Why women face more stress than men?
- By Team TDO
Women around the world are enjoying broader opportunities and expanding roles. But this is bringing with it a lot of stress. Almost all women are playing multiple roles - caring for children or aging parents, along with managing the household and responsibilities at the workplace. The stress they face in each scenario is different.
Stress at the workplace
If you're sitting stressed out at work right now - or lying in bed, too stressed to sleep - you are not alone. Too much work, too little money and not enough opportunity for growth are stressing out many women on the job.
Women are underappreciated, undervalued and underpaid. Apart from the common job stress women may suffer from mental and physical harassment at workplaces. Sexual harassment at the workplace is another major source of worry for women. Research also shows that women who worry about losing their jobs are more likely to have high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels and obesity. Some may experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure and extreme fatigue.
Stress at family level
- Women are playing too many roles within the family.
- Responsibilities of children and family members.
- Educating children.
- Managing both workplace and family.
- Playing social roles also causes stress. Family gatherings can be a real blessing for you - but sometimes too much togetherness can become a source of stress
Women are more affected emotionally than men not only by their own stressful experiences but also by the stressful experiences of the people they care about.
Family stress is a major risk factor that contributes to heart trouble among women. This may also lead to other disorders like diabetes, and thyroid problems.
Beating the stress
Stress is an inevitable part of life. What makes a difference is how you manage that stress. Here are the tips to beat stress:
- Take care of yourself - set aside time to engage in healthy activities that you enjoy or that help you relax.
- You can only do one thing at a time. So either delay or say no to the unimportant tasks, and make more time for important tasks.
- Keeping the family and yourself organized reduces stress. Keep separate folders of family health issues, finances, and daily responsibilities. Take help of your children and other family members in developing an organization plan for your household. Identify ways in which your family can help you out, so that you find the time to take a break and rejuvenate.
Stress associated with life changes in women
Hormonal levels in female bodies change during the premenstrual period, pregnancy, post-delivery and menopausal changes. This affects the body and mind, leading to stress and depression.
Premenstrual: Premenstrual phase is a complex condition that includes physical and emotional changes in you. Research has shown that hormonal changes, changes in brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the time after ovulation and before menstruation lead to symptoms that cause stress.
Premenstrual symptoms include tension, irritability, and tiredness, feelings of aggression or anger, low mood, anxiety, and loss of confidence. You may have a change in your sleep pattern, in sexual feelings and in appetite. Relationships may become strained because of these symptoms. Monthly cycle of these symptoms causes more stress for you.
To reduce the stress caused because of this premenstrual phase, try to understand first what is happening. Then take care of your diet and exercise. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Get enough sleep.
Pregnancy: This is a time where major changes are taking place - in your body, mind and the family. And these changes can add new stresses to your life.
Feeling stressed is common during pregnancy. But too much stress can make you uncomfortable. It may lead to troubled sleep, headaches, loss of appetite, high blood pressure, chances of having premature baby or low birth-weight baby.
Serious types of stress include negative life events like divorce, serious illness or death in your family, or losing a job. Sometimes, pregnancy - related stress like worrying a lot about miscarriage, health of the baby or becoming a parent can also cause serious stress.
Here are some ways to reduce stress during pregnancy:
- Figure out what is causing stress and share it with your partner, friend or doctor.
- Know that discomforts during pregnancy are only temporary.
- Perform relaxation activities like prenatal yoga or meditation.
- Join a childbirth education class so that you will get rid of pregnancy related stress.
Post-delivery: Stress and anxiety after giving birth is very common because of the decreasing hormonal levels and the pressures of being a mom. First time moms tend to suffer more.
Feeling of inadequacy, physical appearance, weight problems, lack of sleep, and comparison with other moms cause postpartum blues.
To reduce the post-partum stress, the key is to understand and enjoy your experience as a mom and stay relaxed.Take care of yourself, eat healthy food and do exercise recommended for new moms.Remember, you can't do all the things at the same time.
Menopause: Menopause is a stressful life event because of the various types of change that occur like low energy levels, joint pain, hot flushes, insomnia, depression, and irritability.
These may be partially due to hormonal changes. In addition, familial and personal issues such as the demands of teenagers, children leaving home, aging parents, and career changes crop up during these years.
To fight with menopause: induced stress, take charge. Don't let menopause and its symptoms take control of your day-to-day life. Spend time with your friends and people who make you happy. It is especially helpful to spend time with women who have already experienced menopause. During menopause we often don't have the same amount of energy, so learn to say 'no'.