Dealing with stress

Stress is an unavoidable part of life. Unfortunately, we cannot escape to a situation without any stress and still remain a part of the social fabric of society. Society is full of stimuli, most of which imposes on us and forces us to respond. Being able to respond correctly is a sign of maturity on our part.

We experience stress because we are in new situations that we have not quite known fully yet how to respond. For example, if a work colleague says something unkind to us, whether inadvertently or otherwise, we may not have the experience or the knowledge yet to know whether to speak harshly in return, to ignore it, or have the words to rebuke yet in a manner that does not seem anti-social. And that lack of awareness causes us, when we rethink the events over and over again, a disconnect between what we feel and how we think we should act and it causes stress.

There are some that claim that if we shut ourselves off from society we would be rid of stress and that would allow us to function better. If you think about it, that could only end up being a cause of stress, because we would still need to remain in a social world – unless you had vast plots of land to grow your own food and could survive isolated. But even if you were comfortable with being on your own, you might find yourself going nuts with the silence around you, and it would not be good for your mental health.

What can you do when you are stressed? Investing in a skill is a good idea. You can take up candle-making, knitting, or join a choir. It may be said that the mental loops we run in our minds thinking over situations can be cleared and calmed by doing something physical, to bleed off the stress because any nervous energy is worked out of the system. You may even find it worthwhile to learn the piano or another musical instrument. According to a piano teacher in Crouch End adults learn faster and it is not necessarily the case that if you missed the boat as a child, you will progress at a slower rate. In fact, your experience and maturity will help you grasp concepts quicker, and the confidence and joy it gives you may give you an outlet for your stress.

If you suffer from stress, you don’t necessarily have to sit in silence and wait to burn it off. You can take action to deal with it. Learning a new skill can distract from the worrying situation at hand and give you an outlet for your frustration.

Positive and Negative Stress

So I haven’t posted for a long time – but life has been busy and stressful – which leads me to my latest topic.

Stress is a serious problem. And we are the only ones who can solve it. As much as we would like our workplaces to hire more staff, fire all the difficult people, and give us more time off and better pay, it’s not going to happen. Work will always have some element of stress, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We need some level of stress to help us feel motivated and get work done. This is called eustress or “good stress”. We don’t want to eliminate this energizing stress at work because it keeps us engaged. In contrast, we do want to reduce the negative stress that work generates. Often good stress can shift into negative stress when there is too much of it. It’s great to have a project to work on and deadlines to work to, but it’s not so great to have five projects to work on and five impossible deadlines to meet.

Identify what your stress triggers are as well as what gives you energy. I love autonomy, creative work, helping people, and getting things done. These things make me feel energized and engaged. I dislike and am not very good at paperwork, logistics, or anything to do with technology. I can’t avoid those tasks as they are part of my job, but I can minimize how much time I spend on them. I lasted three months in a job as a receptionist because every task that the job required wasn’t a strength of mine. I didn’t enjoy what I was doing or the environment I was working in – everyone else was stressed out too. I quit, went back to school and found a different job. My new job was a better fit for my natural strengths and was far more satisfying.

It can be terrifying to quit but it’s worth it to find a job that is right for you. If you have trouble identifying what your strengths and passions are, an excellent and affordable tool to help you do so is the Gallup Strengthsfinder. It’s based on research, accurate and affordable.

Knowing your strengths and passions, and working with them, can significantly reduce your negative stress and increase your positive eustress. We need to pay more attention to our workloads and notice when our “eustress” starts tipping over into stress. Ideally, we want to pull it back as soon as we notice signs that we are feeling stressed out or anxious. The sooner we become aware of this shift, and seek to balance the situation, the easier it is to manage.

Most of us know our individual signs of a rising stress level – a kink in the neck, impatience, irritability, difficulty falling asleep, feeling cranky, or frequent headaches. Learn your stress signs, and when you start to see them, do everything you can to reduce your stress. Unfortunately, many people let their stress pile up and then they end up burned out and exhausted. There are negative consequences of ignoring your stress, including major health issues, relationship breakdown and job loss.

