How many times have you asked someone how they are doing and they answer “busy” or “stressed out?” Ask 100 adults on the street if they are stressed and I bet the majority of them would answer yes.
In fact, according to a study by National Public Radio in 2014, 49% of adults reported having a major stressful period in their life in the previous year. Stress can come from a variety of places, but common sources are: employment, family responsibilities, health concerns, and financial difficulties.
Women and Stress
Women especially tend to juggle many roles in their life which can add to their overall level of stress. Women who have children are often the primary caregiver, but they could also be a caregiver for other family members. A familiar role for a woman in the household may be cooking the majority of the meals, cleaning the house and doing other household related tasks.
Having this many tasks and roles to fill can feel overwhelming. You may have to quickly jump from one role to the next (caregiver to cook to employee, etc.) You may find that you have taken on so much you feel like you never get a break. Or when you do get a break you just end up feeling exhausted and can’t enjoy your free time.
What Can You Do To Feel Less Stressed?
–Learn how to say “no” to tasks or obligations you know you don’t have the time or energy for (for more on that check out this blog post).
–Identify areas of “self-care” that if improved would also reduce your stress level. For example, maybe if you were more disciplined about getting 8 hours of sleep you would have more energy to take on all of the tasks you have to do.
–Practice mindfulness. Focus on what you are doing in the present moment instead of thinking too far ahead (which leads to feelings of stress/overwhelm). For more information on mindfulness read this blog post.
–Find a healthy way to express your emotions. Individuals who keep their feelings “bottled up” tend to either get depressed or angry. Get your feelings out through some type of art form, exercise, venting to a friend, etc.
Why It’s Important To Manage Stress
Many research studies have made the connection between stress and the worsening of many medical/physical health issues.
What have you tried to manage your stress? Did it help?
Author: Alison Pidgeon, LPC
Alison is the Founder and CEO of Move Forward Counseling, a boutique private practice for women with three locations in Lancaster County, PA. She is passionate about reducing the stigma related to accessing mental health services. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.