Adults of all gender identities encounter similar stressors, like financial issues, career pressure and worries about their health. However, women are more likely to experience stress resulting from cultural norms that force them into various roles they may be unwilling or unprepared to take. For instance, you may do the bulk of the daily chores that keep your household running smoothly, like cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping and helping your children with their homework. This unpaid work may not be what you signed up for, but you find yourself adding it to your plate anyway.
Women and Stress
As demands increase to fulfill caregiver responsibilities, provide emotional labor and meet other familial obligations, women can quickly become overwhelmed. You may feel guilty that you can’t simultaneously meet all the expectations society has placed on you – to be an outstanding daughter, wife and mother, on top of excelling at your job and contributing to society.
Often, women ignore their needs, letting their self-care fall by the wayside because they must spend so much of their time and energy looking after other people. Under a constant onslaught of stress and anxiety, you may lose sight of the ambitions that originally drove you.
How Does Stress Affect Your Health?
When you carry a heavy burden of stress, everything in your life may start to feel like a chore. Sometimes, you may be too busy to take time out and reflect on how stress is adversely impacting your well-being. In the constant rush of tasks to complete and responsibilities to accomplish, you could begin experiencing symptoms like these.
- Physical: Muscle pain and tension, fatigue, lethargy, difficulty sleeping, apathy and eating too much or too little can be physical characteristics of excessive stress.
- Mental: You may have trouble concentrating and making good decisions when you are overcome by near-constant pressures.
- Emotional: Some women react to extreme tension with irritability, mood swings, resentment and anger. You could also respond by deliberately isolating yourself from friends, work colleagues and family members who don’t understand what you’re going through.
How Should You Manage Stress?
Many women turn to drugs and alcohol to find relief from ongoing stress. While drinking and drug use may initially seem like a beneficial way to unwind, a few glasses of wine with dinner or even a doctor’s prescription for an anti-anxiety medication like Xanax can quickly spiral out of control. Ultimately, an over-reliance on these substances will contribute to a worsening substance use disorder. Not only do women become addicted more rapidly than men, but they also face unique stigmas and challenges that may discourage them from seeking treatment.
When your life and work feel unfulfilling and meaningless, a wellness plan that includes more personal time for self-care can help you manage stress and feel more empowered to set firm boundaries with people who ask too much of you.
At Canyon Crossing, we believe women deserve to live richer, happier lives without anxiety and addiction holding them back. To learn more about finding your freedom and embracing your full potential, connect with us today.