Facing a wage gap and the burden of handling the majority of home-related responsibilities, it’s no surprise that women experience more work stress than men. Unfortunately, it can be easy to allow our stress to overwhelm us. If you’re tired of feeling stressed to the max during the workweek, here are a few ways to overcome it:
Schedule time to worry
Yes, you read that right. Often, we allow negative thoughts to nag us all day while we desperately try to check items off on our to-do lists. When you schedule “worry time,” you allow yourself to indulge your worst fears for a moment. Write them down. Think about what concerns you most. Giving your worries this spotlight will help you put them into perspective, compartmentalize them as needed, and provide you an opportunity to put together an action plan so that you can begin to tackle them.
Meet up with other women professionals
Whether it’s for a happy hour, a lunch break, or a brunch, meeting up with other women to share your experiences inside and outside the workplace can be a huge stress reliever. These meetups will provide you with an opportunity to discuss your fears and successes and form action plans as needed.
Another quick tip based on my own experience: bring your dog along. Our four-legged friends have stress-relieving powers of their own and can also reduce depression symptoms. I meet once a week with a group of women business owners and professionals from my area, always at a dog-friendly restaurant so that we can bring our dogs along. We’ve found that many restaurants are starting to cater to four-legged patrons. Here’s a great list of options throughout the U.S.
Take a smartphone breaks
Most of us are guilty of remaining handcuffed to our phones throughout the day. Whether we’re checking for new emails, catching up on our Twitter feed, or texting a friend, our phones are huge contributors to feelings of overwhelm. Schedule time each day away from your phone. Put it in your desk drawer, turn the ringer to silent, or shut it off completely, whatever works for you. Even if it’s only for 15 - 30 minutes that’s uninterrupted time you’ll gain back and be able to contribute to a task or project.
I noticed that meditation has gained popularity in many of my professional circles recently. And that’s because it works. Yes, it can help us become more mindful and less stressed, but it also has physical health benefits, such as lower blood pressure. And it doesn’t have to take up a huge portion of your day. Even just five minutes of relaxed, focused breathing can have positive benefits.
As professional women, it can sometimes feel like there is no escaping the stress that engulfs our daily lives. And while the extra pressures women face will likely remain for some time to come, there are steps we can take to make our lives not just less stressful, but better in general. We simply need to find a way to make time for them.
Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives.
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