Working more than 10 hours a day is associated with a 60 percent jump in risk of cardiovascular issues. 10 percent of those working 50 to 60 hours report relationship problems; the rate increases to 30 percent for those working more than 60 hours. Working more than 40 hours a week is associated with increased alcohol and tobacco consumption, as well as unhealthy weight gain in men and depression in women. Little productive work occurs after 50 hours per week.

Nothing is worth compromising our health or our relationships. It’s crucial that we recognise stress and act to reduce it, as soon as we notice that it is impacting us.

Work is only one element of life, and not the most important one. As one of my clients so eloquently put it, you can always find another job but you only have one family.

There are many sources of workplace stress: feeling overwhelmed, feeling disempowered, a lack of clear roles and expectations, an unrealistic workload, workplace politics and interpersonal conflict. It’s unlikely that you are going to eliminate all of these sources of negative stress. That is simply reality. Rather than hoping for some fantasy world where there is no stress, what we need are tools to manage these stressors so they don’t have as much impact on us.

If you find yourself dealing with overwhelming stress, speak to someone. A listening ear is always helpful and can provide advice or an alternative view to things.

Gender inequalities in the workplace are perpetuated from childhood

Women’s careers aren’t just in the ether, they’re on the front pages of newspapers, inside glossy magazines, on the radio, across the internet and they’re being discussed on a daily basis in governments all around the world. It’s amazing that there’s so much buzz around women and careers; people are really talking about women’s rights at work, and attitudes are changing.

Things are getting really exciting for women at work. Sure, if you look at gender-split job statistics, the situation is pretty much as depressing as it’s ever been. But – BIG BUT – the John stat doesn’t account for what’s swirling around the media, and is inside the meeting rooms and minds of career folk (women and men) across the globe. Women have been legally entitled to the same respect, pay and job titles as our male friends and peers for many years and slowly but surely the reality is catching up with the legal framework. We want equality, but we want something more than that too: we want to stay uniquely and wonderfully female. The same pay, yes, opportunities, of course, but we don’t want to have to abandon our femininity at the office revolving door. For us, gender parity does not imply gender uniformity.

While everyone deserves to be received and treated equally at work, women must do it their own way, because being a woman is part of what makes you, you. The side-by-side vision of a naked female and a naked male validates the simple fact of life: we are different versions of the same species. There’s the obvious stuff and then there are the mysterious workings inside our heads. Our brain is arguably the most important thing about us. It makes us human and is the instigator of everything that we think and do. It’s our life control centre, and science tells us that for men and women there are brain wiring variations.

In the past, we’ve been wedded to the notion that men have better connectivity within each hemisphere, whilst women have better connectivity between the hemispheres. In an everyday sense, this explained why men excelled at spatial awareness and women at social cognition and multitasking. Neuroscience is notoriously complex but the latest large-scale research shows that gender brain differences may not be as clear-cut as we were led to believe. While some recent studies suggest no significant difference in crucial parts of the brain at all, the most recent research leads to the centre of the brain – the hippocampus, the part associated with emotion and memory. This is usually larger in men than women, but, without wanting to get too technical, some women have a larger, more male-style hippocampus and some men have one that is smaller and more female in style. This suggests the idea of a continuum of femaleness to maleness for the entire brain. Scientists found that the majority of the brains studied were a mosaic of male and female structures, meaning there is no one type of male or female brain.

I like this because it validates our own stance of overlap. The most successful person in the workplace, research says, is the woman who retains her female brain but who isn’t afraid to borrow some stereotypically male traits when the opportunity requires it. Success isn’t about pitting yourself against a man, it’s about learning to be your best – it’s about finding your place on the continuum and making it rock. Interestingly, brains aren’t fixed organs, they are constantly evolving and changing as we age, depending on how we use them. Neuroplasticity, as it is called, in part explains why little girls end up studying languages and the arts and little boys get filtered into STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects that frequently lead to more lucrative careers. Repetition reinforces the networks within our brains: baby girls and baby boys might start off with exactly the same brain software, but over time, as we unwittingly encourage boys towards Lego and trucks and girls into social situations that require capable communication skills, the map of association in our childhood brains is sculpted so that the function of the hardware is constantly altered by experience. We lead our girls to dolls and our boys to the top of trees, and then we wonder why society ends up treating women and men differently.

