If you often feel stressed during your day-to-day running a business, managing a household, or juggling other responsibilities, you’re not alone.
While everyone experiences stress at times, women are increasingly reporting higher levels of stress and more significant physical, psychological, and emotional symptoms.
Of course, stress can help give you a boost to meet challenges and solve problems, but for many, that stress can become chronic and act as a barrier to success rather than a benefit.
What are the subtle signs of stress?
We all have hectic and demanding lives, so you may think: being stressed is normal. But, for many women, symptoms of low-level stress are constant, so it can be challenging to notice when your stress levels are rising.
To take a proactive approach to your wellbeing, you should familiarise yourself with the common symptoms of stress, so you can recognise when those levels are rising—before you burn out.
Please be mindful that these symptoms, as with any physical changes, may indicate a medical issue, and you must discuss them with your doctor. If you are experiencing any of the following changes, your doctor can advise on targeted management strategies and assess you for other health conditions.
Some common subtle symptoms of stress include:
- Memory and concentration problems
- Increase in anxiety and/or depression
- Suffering from overwhelm
- IBS symptoms
- Falling ill more often
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Nervous habits
- Eating more or less
This is not an exhaustive list, and again, please speak with your GP if you experience any changes.
Stress can impact your personal and professional life.
Have you ever spent time with someone and suddenly felt stressed or tired? This “second-hand stress” is a common and scientifically recognised phenomenon.
For female business owners, managers, and carers, your stress can significantly impact those you spend your time with.
Although you may not realise that you are more stressed than usual, you may notice that your family, co-workers, or employees seem more worried, less productive, and less focused. Often, this can be a more noticeable indicator that you should assess your own stress levels.
When you take action to reduce your stress levels, you may find that those around you are more centred, happier, and able to problem-solve more effectively.
Self-care can be simple.
While we know how important self-care is in managing stress, with busy schedules and demanding lives, it can be challenging to work out where to fit these practices into your life.
But once you implement some techniques, you may notice that you feel better prepared, more confident, and better able to manage your professional time by taking this time for yourself.
To maintain your enthusiasm for self-care, it’s essential to find sustainable, enjoyable, and rewarding techniques for you. Discovering those techniques is the key to reducing stress over the long term.
To start with, try one (or a few) of these small and straightforward self-care practices:
- Take a mini time-out by brewing a cup of tea or coffee (without multi-tasking) or step outside for a few minutes and breathe the fresh air.
- Start your day with a refreshing cold shower.
- Start a gratitude journal.
- Leave your phone out of the bedroom.
- Drink an extra glass of water.
- Engage your lymphatic system with deep breathing techniques.
Achieving a low-stress life.
Once you experience the benefits of small acts of self-care, you may begin to wonder, what next?
You can integrate some more highly effective strategies into your day-to-day to help prevent and manage stress and lead a well-balanced life. Of course, self-care is never a one-size-fits-all approach, so it is always worth seeking out the practices that resonate with you.
There are many longer-term strategies out there that can help you reduce stress, but some of the most popular and easy to integrate ones include:
- Establish an exercise routine—check with your doctor as to what activity may be best for you.
- Try slow exercise—tai chi and yoga are particularly effective at reducing stress while increasing positive emotions.
- Eat healthily—aim to eat a balanced diet that aligns with your nutrition requirements.
- Improve your sleep routine—go to bed at a regular time, reduce technology before bed, lower your lights, and practise a relaxing activity before sleeping.
- Speak with a counsellor, therapist, or trusted friend—sharing your worries and stress with a kind and trusted person can reduce stress, offer new solutions, and give you new perspectives.
- Regular massage therapy—massage is a proven method for reducing stress, raising endorphins, and healing the body.
Massage can target multiple elements of stress.
Regular massage therapy is one of the more effective ways to manage, reduce, and prevent stress.
When performed by a trained and experienced massage therapist, your therapy will be highly targeted to your personal needs.
Although massage has the physical benefit of reducing muscle tension, improving blood flow, stimulating the lymphatic system, and relieving pain, it also promotes mental wellbeing in a surprising number of ways.
Some of the psychological benefits of massage include the release of endorphins, serotonin and dopamine to enhance mood, increase energy, and improve sleep.
And, of course, the simple act of taking time out for yourself in a calm and quiet space can help ease the mind, reduce stress, and re-centre you.
Massage, combined with other acts of self-care, can have a tremendous positive impact on the symptoms of stress throughout your entire body and prepare your body for any future stressful events.
Karen Robertson, Bodywork Wellness
Karen is the founder and senior therapist of Bodywork Massage & Wellness with 20 years as a Massage Therapist under her belt, Karen has helped many clients to become balanced and restored through massage therapy and manual lymphatic drainage.
Today Bodywork Massage & Wellness has a team of amazing therapists that are out on the road inspiring exceptional health and delivering outstanding treatments for every body they touch. Delivering treatments to you at your place of living or accommodation, all you must do is relax. If you need some time out of your busy schedule to get some R&R. Why not book a mini R&R session with an ‘in-home’ massage appointment today!