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The Balancing Act: A Guide to Stress Management for Women

The Balancing Act: A Guide to Stress Management for Women

Since the COVID-19 global pandemic hit, many women have more responsibilities than ever, including working full time, raising their families, serving as teachers or taking on the role of caregiver for aging parents.

“Women are historically more stressed than men,” said Eugene Sun, MD, psychiatrist at Archbold Northside Center for Behavioral and Psychiatric Care. “Chronic stress takes a toll on the body and can lead to other emotional or physical consequences, such as depression and anxiety, high blood pressure or decreased immune function. Chronic stress can also impact a women’s ability to get pregnant or worsen menopause symptoms.”

Stress Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

A little stress can be a good thing. It can help you avoid danger or meet deadlines. Everyone experiences stress now and then, but if you have stress long-term, it will start to negatively impact your body.

Signs of chronic, long-term stress include:

  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Changes in appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Forgetfulness
  • Gastrointestinal issues, such as constipation and diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Pain, including back pain
  • Sexual problems
  • Skin issues, such as acne, rashes and hives
  • Sleeping too much or not enough
  • Stiffness in the jaw or neck
  • Stomachaches
  • Weight loss or gain

How to Manage Stress

To help manage stress, you can try different strategies to find what works best for you. Some ideas include:

  • Eat a healthy diet. Load up on fruits, vegetables and lean protein to help regulate nerve and brain cells.
  • Exercise. Physical activity helps relieve stress, depression and anxiety. Aim for 150 minutes of moderately intense or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week.
  • Get enough sleep. Sleep affects the entire body. Get at least seven to nine hours per night.
  • Practice mindfulness and meditation. These relaxation techniques can help calm your nervous system.
  • Say no. If you’re maxed our at home or work, set boundaries and ask for help when you need it.

If you can’t manage stress on your own, don’t be afraid to seek help. Your primary care provider or a therapist can help find other ways to manage stress that may work better for you.

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