strong woman doesn’t mean never showing vulnerability. In fact, it is often this vulnerability that makes women such incredible leaders. The key is understanding that no two women are the same and a space must be made where women can flourish because they’ve found that all-important work life balance.
All of these classes are easily bookable through the new Virgin Active App. What’s more, if you commit to getting active and access your club twice a week, you’ll earn a FREE smoothie.
Being a successful and strong woman doesn’t mean never showing vulnerability. In fact, it is often this vulnerability that makes women such powerful influences and forces for good in the world. The key however, is for women to understand that in order for them to be the best version of themselves, they need to prioritise self-care as much as possible.