Hormones also play a part in this lifelong divide, as does parental nurture. More interestingly, though, this has a much more subtle impact – it defines what we believe about ourselves. We self-stereotype against ourselves as women, and then we live up to these restrictions.

There is a recent study using Asian-American women that perfectly illustrates the point. The group was divided and set a maths test. Just before the test commenced, half of the group were reminded that they were Asian, invoking the stereotype of Asians having a high maths ability. This half did better in the test. However, when they were reminded of being female (which invokes the stereotype of poor maths performance), they scored lower on the test than the control group. The point is that while men do tend to outperform women in assessments of mathematic ability, for example using the test results of American SATs exams, in reality women aren’t actually worse at maths (see here), we’re just stereotyped into thinking that way.

In the workplace, this presents as women not reaching for leadership positions, or being too conservative in their entrepreneurial expectations for the simple reason that we believe that we don’t belong at the top. We aren’t all professors in waiting, but we should all be able to imagine ourselves where we really want to be at work. Not where society or our stereotyped brains expect us to land. Your career brain, the one you rely on to muster confidence, the one that assists you in awkward networking situations, pay negotiations and everything else in between, may not currently be on your side and thats in part due to stereotyping and nurture. When you know the reasoning behind where your brain is at, it allows you to make positive changes to redirect those channels – to change the hardware, so that your brain (your unconscious thinking) is aligned to your reach-for-the-stars career dreams.

Using colour to bring out your traits

These days, among other things, there is such a vast selection of clothing options that every one of us has the possibility of finding items that bring out the best in us. Despite this, however, so many of us find ourselves confronting the daily dilemma of “What am I going to wear today?”, and all too often our choices leave us underwhelmed or at least partially so.

We often see young women in the street wearing clothes that are perfectly formed for their physique, each one of them wearing up-to-the-minute fashion, and yet they are anything but alluring or beautiful. The reason for these failures lies essentially in the fact that when we follow the trends, we very often find ourselves forgetting the importance of sticking to our own style, which is fundamental if we want to craft an image that not only keeps us satisfied but also profoundly reflects us, highlighting our physique as well as our character. Only style, in the end, is able to fully bring out our best. As Coco Chanel said, “Fashion changes, but style endures”. And so it’s style, not fashion, that we have to follow.

Finding your own style is, at the end of the day, really quite simple. There’s just one key: truly embracing your own sense of femininity. In truth, there are many ways to be a woman, and each one of these perfectly corresponds to a well-defined style born from the fusion of our aesthetic taste and our own personality. It’s precisely because of this that we can say that it’s enough to simply reach into our own way of being a woman and our character to find the style that brings out the most in us—the one that fits us the best.

But what does that even mean? It means, in other words, that if we consciously gear our aesthetic choices toward styles that reflect who we are, with just a teensy bit of effort we will be able to achieve our most personalized style, which will have a double advantage.

On the one hand, it will help us make the most out of ourselves aesthetically, and on the other hand, it will help us understand ourselves even better, something that can only happen if our style is in sync with our nature. In selecting our look—for example, when we pick out our daily outfit—personality is of far more importance than the use of aesthetic ideals, which may be formally irreproachable but are not personalized in any way. I’m sure you’ve seen a friend for whom look is usually not of huge importance all dressed up for an important occasion and looking no more attractive than usual and even looking clumsy and impeded by clothes in which she clearly feels uncomfortable. This is the most evident proof of how important it is to always follow your own personal style, one that descends from your own inner nature and personality, pairing this rule with some necessary technical suggestions to enhance your physical characteristics.

In and of itself, as you can see, the concept is pretty simple. What’s a bit less simple is translating it into something that can be readily put into use. To better understand what this means, let’s try to shed some light on it with a comparison of the colour of a simple piece of clothing. Take an everlasting colour: blue, for example. Without a doubt, this is a classic colour that goes well with practically anything, one that everyone tends to like.

Each one of us, however, will use the colour blue in a slightly different way. This is because each one of us will chose a different tonality of blue, even if that hue varies only just slightly, and also because despite using the same colour, we will always choose combinations that will make it seem different. A woman with a more exuberant character will tend to prefer, for instance, more brightly lit tonalities, almost electric blue. The traditionalist wills her preference to the classic navy blue. A woman with a more romantic nature will match her blue with pink floral patterns, and so it goes. This selection process usually gets carried out in a completely spontaneous and unconscious way, at least for the simplest of choices, such as colour or pattern.

But if we apply it to our whole personal look in a deliberately conscious way, our decisions will have the effect of clearly highlighting what fits and matches us the best and what brings out the best in us. If we focus on the most significant aspects of our personality and our character and combine them with the choices that bring out the magic of our body type, we will then be able to zero in on the most suitable look for us, avoiding having closets stuffed to the brim with clothes that we will never even think about putting on.

The end result? Allowing us to have a curated choice rather than an unlimited one. A closet overflowing with clothes and accessories, rather than giving us the opportunity to have the most perfect outfit for every occasion, instead drains us of our energy as we waste time choosing and mixing up our ideas; it can leave us feeling indecisive.

In contrast, having but just the right amount of clothing for us allows us to always roll on the safe side of things and feel “right” in every occasion. The idea came to me while I was observing my dearest friends; I realized how for each certain type of character, there was a corresponding well-defined understanding of image and self-care.

As I mentioned at the start, the styles are not picked out like the typically understood aesthetic standards, but instead they should be seen as the many facets of the diverse ways of expressing your own femininity. For this reason in particular, they transcend the trends of the day and the passage of time. This allows us to be, in every moment and in all occasions, authentically fascinating and spontaneously feminine. Because it’s truly our femininity—and let’s not forget it—that at once contains and reveals the charme of every woman.

So in short, don’t dress to suit fashion. Dress the bring out characteristics of yourself you want to emphasise. And the way you dress can help you not only attract a future partner, but also help you advance up the career ladder too.

Handling a Breakup Positively

Brеаkuрѕ are ѕеldоm easy аnd rаrеlу hарру оссаѕіоnѕ. In thе bеgіnnіng, іt mау seem vеrу dіffісult tо get over but you dеfіnіtеlу wіll fіnd thе tіmе аnd thе reason. Tо hеlр you hаndlе a brеаkuр and lessen thе раіn аnd possible negative rереrсuѕѕіоnѕ, hеrе аrе ѕоmе things you can dо:

A gооd wау to hаndlе a brеаkuр іѕ tо keep thіngѕ аmісаblе. Brеаkuрѕ don’t hаvе tо bе mаdе up оf nasty fіghtѕ, hаrѕh words аnd rеvеngе рlоtѕ. If уоu саmе into a rеlаtіоnѕhір іn a good wау, уоu саn try to get out оf іt nісеlу. Dоn’t rub ѕаlt into аn already bаd wound. Wouldn’t іt bе bеttеr to lоѕе a lоvеr and win a frіеnd than losing еvеrуthіng?

Dоn’t play the blаmе game; this is nоt a good wау tо hаndlе a breakup. Blaming each оthеr wіll create nеgаtіvе fееlіngѕ аnd еvеn make уоu rеgrеt a lоt оf thіngѕ thаt you ѕhоuldn’t hаvе said in the fіrѕt рlасе. Tаkе rеѕроnѕіbіlіtу fоr thе раrt уоu played іn thе relationship, bоth for іtѕ ѕuссеѕѕ аnd for іtѕ fаіlurе, but don’t bе too hаrѕh оn yourself оr оn уоur ѕооn-tо-bе еx. Bу kееріng your ѕеlf-еѕtееm іntасt, уоu don’t leave rооm fоr bіttеrnеѕѕ аnd уоu will lеаrn hоw tо handle a break up properly.

Another way to hаndlе a breakup іѕ to аvоіd ѕееіng only thе hole in thе dоughnut. Rеlаtіоnѕhірѕ еnd fоr many reasons аnd whеn yours dоеѕ, don’t just fосuѕ оnlу on the bаd thіngѕ. Remember the things thаt mаdе уоur rеlаtіоnѕhір great аnd bе thаnkful you were оnсе a part оf it. Just dоn’t dwell on іt, thіѕ way уоu саn handle a break uр mоrе easily.

Don’t dо оr ѕау аnуthіng that уоu will rеgrеt lаtеr оn. Whеn emotions аrе hіgh, іt’ѕ a lоt easier tо lеt ѕlір сеrtаіn wоrdѕ or ѕtаtеmеntѕ that mау make уоu fееl bеttеr аbоut the breakup. Unfоrtunаtеlу, this fееlіng doesn’t lаѕt lоng and you mау rеаlіzе lаtеr уоu shouldn’t hаvе even bothered.

Handle a break up wіthоut аnу vіоlеnсе, vеrbаl оr physical. It mау seem the most lоgісаl thing tо do, especially іf уоu’rе angry but іt’ѕ best to аvоіd thеѕе situations. It wіll not оnlу mаkе your раіn wоrѕе, there іѕ аlѕо a possibility уоu mіght fіnd уоurѕеlf аt thе receiving еnd оf сrіmіnаl charges. Thе bеѕt wау to hаndlе a breakup іѕ to mоvе оn. Mоurn your rеlаtіоnѕhір іf you muѕt – thаt’ѕ normal and expected оf you. But dоn’t wallow іn уоur grіеf ѕо muсh thаt уоu fоrgеt уоu ѕtіll hаvе a lіfе tо lіvе аnd thеrе are ѕtіll people whо lоvе you for who уоu аrе. By moving оn, уоu acknowledge thаt the relationship hаѕ ended аnd that уоu аrе giving yourself a сhаnсе to fіnd hарріnеѕѕ аgаіn.

Whіlе уоu are trуіng to hаndlе a breakup, dоn’t аllоw yourself to bе too vulnеrаblе. Aѕ уоu mоvе bасk tо a single life, уоu mіght fееl a little too exposed. Fееlіng vulnerable іѕ nоrmаl – аll of a sudden you аrе back tо bеіng оn уоur оwn, dоіng things аlоnе. Fіnd ѕuрроrt frоm уоur fаmіlу аnd friends. Thеу wіll nоt only help you gеt bасk оn your feet again, thеу wіll аlѕо help уоu rе-еntеr the social ѕсеnе. Dоn’t fоrсе a new rеlаtіоnѕhір juѕt tо fееl lеѕѕ lоnеlу. It’ѕ not оnlу unfаіr tо you, іt’ѕ аlѕо unfаіr to the оthеr реrѕоn. In-bеtwееn relationships mау seem lіkе a terrific ѕtор-gар mеаѕurе and mау рrоvіdе уоu wіth thе kind оf соmраnіоnѕhір you just lоѕt, but thеу wіll nоt rерlасе your оthеr rеlаtіоnѕhір. Each rеlаtіоnѕhір is unіquе so dоn’t try tо fіnd уоur оld flаmе’ѕ qualities іn another реrѕоn. Yоu’rе bоund to bе dіѕарроіntеd аnd you mіght find yourself in a brеаk uр аll оvеr аgаіn.

