Best Stress Relief Tips For Working Moms
Although the pandemic affected everyone differently, working moms seemed to take the blunt of the stress.
According to one article, the pandemic affected women more profoundly than men in several areas. This includes it the workplace (especially in the health and social sectors) and home, with an increased workload due to lockdown and quarantine.
Now that the pandemic is mostly over, many working moms find themselves still dealing with stress. In this article, our health experts provide their best stress relief tips for working moms so you can help find balance.
Why Are Working Moms So Stressed?
While the pandemic took a toll on everyone, mental health-wise, it’s the work-from-home mothers who suffered more. They had to juggle caring for their children and doing their jobs.
You might ask, how about the men? Don’t they share the responsibilities at home and experience the same mental burden? To respond to that, first, we need to explain what “gender socialization” is.
Gender socialization is defined as “a process by which individuals develop, refine and learn to ‘do’ gender through internalizing gender norms and roles as they interact with their family, social networks and other social institutions.” In other words, every boy and girl is taught to behave differently. As a result, society has differing expectations about every gender’s responsibility. Girls, for instance, are expected to take care of their children.
This may explain why there was a rise in domestic violence cases during the pandemic. It is reported that asking for more support at home can trigger violence against women. Lacking domestic and emotional support will eventually deteriorate women’s mental health and, thus, cause stress.
How Does Stress Affect Working Moms?
Stress might be a mental problem, but the symptoms can manifest physically. According to American Psychological Association (APA), these symptoms affect many parts of the body, from the muscles, heart, nerves to the respiratory, endocrine and gastrointestinal systems.
The negative effects on women include:
- Irregular menstrual cycles, more painful premenstrual syndrome and periods, and changes in the cycle lengths.
- Reduced sexual desire.
- Stress may affect a woman’s ability to conceive, her pregnancy’s health and postpartum adjustment.
- Women already in menopause have less estrogen to help the blood vessels handle stress better. Therefore, these women are at a greater risk of heart disease when experiencing stress.
- Postmenopausal women can also have more intense hot flashes.
What can be done about this?
The APA suggests doing little actions that might help balance your life and manage stress:
- Adapt your attitude by acknowledging your feelings and accepting that nobody’s perfect.
- Promote self-care.
- Try to be more organised by creating a schedule, making a priority list and delegating tasks.
- Stay in contact with people who matter, like friends and family.
- Involve the children in your planning. For example, give them a task and reward them for finishing it without bothering your work.
7 Stress Relief Tips For Working Moms
When you’re overwhelmed, there are some easy things you can do to tackle that feeling. Not only are they simple, but they are backed by science.
1. Listen to music.
According to a 2015 study on university students, listening to music can reduce daily stress.
2. Picture yourself in nature.
A study found that guided imagery reduces anxiety. While any imagery seems to work just fine, the study concluded that the nature-based one has the most relaxing effect.
3. Eat a healthy diet.
Consume foods or beverages, such as pomegranate, that help lessen stress. A study on mice showed that pomegranate juice has excellent anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties. Furthermore, a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) formula, Xiao Yao San, was discovered to have the same effect as antidepressants.
Similarly, Danggui, or Chinese Angelica, also has antidepressant effects and a balancing effect on the female hormonal system. However, Danggui is not recommended for pregnant women. Additionally, you can also use Bak Foong pills to help combat stress associated with menstruation and fluctuating hormone levels.
Meanwhile, the medicinal mushroom Lingzhi has adaptogenic properties that help hijack the body’s stress response to bring down cortisol levels. It has been shown to induce relaxation and help promote sleep.
4. Get creative.
According to Behavioral Sciences, people who engage in creative activities have significantly decreased stress levels. These activities include art, music, dance or drama therapy.
5. Try breathing exercises.
6. Make time for exercise.
For many people, an endorphin rush is all they need to get those good vibes flowing. Simply clocking in 30 minutes of exercise three times a week is all one needs to get out of a funk. The best part? Aside from putting you in a good mood, you’ll burn some calories too.
7. Ask for help from your partner.
What better way to release stress than to “let it all out” with the person you share your life with. This way, your partner will be more aware of the stressors in your life — whether it be work-related or personal issues — and provide the support you need to get through tough times.
Although you cannot avoid stress in your life, it can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Fortunately, these stress relief methods and life-balancing tips can help you calm down and improve your wellbeing. Despite many ways to improve mental health on your own, if you are experiencing overwhelming stress, you should consider consulting your trusted healthcare professional.
This is an adaptation of an article, “Women & Stress,” which first appeared on the Eu Yan Sang website.
- Frontiers. 2020. Women’s Mental Health in the Time of Covid-19 Pandemic
- Research Gate. 2019. Gender Socialization
- American Psychological Association. 2018. Stress effects on the body
- American Psychological Association. 2020. How working women can manage work-life balance during COVID-19
- Science Direct. 2015. Music listening as a means of stress reduction in daily life
- Frontiers. 2018. Nature-Based Guided Imagery as an Intervention for State Anxiety
- Research Gate. 2018. Pomegranate juice attenuates neurotoxicity and histopathological changes of the nervous system induced by aluminum in mice.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2011. Chinese Herbal Formula Xiao Yao San for Treatment of Depression: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials
- National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2016. The Antidepressant Effect of Angelica sinensis Extracts on Chronic Unpredictable Mild Stress-Induced Depression Is Mediated via the Upregulation of the BDNF Signaling Pathway in Rats.
- MDPI. 2018. Creative Arts Interventions for Stress Management and Prevention—A Systematic Review
- Frontiers. 2017. The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults