Restorations Therapy Blog

Women’s Multiple Roles Shifting with Society: The Multiple Sources of Stress and How to Cope Positively

by on Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

Women today occupy a multitude of roles such as mother, employee, wife, caregiver. All of these roles require different parts of oneself to succeed, and so stress accumulates and leads to more reduced quality of life and well-being.

Women’s Societal Roles Today

         Since society continues to change with more women in the workplace, women are, therefore, taking on multiple roles within their lives. Although women may be working, they also continue to tend to household duties and daily responsibilities and try to balance these various responsibilities while maintaining their hobbies and interests. Some women may view these multiple roles as challenges to overcome, or they may perceive them as threats to their well-being. As societal and familial demands continue to increase, women may feel a loss of control, helplessness, and thus endure extreme stress and possible burnout, which is physical or mental breakdown due to overworking or stress.

         For many women, stress is at the top of their list of daily life problems they deal with, and research shows that women are more likely than men to experience stress. Furthermore, studies find that women strive for perfection in all areas of their life, and then they neglect their own needs, not taking the time to take care of themselves. Thus, women need to understand stress, identify warning signs for burnout, and cultivate coping skills to maintain their health in every area of their lives.

Stress Is Related to Physical, Mental, and Psychological Health

         Stress is a typical response to the demands of daily life. Stress may be positive, in that it enables someone to do their best, or it may be negative, in which it inhibits one’s ability to deal with life. Acute or minor stress may cause temporary physical changes, while chronic stress may cause physical changes that become chronic. Chronic stress for women in daily life comes from multiple sources, such as:

  • Marital or romantic relationship conflict
  • Taking care of an elderly or ailing parent or family member
  • Raising children
  • Pressures at work or in one’s career

Stress is physiological and psychophysiological, meaning it impacts the body, as well as the mind, which also interferes with the body:

  • Psychophysiological factors involve the interaction between the body and the mind and include emotions and thoughts which determine the level of stress a person feels.
  • Physiological responses may be voluntary or involuntary. When someone is faced with high emotional stress or physical danger, we have the innate reaction of “fight or flight.” Thus, our stress response causes physical changes within the body, such as muscle tension, adrenaline rush, and increased heart rate.

Women experience the warning signs of stress in a multitude of ways, which alerts them that their bodies and minds may be out of balance. Listening to our bodies is a valuable tool to begin to manage stress. Here are the stress warning signs women may experience:

  • Emotional signs, such as depression, anxiety, anger, irritability, frustration, and unhappiness
  • Physical symptoms, including insomnia, fatigue, headaches, tension, changes in appetite, smoking, and drug or alcohol use
  • Mental problems, like constantly worrying, negative thoughts, feeling bored, forgetfulness, and a lack of ability in making decisions
  • Spiritual signs, such as lack of concern, feeling empty, unforgiving, guilt, despair, doubt, loss of meaning, and emptiness
  • Social issues, including self-isolation, family problems, marital or romantic relationship conflict, loneliness, or lacking intimacy
  • Occupational problems, like working long hours, overload at work, insufficient recognition at work, feeling your job is unfulfilling, and relationship conflicts at work

Ways Women May Manage Stress

         Managing stress is not avoiding stress; it is learning to cope. During times of intense stress, women require adequate recovery periods to replenish energy loss related to the stress. Self-nurturing is also imperative during these times of high stress. Developing a wellness approach to one’s life and recognizing the mind-body connection may help women manage their stress and thus help them maintain healthy control over their lives. Cultivating a personalized approach to one’s stress management will help foster healthy coping skills is the best way to manage one’s stress. The following are examples of approaches to stress management through the mind and body:

  • Emotional – it is essential to express one’s emotions, write them down, cry them out, and find ways to accept and love yourself
  • Mental – experience new interests, prioritize yourself and identify negative thoughts before they take over
  • Physical – practice relaxation exercises like yoga or deep-breathing, eat a healthy diet, get adequate sleep, exercise, and have annual or bi-annual physical examinations
  • Social – find positive sources of support, nurture friendships and relationships, or help other people through volunteer work
  • Spiritual – develop a personal belief system and reconnect with your values, practice meditation, and reflect on your life
  • Occupational – reduce your workload, understand your limits and when you’re approaching burnout, set realistic goals for yourself, examine your career goals and how they line up with your current job

Do You Need Help Dealing with Stress?         Stress is dangerous because it may promote feelings of anxiety and depression, which could lead to subsequent substance misuse to self-medicate. It is crucial to practice acceptance of yourself, of your life and its circumstances, and change what you can. You can only control yourself and your reactions or actions in life. Since change is inevitable, accept it and perceive it as a challenge to overcome, not as a threat to your life. Learn how to balance yourself, your job, and your life healthily. Maintaining overall well-being and health promotes wellness in all areas of your life. If you or someone you know needs help, call us today at (720) 446-6585.

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