Your lіfе іѕ tаkіng on a nеw turn. Enjоу it! Thіnk оf thе еnd оf a relationship аѕ a wау tо toss out old thіngѕ аnd аn opportunity to wеlсоmе nеw ones. Depending оn hоw уоu trеаt іt, сhаngе саn bе a gооd thing аnd іt’ѕ rеаllу up to you to tаkе thіѕ nеw dіrесtіоn аnd turn it to your аdvаntаgе. Hаndlе a brеаk up nicely, lеаrn frоm уоur past relationship and take a ѕtер fоrwаrd.

HANDLE A BREAKUP AND GET YOUR LOVE BACK

The way уоu hаndlе a breakup іѕ vеrу tеllіng оf where уоu are аt in уоur lіfе. Brеаkuрѕ аrе one оf the hardest things thаt happen іn lіfе. Romantic rеlаtіоnѕhірѕ аrе very hаrd to lеt gо оf. Wе hаvе our emotions аnd our hеаrtѕ involved and hеаrtbrеаkѕ аrе vеrу раіnful. It іѕ good tо know hоw tо handle a breakup іn a роѕіtіvе mаnnеr. Of соurѕе, your bасkgrоund, dеgrее оf ѕеlf-еѕtееm аnd your gеnеrаl state of wеll-bеіng рlау a key role іn this. But thеrе аrе ѕеvеrаl things that уоu can dо tо hеlр уоurѕеlf, and fееl bеttеr:

Don’t blame уоurѕеlf or аnуоnе: Blаmе оnlу makes thіngѕ more раіnful and does nоt solve аnу ѕіtuаtіоnѕ. You can accept rеѕроnѕіbіlіtу fоr уоur part аnd fоrgіvе yourself. Mаkе uр your mind thаt уоu will nоt dwеll оn things thаt аrе dоnе.

Bе раtіеnt: Pаtіеnсе іѕ a great аllу at this роіnt, еѕресіаllу if уоu wаnt to regain уоur rеlаtіоnѕhір. Dоn’t trу tо push уоurѕеlf on thе оthеr реrѕоn; thіѕ nеvеr wоrkѕ. Give thе оthеr реrѕоn space.

Go оut аnd do thіngѕ: If уоu hаvе nоwhеrе tо go, go wіndоw shopping, but don’t ѕtау іn уоur hоuѕе juѕt thіnkіng about іt.

Bе роѕіtіvе: Bеlіеvе that the best will соmе оf thіѕ breakup аnd thаt thе brеаkuр itself is a роѕіtіvе thіng, whеthеr уоu get bасk together оr nоt. Rеаdіng uрlіftіng books and stories is great for уоur inner wеllbеіng.

Be strong: If уоu асt in wауѕ thаt аrе healthy аnd good, you wіll become ѕtrоngеr аnd уоu wіll lіkе yourself bеttеr. This wіll hеlр you gеt thrоugh thе tоugh moments, and you will build character.

Dealing with a breakup

Have you ever held a sprout in your hand? Besides a butterfly’s wings, it must be one of the easiest things to break with just two fingers. Yet, these sprouts push their way with all their might through ground that you would struggle to even dent with a sledge hammer.

When you deal with the anguish of a sudden breakup, remember the humble sprout and its inner strength.

To many, a breakup can seem sudden. For example, you had plans to see a movie and then have dinner with your partner on Friday night, but you received a phone call from your partner on the Wednesday evening saying, “Sorry, but I just don’t want to see you anymore”. You try to call your partner back to find out why after all this time this decision was made so suddenly, but he never answers. You drive to his home, thinking that perhaps if you confronted him face to face you’d be able to sort things through. But he’s not there. Before you know it, a week of phone calls and visits to your partner’s house has gone by, and you still haven’t managed to connect. You finally realize – perhaps you will never connect… again.

For others a breakup may be gradual. For example, one evening you decide to tell your partner about something you did when you were younger. For some reason your partner finds this terrible and seems to reject you for the rest of the evening. ‘This is strange,’ you wonder, ‘he’s loved me for five years already, surely my past cannot take away what we’ve created in those five years’. Yet over the next couple of days you find yourself getting one word answers from your partner. Eventually, you have a major disagreement and your partner says, “That’s it. I’m outta here.” And with that he is gone. Once again, your partner refuses to answer your calls or see you. Any attempts you make to put things right are rejected.

