In today’s harried world, it is not uncommon for women to wear many hats in their families. Statistics show women are more often than men tasked with caregiving responsibilities for both children and family members inside their home.
According to the American Psychological Association survey, Stress in America™: Our Health at Risk, women are more likely than the general public to cite family health concerns (57 percent for women, 53 percent for the general public) and family responsibilities (62 percent for women, 57 percent for the general public) as sources of stress. In general, caregivers, both men and women, are also more likely to report higher levels of stress than others in the country (6.5 for caregivers, 5.2 for the general public, in 2011, on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is little or no stress and 10 is a great deal of stress).
As health care decision-makers and often caregivers for their families, women tend to put others’ needs before their own. With so many competing responsibilities, women often don’t take time for themselves and their overall wellness can be compromised. It is vitally important that women give themselves a break and find healthy ways to manage stress and live well.
Healthy lifestyle strategies for busy women, mothers and caregivers:
- Take care of yourself — Set aside time to engage in healthy activities that you enjoy or that help you relax. Identify hobbies, increase exercising or eating healthy foods. Making time for yourself will help you better manage stressful situations and allow you to better care for the whole family. Also, find something that makes you laugh – humor is important, and laughter can really make life a whole lot easier.
- Recognize how you deal with family stress — Some people deal with stress by engaging in unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, drinking, comfort eating, or yelling and becoming irritable. Remember that stress is inevitable. What makes the biggest difference is how you manage that stress. More