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Home > Our Services > Conditions and Treatments > Women’s Heart Health > Heart & Mind

Heart & Mind


Our occupational therapist, Ngooi Bi Xia, helps career women identify the causes and symptoms of stress as well as practical ways to manage it.



(Source: Shutterstock photos)


There are many potential stressors that a career woman today has to face, including having to meet deadlines, work competition, perfectionism, unhappy relationships with colleagues, chronically balancing between family and work demands and work and household obligations.


As a result of chronic stress, increased stress hormones in our body cause increased heart rate and blood pressure, increased ability for blood to clot and release of fatty acids into bloodstream. Over prolonged period, this can result in abnormal heart rhythms, hypertension and even a heart attack. Therefore, take stress seriously!


While it is not possible to completely get rid of all stress, you can try to effectively manage stress by keeping them at a healthy level:



  1. 1. Prioritise the things you have to do. What is urgent is not always important. For example, set aside blocks of 15 minutes to check email, for example, once in the morning and once when you leave the office so that you do not get overwhelmed by every email that comes in.

  2. Have a plan. If let's say you intend to have a child in two years, work towards an arrangement that will support you when that day comes, for example, flexible working hours.

  3. Choose value-added training. Attend courses to build your value and worth in the company and as a person.

  4. Decorate your desk with motivational items or meaningful personal items that can make your day when you look at it.

  5. Set goals to achieve for each day and give yourself little rewards for achieving them like a glass of red wine if you don't cancel on your personal trainer.

  6. Practise time management. Set time for each responsibility and schedule in rest time.

  7. Be assertive. Speak up and protect your boundaries. Don't over-commit and stretch yourself beyond your limits.

  8. When in conflict, negotiate what you perceive to be the cause of your stress then share your feelings, particularly how it affects your productivity, followed by suggesting a mutually beneficial solution.

  9. Incorporate nutritious stress -busting foods in your diet such as like lean meat, whole wheat, cheese, nuts and seeds which are rich in zinc, fruit and vegetables, especially citrus fruit, kiwi, cabbage and broccoli which are high in vitamin C, yoghurt, dates, pumpkin, beans, avocado for vitamin B and green leafy vegetables, grapefruit, figs, aubergines, raisins, carrots and tomatoes for a dose of magnesium.



5-Minute Activities to Prevent Heart Disease


Occupational therapist Ngooi Bi Xia on activities that you can fit into your busy schedule for a balanced mind, healthy body and strong heart.


Being a woman is hard work. Women fulfil multiple roles and responsibilities to the extent that they sometimes neglect to take care of themselves. Many women tend to put the needs of others before their own and think they do not have time to relax, so that they eventually feel overwhelmed. The truth is, if you take even five minutes for yourself, you’ll be in a much better position to take care of your loved ones.


Consider rituals, which are regular or irregular habits or routines that are enjoyable to you. They do not have to take too much of your time. A few five-minute breaks throughout the day can do wonders for your sense of well-being.


                                                 Shutterstock photos


Some examples:


• Close your eyes and focus on your breathing during a short break; it helps calm your body. Gently bring yourself back to focus on your breathing when you find your thoughts straying.

• Do something you enjoy, such as puzzles, reading or cross-stitching on your journey to work or home.

• Create a safe and relaxing place for yourself, be it at work, play or sleep. Consider what your five senses prefer. For example, soothing music , the scent of lavender , comfortable lights and soothing pictures and colours , etc.

• Get out for a walk , breathe in the air and soak up the sun.

• Do some light stretches to relax your muscles. Push-ups and star jumps can give you a quick burst of energy.

• Watch a comedy clip on YouTube .

• Take a play break, for example taking a few minutes to play with your pet.

• Enjoy a quiet morning cup of tea or your favourite beverage. Sip slowly.

• Read a page from a book or an article from a magazine. It will help take your mind off the work and may even help you generate new ideas.

• Get yourself a stress ball; work it when you find yourself under stressed, for eg at meetings. .

• Stay connected with your friends by logging on to your preferred social media.

• Make a quick phone call to a friend or loved one.

• Walk to the cooler or the pantry and have a quick chat with a colleague along the way.

• Incidental exercises can also produce both psychological and physical benefits. Examples include parking further away from your office, getting off the bus two stops before your regular stop and taking the steps instead of the lift or escalator.


Mazuin Khamis