New Delhi: Do you feel tired all the time? Do mood swings often get you down? Do you feel you're not in control or are unable to cope?
Are you also putting on weight and losing your sex drive? Well, if the answer to all of the above is yes, then you might just be suffering from Hurried Woman Syndrome.
Rushing from work to home to school, juggling a spouse, children, boss and friends then getting up and doing it all over again - all this adds up to a hectic lifestyle that can put your physical and mental health in the dumps.
But is it an actual disorder or yet another urban legend? “Whether you call it the Hurried Woman Syndrome or the Harried Woman syndrome it would mean the same. It's the woman who's trying to wear many hats, juggle many things,” Psychiatrist, Apollo Hospital, Dr Monica Chib, says.
The Hurried Woman Syndrome first popped up in the US. Dr Brent Bost wrote a book on it in 2001. The theory is the illness is thought to be triggered by chronic stress and poor lifestyle choices, and main victims are women aged between 25 to 55.
Also, women are more vulnerable than men to stress-induced illnesses for a variety of reasons.
"When you’re under a lot of stress you’re not achievieng what you want or what you want, you start feeling frustrated, you start feeling inadequate.You start feeling maybe I don’t have it in me to be a good wife, mother, office person. Then you start having mood swings, because your own self-perception is not healthy, then you can start having crying spells, you become irritable and anxious and wonder will I be able to do it on time. All these things can add up or tie up with one another, which can lead to getting very depressed." Chib says.
The physical fall-out of stress is too serious to ignore and can result in unhealthy habits, lead to heart damage, cause blood pressure problems and lead to clinical depression. So how do you tackle stress?
"Prioritise. Are your domestic problems more important at that period of time or are your office problems more important. Learn to detach the two. don't bring your personal problems to the workplace and don't bring your work problems home," Chib says.
However, avoiding HWS does not mean giving up on one's ambitions. It's all about striking a balance.
It's important to work towards making life smoother for oneself and yet not forgetting that one's well-being must be at the top of the list, not bottom.
"You have to recognise your strengths and weaknesses, sit and analyse yourself, say this is what I'm good at and these are the areas where I need help. Don't hesitate to ask for help. It doesn’t show you up to ask for help. Secondly prioritise - are your domestic problems more important at that period of time or are your office problems more important. Learn to detach the two - don’t bring your personal problems to the workplace and don’t bring your work problems home, so wherever you are you can give your 100 per cent, to that area at that time. That would be number two. Number three would be take care of yourself, whether it’s relaxation, take time for yourself," Chib says.
We tend to think of high stress levels as a given, in increasingly frantically paced lives, but this is a mindset that needs to change, if we're to figure out how to slow down and get more out of life.