Tag Archive for stress

Women Who are Juggling Work and Family

women juggling work family

According to the United States Census Bureau, as of October 1, 2008 there were over 154 million women in America, nearly four million more than the total number of men in the country during that same time period. More than half of the women were mothers; several operated their own businesses. As a whole, women-owned businesses employed more than seven million people. In fact, over $939 billion was generated from women-owned businesses in 2002. Additionally, women comprised 59% of America’s workforce which includes self-employed and other work forms.

Demands on Women to Perform

An August 2008 Consensus report stated that 90% of employed Americans commute to work each day. The average length of the daily commutes is from less than 20 minutes to 45 minutes or more. For mothers, before they begin their commute they wake, dress, feed and get their children off to school. It is no small wonder that working mothers are able to maintain their health and sanity.

It is not easy to put in a full day at the office, clean a home, cook hot meals, check a child’s homework, get that hour workout in at the gym and make it to the Saturday family get together at one’s mother-in-law’s wearing a wide grin. Yet, millions of women pull this off every day. Consequences of this hurried life are varied. For many women the madness starts in the morning.

Steps Working Mothers Can Take to Ease the Morning Rush

To help smooth out the at-home morning rush, climb out of bed half an hour before waking one’s children. Give children plenty of time to prepare for daycare or school. Rushed children can become agitated and irritable which only increases the stress a woman experiences. Take advantage of the school breakfast program. Prepare school lunches at night prior to going to bed. Fill the car with gas on the way home from work. Of course, married women should solicit and receive support from their husbands on a daily basis.

Working mothers will also benefit from setting aside an hour a day to relax and do an activity that they enjoy. Do not wash the dishes. Do not sweep the porch. Do not write out checks to pay monthly expenses. Relax. Make this one’s own time. Go on the front porch and sip a favorite tea. Put on headphones and listen to a smooth jazz CD. Stretch out across the sofa and flip through an enticing novel. If met with resistance from other family members, clearly tell them why one is resting and inform them that this hour is going to be incorporated into the daily routine. With consistent effort, the pattern will stick. After all, women aren’t born rushing around as little girls. Women learn this behavior and can therefore, unlearn it.

Change One’s Behavior and Influence Others to Follow Suit

Modern day demands placed upon working mothers are not easy to meet. Many of these demands are placed on working mothers from within. Women observe their own mothers and grandmothers being the jack-of-all-trades and making efforts to insure that everyone in the family is happy, fed and cared for. However, these demands can take a toll on working mothers and create stress.

To ease these burdens and reduce or eliminate stress, working mothers might well benefit from waking earlier than usual, giving their children enough time to prepare for daycare and school without feeling rushed and take care of regular activities such as putting gas in the car and preparing school lunches at night. Build in an hour a day to relax and engage in pleasant activities. This might be one of the most challenging tasks for a working mother as many women have a strong belief that they must stay busy and work for their families 24/7. If not, that familiar enemy called “guilt” may appear.

Overcome this by starting new patterns. A working mother should clearly communicate to her family that she is going to rest for an hour a day and then be consistent and do just this. In time, working mothers and their families will see that this beneficial change is not threatening and that the change, in fact, comes with a bounty of rewards. These positive yet simple behavioral changes will yield surprising and beneficial results for working mothers who are juggling a myriad of daily tasks.

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Urinary Incontinence

urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence is not a topic that turns up in most social conversations. In fact, it is an embarrassing affliction that affects nearly 30% of American women, and most oftentimes tends to go untreated for this very reason. Understanding incontinence is the first step in getting help and treating the problem.

There are different types of incontinence, each with easy-to-recognize symptoms:

  • Stress Incontinence – Urine leakage, either in drips or spurts, which occurs from stress on the bladder, usually from sneezing, coughing, laughing, late-term pregnancy, exercising or lifting heavy objects.
  • Urge Incontinence (also known as Overactive Bladder) – The inability to hold urine long enough to reach a toilet.
  • Overflow – The bladder often feels full, creating almost constant urgency, yet with very little output.
  • Combination – Several people suffer combinations of urinary incontinence.

The causes of urinary incontinence are many. It was once believed that age was a factor, however, according to the National Institute on Aging, this is not the case. Studies have shown that urinary incontinence can arise in anyone at any age from one or more of the afflictions listed below:

  • Damaged nerves that control the bladder
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Medications
  • Constipation
  • Tumors in or near the bladder, spinal cord or brain
  • Weak or inactive bladder muscles
  • Pregnancy (can resolve after childbirth)

Some of the problems that can be associated with a loss of bladder control are lack of sleep, social anxiety, decrease in sexual activity, urinary tract infections, rashes or sores, and depression, to name a few.

