Need for Stress Management for Women
I believe that everyone is experiencing higher levels of stress in the “Information Age.” The pace of change has accelerated to the point where we are forced to confront more changes and faster paced changes in this day and age, than at any time in the past. Just the pace of development of new information has many of us just spinning to keep up. I remember getting my first new personal business computer in 1989. The hardware and software, though getting old, were still plenty functional for 3 years. I bought a new computer two months ago and I have had to “upgrade the software several times since then and the hardware was “old” when I was taking the machine out of the box.
Since the 1960’s, the pace has increased and roles have changed. There are more women in the work force (with jobs outside of the home/farm.) In fact, in many parts of the country/world, most families require more than one person in the work force just to meet the daily expenses of living. In the early part of this working revolution, there was an assumption by many companies that men should receive more money (higher pay for the same job) because they were the “bread winners” for the family. This has not changed in many parts of this world. There were also many limitations imposed for women in the level of their career developments. Though these attitudes are changing (in many parts of the world), there are still areas that have not been completely addressed. For example, how many working women come home from work with the old expectations that they are responsible for the “homemaking” duties like: dinner preparation, cleaning, shopping, and childcare. Men are gradually, though often grudgingly, taking on their share of many of these tasks (except where the cultural or religious beliefs discourage this evolution.)
Women have special stress management requirements and considerations. Women are often taught (most unconsciously by their families or communities) to not complain about the two careers that they assume, working outside the home and also as the center of home activities. Women need to take care of themselves better, more so now than ever before. They must be better role models to their peers and children in the skills that are needed for self-preservation and improved quality of their lives.
Today, women need to get regular exercise, eat better, and take time for relaxation. Everyone needs to make time for self-care that can also include continuing education, spiritual development, positive relationships, and financial and career planning. The challenge is to find the time and the “support” necessary to make this happen. I know that without this self-care, you are left with a “burned-out,” unhappy, and unhealthy person who the family and the greater world will find, in the long-run will not be able to make the positive contributions that would be ideal. We need to support each other more now ever before. We need to encourage greater health and happiness for all women.
Some men believe that playing aggressive games like football or racquetball are relaxing, and most of the time they are wrong, but women also have their misconceptions about what is relaxing. Women tend to get together with friends or family for meals out, shopping, even “pampering.” Sometimes these activities are not so ideal or even relaxing. Every woman is an individual with her own requirements and needs. Spending money, shopping in crowds, binging on foods (desserts,) even breathing fumes from getting your nails done are not always the most healthy choices. If you do not know what is really “right” for you (and your body) then consider getting some lifestyle coaching and test the options until you “know” what is best for you and what really works. The investment in time and money will save you time and energy in the long run and definitely improve your quality of life. Also, remember that close relationships are important and can be important for stress management. However, healthy relationships start with “healthy” partners/friends and “needy”/demanding friends are not always helpful for personal stress management. (Make good choices where you spend your time and energy…)
Along the way, do not forget to take good care of yourself! Be present and enjoy everyday. Enjoy time with your family and good friends. Find time for gratitude!
L. John Mason, Ph.D. is the author of the best selling “Guide to Stress Reduction.” Since 1977, he has offered Executive Coaching and Training through the Stress Education Center at www.dstress.com.