Women and Stressors

Women often complain of being stressed out!  Our daily life can feel like it consists of long, busy weekdays and weekends with little down time. In this age of technology that keeps us connected nonstop, rarely do we allow ourselves to take a break or unplug. Some of us can be barraged by text messages from our children if they cannot immediately reach us. Others are worried they will miss something from a friend or family member if they dare unplug. The pressure from other stressors can feel overwhelming too, whether it is from our children being involved in every activity possible, or employers stretching us too thin, expecting twice as much out of half as many in these economic times. Stay-at-home moms report the frustrations of not being able to complete all of their daily tasks, and beat themselves up because they find that they are taking it out on their kids. Some feel so overwhelmed that they start avoiding things causing greater distress as more and more gets added to the pile.

To lower your stress, take a moment to identify the roles you play, e.g. mother, wife, friend, daughter, employee, and the responsibilities you carry in these roles. Which roles cause you the most stress?  Within these roles as you think about the tasks you perform, it can be helpful to prioritize these tasks. Which tasks are necessary and which ones are you doing because you think you should. Thus “should-ing” on yourself; “I should do this,”  “I should do that.”  Can you ask family members to help? Are your schedules for each day realistic or can you cut down on some daily tasks? How are you managing your sleep, diet, exercise and caffeine intake? Many women ignore themselves.  Our hormones direct us to be nurturers and care for others. We place ourselves last on the list, even last at buying ourselves underwear! Many women ignore their need to relax, their minds seem like they never shut off, and they are mentally on the go all of the time. This can lead women to become angry, resentful, fatigued, and experience headaches.

When do you allow time for yourself? Is there time for “you” on your “to do” list? Is down time part of your tasks? What does a task to “take care of you” or your down time look like? It may have been a long time since you have done something meaningful for yourself.

It is ok to take some time for yourself! You will be a better mom, wife, employee, etc... if you allow this time. Allow yourself 15 minutes to an hour of being still and present. Sip your morning coffee, listen to the sounds of the morning, or chill in the afternoon or evening drinking in your favorite music. No guilt. Mental Health Counselors can help assist you in learning deep breathing, visualization and or mindfulness exercises to use during these quiet moments. Also, it is ok to allow yourself to do something completely frivolous. A walk by the river, a card game, a puzzle, a favorite book or show, or a night out with your husband or girlfriends! This brings balance to woman’s life. Doing things to rejuvenate yourself can help you manage stress.

Everyone encounters stressors. Assess your coping skills, support system, physical well-being, and the health of your relationships. Do past stressors interfere with your life? Are you worrying or ruminating about stressors to the point that it is interfering with your daily functioning? If you are having difficulty problem solving, and the anxiety is interfering with your daily activities, please contact Psychology Associates.

Nance Robson NCC, LPC