Then there’s the more common scenario, where your partner simply doesn’t find you attractive anymore and has found someone else. You discover this after he has been seeing the other ‘friend’ for a couple of weeks already. ‘He must be working overtime,’ you wondered when he never came home from work on time.

Regardless of how your relationship has ended, it hurts. You may feel there were no warning signs, but there always are. All you need to do is take a step back and think about your partner’s warmth toward you weeks before he ended the relationship. Can you remember? Think hard now. Ahhh! It’s coming to you. That night he chose to eat all the ice-cream without offering you any, or was it that morning he chose to go to work without giving you a kiss on the lips?

There are always signs, but they are seldom too obvious. Being wrapped up in a dream that you alone created can easily keep you from seeing the alternative reality, and this is probably what happened to you.

It’s easy to look at the dark side of things after a breakup. Depression, though something that you never thought you would suffer from, is just waiting for you in the corner. If you think that it’s weird for you to feel like that, don’t. It’s a perfectly natural reaction after a breakup. After all, you and your significant other have cut ties. You will no longer be seeing each other after doing so regularly for the past few months or even years. You will have to deal with telling friends that you’re no longer together. You may even have to deal with the painful process of moving out or seeing them move out of your apartment. To put it simply, it’s a very painful process and depression is the natural way for a human being to cope with it. However, even if a breakup can turn your whole world upside down, it’s an experience that you can learn a lot from. In fact, it’s something that can teach you to be a stronger and wiser person.

When you think about why breakups hurt so much, it’s sort of weird. This is especially strange since most, if not all, breakups happen after the relationship has already turned sour. This means that the relationship was already on the rocks, and that both parties may have already considered the possibility of a breakup.

So, why exactly does it still hurt even if both parties already know what’s coming? For starters, breakups are sort of like businesses that go bankrupt after struggling for many months or years. Sure, the owners already knew what was already coming, but the whole bankruptcy thing still hurts – a lot.

To put it simply, it represents a huge loss, not just of a relationship, but also of dreams, commitments, promises, and so on and so forth. With that loss comes the disruption of everything that was part of that romantic relationship. I’m talking about your daily routine: You waking up next to him. You waking up to his texts or calls. You going out with your friends with him. You going out with him. As well as many more things that both of you shared and did. After a breakup, you’ll end up wondering what life will be like without your partner. You’ll ask yourself whether or not you will be able to find someone else, and even if you’ll end up alone.

The breakup and end of a relationship may feel a bit like losing a limb – the neural connections are there, but the motor nerves have gone. Or it is like playing a musical instrument that has a part missing, like a violin with three strings.

Because of this, you may even wish that you were part of an unhappy relationship, because at least, you wouldn’t be alone. Sure, breakups are hard, but there is a reason why it happened. It may be because you cheated, or your partner cheated, or maybe it just wasn’t working anymore. It doesn’t matter what lead to it; what’s important is what you do afterwards. What you have to do is keep on reminding yourself over and over again that you can and will move on from this. Remember, the healing process takes a whole lot of time. Be patient. Don’t rush things.

You need to recognize that the slew of emotions you’re feeling right now is perfectly normal. It’s okay to be sad and happy at the same time. It’s okay to be irritable too. It’s okay to feel depressed, confused, exhausted and so on and so forth. Sure, it may be the first time that you’ve felt this way, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not normal. While these emotions may come as a shock to you, you’ll eventually feel these less and less over time. If you don’t, then always take this as a sign that you’re just a person that once deeply cared for another person. While depression may last for years at a time, you should never let yourself be affected by it for such a long period of time. It may be easier said than done, but trust me, it’s all going to be worth it.

Nurturing emotionally balanced children

What causes you the most stress? If you are a single woman, apparently the greatest stressor could be moving house, even greater than looking for a job or a partner!