Before seeking a doctor, take this Self-Help Test to determine if there is a need for treatment. If it has been determined that there is an incontinence problem, there are medical tests that can determine the cause(s). Some are quite simple, such as urine tests, and others are more invasive, such as blood tests or tests that measure how well the bladder empties. A doctor will determine which tests are needed, based on the answers provided upon a medical history and examination of the patient.

Treatments are varied, depending on the type of incontinence that is diagnosed. Below are some of the treatments prescribed for incontinence:

  • Kegel Exercises – Used for strengthening the pelvic floor.
  • Bladder Control Training – Retraining the bladder by scheduling several visits to the bathroom each day. This type of treatment works well with the use of a Void Diary and taking careful notes of the times, urgency and amount of urine voided.
  • Medication – Doctors may prescribe medications to block the nerve receptors that receive or send signals to the bladder.
  • Surgery – When all else fails, surgery may be necessary. A surgeon may use a sling to suspend the bladder in place. The surgeon will discuss all options available to help the patient make an informed decision.

Preventing urinary incontinence is simple:

  • Fluids – Less is not more. Be sure to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day. This helps helps the kidneys to function properly and keeps the bladder trained to recognize the need to void. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which promote extra urine production. Other drinks, such as acidic juices (tomato and grapefruit) can irritate the bladder. Avoid these drinks.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Even a few extra pounds can put pressure on the bladder and create incontinence. Exercise and diet are key components to a healthy bladder.

If any of the above symptoms applies to you or someone you know, the best course of action is to contact a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Incontinence doesn’t have to be a barrier to living a normal life.

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What is Agoraphobia

agoraphobia

Agoraphobia arises from an internal anxiety condition that becomes so intense that a person with this disorder feels a loss of control. This fear then turns into a pattern of avoidant behavior. Many people who experience agoraphobia oftentimes fear the outside world. They are afraid of being in places where help is not available, making them feel trapped. Most agoraphobics become housebound because it is the only place where they feel safe and secure. Some of the commonly feared places are:

  • elevators
  • bridges
  • shopping malls
  • sporting events
  • lines

The exact cause of this is unknown, but many develop agoraphobia after having a severe panic attack. Affected people will often avoid places or situations that have triggered an attack for fear that it may happen again. Many agoraphobics continue to be in a constant agonizing state of anxious anticipation due to these worries.

How Agoraphobia is Diagnosed

Mental health professionals frequently find it difficult to diagnose agoraphobia because it is often associated with severe panic attacks and acute anxiety. However, by asking questions, performing a physical examination, and through personal history from patients, doctors can begin to diagnose the disorder.

Family members and friends can also help professionals in the diagnoses of agoraphobia because they spend more time with the patient and can frequently witness the symptoms that a doctor may not be able to detect on the first visit. An example of this is a spouse may notice that the person affected by agoraphobia may become more and more reluctant to leave the house.

Symptoms and Risk Factors

However, there are several symptoms that can help doctors better diagnose the disorder. Symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • feeling that the body or environment is not real
  • becoming dependent on others
  • becoming housebound for long periods of time
  • fear of crowded places/ public places where escape may be difficult causing a loss of control
  • feeling helpless and anxious
  • experiencing dizziness, lightheadedness, and a rapid heart rate

Some phobias can affect job performance, as well as social and interpersonal relationships. Many who have the disorder oftentimes become housebound for years. Some of the risk factors associated with agoraphobia are:

  • nervousness and anxiety
  • extreme stress due to certain situations
  • heredity
  • being between the ages of 18 and 35
  • personality disorders

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to help people with agoraphobia to learn how to function effectively. However, because the phobia is often accompanied by other disorders (panic disorder and anxiety disorder), mental health professionals have to treat those as well. There are three types of treatment: therapy, medication, or a combination of both.

Therapy is normally the treatment of choice of mental health professionals. Cognitive behavioral therapy is used to help teach relaxation techniques and allows the patient to face the fear that may be causing the disorder. It prevents the patient from falling back into their avoidant behavior by helping them become aware of the situations that might trigger an attack.

Anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications can also be used. These kinds of medications can help make situations lose their intensity and allow the patient to cope with the stress and fear that the phobia creates.

Agoraphobia is a serious and severe disorder that affects less than one percent of the American population (Agoraphobia, John L. Miller, MD). The phobia is not something that should be ignored or taken lightly. People who are experiencing these symptoms and who have high anxiety levels should seek out a trained professional as soon as possible.

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