Stress Management for Women of All Ages
Stress is an inevitable part of life for everyone, but if you don’t learn how to manage it, it can take over your life and harm your health. Many women try to “power through” their stress, or put off self-care until everyone else has been taken care of first.
Let’s talk about why stress matters, how to recognize its effects, and tips for managing it in women of all ages.
Why does stress matter?
Stress is your body’s natural response to the events that you experience in life. Everyone experiences stress.
Stress can be positive, helping motivate you to work toward your goals or overcome problems. But when stress becomes excessive, it can also be destructive. Chronic stress can cause health problems or make existing conditions even worse, affecting your quality of life.
What are some signs that stress could be causing problems?
- Physical: Headaches, trouble sleeping, tiredness, pain, overeating/undereating, drug and alcohol abuse, lack of energy, upset stomach, digestive problems, racing heart, less interest in things you used to enjoy.
- Emotional: Anxiety, depression, anger, irritability, feelings of being out of control, mood swings, frustration.
- Mental: Forgetfulness, worry, difficulty making decisions, lack of focus, numbness.
- Social: Loss of intimacy, withdrawal, isolation, relational conflict, loneliness, apathy, guilt, despair.
What are some tips for managing stress?
- Recognize and acknowledge your stress, both the causes and effects.
- Talk to your doctor or other health professional. We can monitor your physical signs and offer resources to help your health and wellbeing.
- Exercise: A daily walk can boost your mood and relieve some stress.
- Meditation or yoga: Slow stretching, mindful movement, and focused breathing can be very calming.
- Cutting back on obligations: Learning to say no to extra things can allow you the space to focus on the things that matter most to you.
- Journaling: Writing down what you are going through can be therapeutic, as well as helpful in identifying patterns.
- Prioritize sleep: Keep sleep a priority for overall health and wellness.
What do I need to know about stress during pregnancy?
While some degree of stress is normal as you adjust to body and life changes, if you find that negative thoughts and feelings are starting to dominate your thinking, impacting your ability to function in your daily life, this could be a sign that you are experiencing a mental health condition.
If you have lost interest or enjoyment in things that you once enjoyed or find yourself worrying over things to the point that your life is being affected, this could be a sign of antenatal depression or anxiety. Read on for more information on mental health during pregnancy.
It’s important to manage your stress in a healthy way and seek out support when you’re struggling. Make sure to talk with your healthcare provider about any signs and symptoms of stress you’ve been experiencing.