A recent study released by the Nielsen Company that examines the consumer and media habits of women in emerging and developed countries has found that Russia takes third place in the world in the number of stressed women.
The major reasons of stress of a modern Russian women are work related factors and personal life problems. The job stress factors include low wage, unemployment, barriers to career progress, instructions and career discrimination. Owning business can be a major stress factor for a woman as it provokes more stressful situations, while dealing with regulatory authorities, partners, contractors, bosses and clients. A woman has to combine different social roles: be efficient at work and remain a caring mother and devoted wife and a good homemaker. The number of other obligations modern life imposes on a woman can become a hard burden causing continuous pressure.
Women's health may be jeopardized by the problems in family life: home abuse, a spouse’s or children's long illnesses, husband's alcohol abuse, ageing parents, lack of understanding and sex with a partner. Whereas these factors are very much the same for most of the countries, women in Russia are also affected by low standards of life and poor social security, bad living conditions, financial instability, poor medical treatment and problems with educational and child care institutions.
Stress is especially disastrous for women as a woman's depression affects her family happiness and well being. The biological difference between men and women - which is different levels of hormones - explain why women slide into depression more often than men. Russian females have been taught to suppress aggression and anger, feel shame for their losses and be quiet. Therefore women are helpless when they get into stressful situations as the open expression of their feeling is not socially acceptable.
At same time a stress spoils woman’s health and affects her looks. Some females lose hair, loose or put on weight, have headaches or panic attacks and sexual disorders. The stress has a negative effect on the skin making woman look older, - not to mention the mood and reactions, which can seriously affect the family relationships.
There are some cultural aspects of combating stress in Russia because of the feature of national character of Russians. Russian people are not likely to go to therapist but rather meet a close friend or relative to share a burden a problems with, blow off some steam and often have a drink. Taking alcohol is most frequent stress relief here, which is a national problem.
2010 Public opinion study shows that to get a help with handling difficult life situations Russians more often talk with their friends and relatives. 35% of Russians choose this means when it comes to solving family problems. 15 % only discuss the problems directly with a wife or a husband though. Talking the problems out and counseling close friends and sibling or family members is the top favorite way to ease the psychological tension of nations' females. "Podrugi" (ladies-friends) are the first aid in stressful situations. Relationship with children and child’s behavior problems are solved the same way. Consulting a child's psychologist is relatively new to Russians. Yet some do it from time to time.
Only 1-2% of Russians are eager to share the personal problems with workmates and neighbors. Only 1% uses Internet as psychotherapy resource. A considerable amount of Russians avoid sharing their problems with anyone (29-32%) and thus cope with them on their own.
Russian women are prone to eating out the stress and depression. Some crave chocolate junk foods and fizzy drinks, caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, which women are more vulnerable to. A part of women do enormous amount of house work and prepare home canned foods for winter. A burnt out woman would hardly think of any stressful circumstance.
Shopping is a great stress relief for Russian women. Getting a desirable thing, a part of clothes or perfume can chase away any worries. To haggle about prices, be among the crowds of people and get a discount would take mind off gloomy thoughts. Nielsen Company survey calculated that women in developing economies spent more of their additional cash on clothes, health and beauty items.
Sauna or Russian banya is great for women for releasing stress and relaxing. It has a big revitalizing and healing power for the body and mind and is highly popular and quite affordable in Russia.
Russian women use a dozen ways to combat the stress. Russian public opinion study emphasizes 8 most popular nation's stress reliefs: 46 % respondents watch TV to relax and de-stress; then goes listening to music (43%), taking alcohol (19%), food (16%); medical pills (15%); sports (12%); sex (12), yoga and meditation (2%).
Sports appear not to be the top favorite national activity and a stress killer according to this survey. However since doing sport is becoming more fashionable in Russian now, more women go in for shaping, working out in a gym as well as take dance classes, horse riding, aqua aerobics, Pilates, paintball. For many it appears to be a regular relaxing activity and a hobby.
Individual and group-therapy sessions and women’s counseling are available in specialized social centers for HIV and underage mothers. There are few private medical centers offering psychological support and therapy.
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