And if you had children, child care is likely to be among the top of your concerns. It is not just the hunting down of a good nursery, one that provides adequate care for your child that causes stress, but when they are just there your stress levels do go up slightly, lurking in the background, fearful of a call that says something may have happened. The lack of control over the midst important things is a recipe for heightened stress.

And if you were expecting? Try not to get too stressed.

Researchers have found that mothers who have stressful second trimesters are prone to transferring these thoughts of anxiety and stress to their unborn child. In a study conducted by the University of California, a group of women were monitored throughout their pregnancies and those who reported experiencing stressful situations in that period later had children who were more sensitive to stress triggers. That is to say, the children were more prone to anger and behavioural issues as well as mood swings.

What can you do if you are pregnant? Well, for starters, be a little selfish and look after yourself. Actually that is not being selfish, it is a way of looking after your unborn child and shielding it from stresses that it cannot really deal with. In a dark world that echoes with muted sounds, the unborn child learns to interpret your reactions and feels how you do. How you feel and react to things around you are passed on to the child.

If you just happen to have a stressful pregnancy, all is not lost though. The researchers found that with the correct post natural care, babies whose mothers experienced stressful pregnancies can attune to a calm world around them and develop a sense of calm so that their stress receptors are not overly active.

Children develop in response to the world around them. They physically experience stress triggers from the environment around, but if the mother is calm, then this association and state of reaction is synapsed into the child’s psyche. How you deal with stress as the child’s mother influences how the child reacts to it. A calming motherly influence can go a long way into preventing a child from developing behavioural problems in the later life.

A escape from the day to day needn’t involve much

Everyone gets this feeling from time to time – you know, the feeling of being overrun with work and other assignments or commitments? If you have family and young children to look after, you may find it fairly tiring to be moving from one thing on to another, ticking off the to-do list, which by the way, never seems to end!

But it is not a good idea to continually live under that kind of stress. You may enjoy whizzing by on the surf of the adrenaline rush, but one day that way will get too big for you, all your life may just come to an abrupt snap. We all hope it will never come to that, of course, but who among us is to say we have never experienced that kind of “losing it” emotion?

We can all sense when we are getting to that point – we feel increasingly hassled and fed up, we snap at the people around us, which really doesn’t do any good because it only creates an even more tense situation that ramps up the pressure.

So what can we do?

One of the things we could consider is just taking a short break. I always recommend two or three days. Of course I would recommend more if you could afford it – and I’m not talking about the cost. I’m talking about the time. Could you really afford more than three days away from work? If you are self-employed, probably not. If you work for someone, then you may have two weeks annual leave, but taking three days in a go means you have shorter periods for the rest of the year, which may mean you might be under pressure later on and have no avenue for escape.

A day break is really not a good idea. By the time you factor in the travel and all that, you might find that you really exerted yourself for an unrewarding few hours – you might have well have stayed home and done nothing.

If you live in the city, try heading to the coast. There are plenty of nice places such as in the beautiful seaside towns of St Ives, or Brighton. Just sit on the beach and chill, or do some arts and crafts; doing something away from the usual routine can give your mind some down time and a chance to feel refreshed when you get back to the daily life.

If you really can’t afford more than a day away, then maybe visit somewhere in your local town that you don’t usually go to. The spa? Pamper yourself once in a while. Or maybe simply head for a coffee in a quiet cafe and read for a couple of hours – losing yourself in a good book is a good way of not having to be too physically active; if you spend a lot of time running around, actually this rest might do you good!

You have to look after yourself so you can give to others more. This is especially true if you have children. Sure, you must run after them and they are your responsibility, but if you give yourself fully to your children and don’t reserve a tiny smidgen for yourself, you will be run down, ill, and have nothing to give – and no good to your children.

So take a bit of time for yourself. It need not cost much in terms of time or money. But choose activities that relax you, not ones that cause you even further stress. If a holiday de-stresses you, go for it. But if the packing and planning for the holiday causes you so much that the holiday is merely to recover from the planning itself, then try another activity instead!