For all ye women, we have the brave women of the women’s liberation movement to thank. Especially for the educated, middle class or upper-class femme, the image of the weak and submissive housewife is a thing of the past.
We get to assert ourselves: we celebrate our femininity – the way we dress, the way we uphold our beauty and down to the way we live. We have equal opportunities as men in the job market. Like them, we are capable to buy our own properties and invest our own hard-earned money. For most of us, the world is our oyster.
In fact, we don’t have anything to complain about, right? Yet, studies show that for 25- 40 years old, working and married women, priorities pile up to the brink of exhaustion.
We are, as studies show, more stressed than our male counterparts.
Are we, really?
In a 2008 study conducted by Yale’s Dr. Tara Chaplin, she found that women are more likely to feel sad and anxious because of stress. We also tend to dwell on those feelings.
This is because women tend to be emotional and in the workplace setting, we feel the need to fix and mend relationships. As Chaplin wrote, women respond to stressful situations with a “tend and befriend” model, while men use the “fight or flight approach”.
“We men fight and argue for 10 minutes. Then we go out to grab beers,” Jerry, a 31-year old Sales Manager in Manila shared.
The rise of capitalism and the dual roles also worsen the situation for women. For those who are wives and mothers, they carry the pressures of both performing well in their chosen career and being the “light of the home.”
“Society expects us to do well as mothers. If we suck at that, they are quick to judge us. Workaholic kasi,” shared Macy, a 34 years old Online Strategist and mother of two.
And so it appears the pressure is society-dictated. Women have accepted they need to be effective multi-taskers to be good. And that’s why stress levels spike up.
For the working women wives and mothers out there, who shrug as if to say “we have no choice”, here are tips to help us handle our stress better.
Say No to “Stress Drilon”
1. Do some stretching or exercising every morning
I get you, girl. It really takes A LOT OF EFFORT. You were tired last night and the morning after, you are always in a hurry to go to work.
But think of what adjusting your body clock can do. A short 15 to 20 minute exercise releases endorphins, which are happy hormones.
Exercising jumpstarts your day with a fresh, happy state of mind, helping you ward off stress at work.
2. Adopt the male “flight or fight” approach
Sure, society has stereotyped you to be a relationship-focused kind of worker, but who’s stopping you from adopting the male approach if it’s helpful?
Stop mistaking work relationships for friendships. It’s work, business. When there are conflicts at work, don’t take it personally. You don’t need the extra baggage.
Now if you have real friends in the office, that’s a bonus.
A good tip: have friends in other departments to lessen professional tension.
3. Detox before leaving the office
Never ever bring home your work. Daily workplace grind keeps us at a certain high. Before leaving work, try to detox yourself. Take a break and unload the stress before you punch out and leave. You’re like a car engine that needs to go from gear four to gear one.
“I always drink tea or a water with a squeeze of lemon before I leave work. During this time, I zone out and just stare outside my window,” 42-years old Lea, a Media Manager shared.
Leave all the work baggage on your desk. There’s always the next day anyway.
4. Give yourself some “me” time before you sleep
A zombie for me is someone who goes home straight from work, brushes her teeth, changes to her pajamas, closes the lights and sleeps.
For mothers, from the office you go straight to tutoring your kids and striking conversations with your husband.
You always need to devote some me time: fixing your nails, trying a new set of makeup, or reading a good book. Anything!
5. Have an outlet, start a hobby
A friend, who declined to reveal her name, told me of how her problems with her husband pushed her to study photography. She had a day job as a business owner, yet she found time to study photography, join a club and take good pictures.
This lessened her stress over her work and marriage problem. Pursuing a hobby different from what you do from work will prevent burnout.
At the end of the day, trying to never lose of your self will lessen stress. Don’t let work define who you are. You work to live, and not the other way around.
As my boss exclaimed, “Ikinaganda ko ba ‘yan?” (referring to stress or work issues) If the answer is no, then it’s not worth fussing over.
Photo by Eman Payumo