9 Ways to Recognise a Woman’s Stress

Do women experience similar types of stress compared to men?

Is there a difference in how women cope with their stress, pressure and overwhelm?

What early warning signs should we be looking out for?

Women and stress

In today’s fast-paced world, women are experiencing more stress at every stage of their lives than ever before.

Men and women share many of the same sources of stress – job security, financial matters, incessant worrying, relationship issues and health. Perhaps a little more unique to women are the many roles they take on. Women are traditionally the nurturers and while this is changing in some family structures many will still fulfil this role even as they juggle job pressures, family schedules, money issues, career and educational advancement and child and elder-care.

‘I know I’m really stressed when neither shopping therapy nor chocolate addiction can cheer me up.’ – Anonymous

As demands increase to fulfil these roles, women can feel overwhelmed from time pressures and unmet obligations. They may feel a sense of failure from not being able to meet expectations for themselves and others. Often women spend more time meeting the needs of others rather than nurturing their own needs. When functioning at high stress levels, women may not recognise what their needs are.

Instead of seeking help, they often do more especially as they don’t want to let others down. Women may experience a lot of guilt and will generally make themselves more available to help and therefore spend less time on their own well-being.

Research indicates that women’s biological response to stress is to “tend and befriend”; that is, make sure the children are safe and to network with other women during stressful times. Men’s biological reaction to stress is to go into the “flight-or-fight” mode.

Nine of the most common symptoms of stress in women include:

  • Tension – headaches, migraines and muscular pain
  • Difficulty sleeping – either can’t get to sleep or waking up during the night with the brain on high alert
  • Overeating – women are more prone to stress-related weight-gain than men. Cortisol, a hormone released when the body is under stress, is an appetite trigger
  • Stomach and bowel problems – bowel and intestinal muscles constrict causing conditions such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome
  • Lack of energy – always tired, forgetful and worrying
  • Less interest in things – in sex/other things or activities they used to enjoy
  • Emotional mood swings – depression and anxiety, feelings of being out of control
  • Apathy – loss of meaning, emptiness, unforgiving, doubt, guilt, despair.
  • Feelings of isolation – less intimacy, isolation, family problems, loneliness.

How can women better manage stress

Women can manage stress by practising healthy self-care strategies. Examine your negative stress signs in each of these six life areas: physical, emotional, mental, occupational, social, and spiritual. What would you like to be different in your life? What do you need to do to achieve more balance or potential?

When both partners are stressed

Learn to recognise the signs of stress in each other. Be flexible. Take turns with chores. Plan a strategy for the week with both of you sharing the load. Be realistic about what you can accomplish, and set priorities. Give each other opportunities to talk and to have quiet times. Get enough sleep. Don’t take everything that either of you say or do too seriously if you’re both stressed. Use good-natured humour to relieve the tension. Avoid criticism or negativity.

Here are a few ways Linda can help you save your sanity without sabotaging your success:

Would you like help to create a way TODAY to become more stress-free, so you can enjoy your work and reconnect with the people who rely on you most? Take action today! Use the Take Back Control JUMP START Tool

View videos on my YouTube channel to help you become more comfortable with uncertainty, increase confidence, take back control, regain balance and fuel your success

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