As a divorced mom with three children and a full/time job, I feel a lot of stress. Who wouldn’t?!
Between the kids, job issues and financial responsibilities, and house-related issues, I sometimes feel close to the breaking point. One night, after getting angry with one of my children over typical teenager stuff, I decided it was time for a change – the constant stress was aging me!
I snuck in breaks at work and speed-read a couple books on stress and mental health, which made suggestions that seemed workable. And it turns out that women are twice as likely to suffer from severe stress and anxiety as men, according to a 2016 study published in The Journal of Brain & Behavior. The American Psychological Association reports a gender gap year after year showing that women consistently report higher stress levels.
On my daily commute to work, I devised a plan to reduce my stress level. It was not easy and took a few weeks. I finally realized that the most important thing was simply to manage my time and emotions better: my stress was infectious, I was hurting or antagonizing those closest to me.
As women, we can have many roles: spouse, mother, caregiver, friend, and worker. But the truth is, it is essential to find those ways to de-stress. I found there were many things I could do to reduce my stress, and I decided to:
- Try deep breathing, meditation and massage therapy
- Set aside 30 minutes daily just for myself for a long bath or calling my friend
- Fuel up with fruits, veggies, and proteins
- Get moving with physical activity
- Compromise – sometimes give in to an argument
- Talk to my friends – I am not alone with this problem
- Start a journal – to get things off my chest
- Set limits – say no to requests for my time and energy
- Plan my time – make up a to-do list
- Deal with stress in healthy ways – no excess alcohol, no drugs, no smoking, no overeating
Also, take note of money issues! When increasing income is not an option, lower your spending. The most difficult things for personally me were to compromise and to set limits. I’m not good at saying ‘no’ to people.
But it worked! And the journal helped me to stay on track and to deal with my feelings.
Whatever your challenges are in life, anxiety, finances, relationship family, or only having trouble communicating, you can’t just give up because you haven’t found love or met people who live their lives based on appearances or fear. You know that. Tell yourself: “I deserve to be loved. I deserve happiness. Now, more than ever is a time for you to put yourself and your immediate family first. Managing stress is vital for healthy living and good mental health.