Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Dr Eki Wari on March 21, 2022

Top Stress Relief Advice for Working Moms

Since the pandemic began, moms have taken on more then they can handle. Share this article with all working moms you know who could use some evidence-based stress relief tips in their life.

Work from home mom min scaled

It’s no surprise that working moms need stress relief now more than ever. This is especially true since the pandemic began.

According to a 2020 article, the pandemic has affected women more profoundly than men in several areas. This includes at the workplace (especially in the health and social sector) and home, with an increased workload due to lockdown and quarantine measures.

In this article, we’ll highlight some of the best stress relief tactics for working moms, and why it’s so important to have a plan in place.

Why Women Need More Stress Relief Than Men

During the pandemic, moms reported being more stressed than dads.

While the pandemic has been taking a toll on everyone, mental health-wise, it’s the work-from-home mothers who are suffering more. They have to juggle between 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 has been 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 To Identify The Physical Signs Of Stress

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:  

  1. Irregular menstrual cycles, more painful premenstrual syndrome and periods, and changes in the cycle lengths. 
  2. Reduced sexual desire. 
  3. Stress may affect a woman’s ability to conceive, her pregnancy’s health and postpartum adjustment.   
  4. 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. 
  5. Postmenopausal women can also have more intense hot flashes. 

How Can Women Find Balance?

The APA suggests doing little actions that might help balance your life and manage stress: 

  1. Adapt your attitude by acknowledging your feelings and accepting that nobody’s perfect. 
  2. Promote self-care. 
  3. Try to be more organised by creating a schedule, making a priority list and delegating tasks. 
  4. Stay in contact with people who matter, like friends and family. 
  5. 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 Methods That Work

Turning on music and dancing has been shown to reduce stress, and you can do it right from home.

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. Turn On Music

Based on a 2015 study on university students, researchers learned that listening to music can reduce daily stress. 

2. Picture Yourself Surrounded By 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 Diet That Promotes Stress Relief

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.

4. Engage Your Creative Side

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. Focus On Your Breathing

Sometimes all you need to do is to breathe all the negativity out. A 2017 study revealed that diaphragmatic breathing practice could set off the body’s relaxation responses and reduce the consequences of stress.

6. Move More

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. Talk To 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 Eu Yan Sang website

References

  1. Frontiers. 2020. Women’s Mental Health in the Time of Covid-19 Pandemic  
  2. Research Gate. 2019. Gender Socialization  
  3. American Psychological Association. 2018. Stress effects on the body
  4. American Psychological Association. 2020. How working women can manage work-life balance during COVID-19 
  5. Science Direct. 2015. Music listening as a means of stress reduction in daily life
  6. Frontiers. 2018. Nature-Based Guided Imagery as an Intervention for State Anxiety  
  7. Research Gate. 2018. Pomegranate juice attenuates neurotoxicity and histopathological changes of the nervous system induced by aluminum in mice. 
  8. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2011. Chinese Herbal Formula Xiao Yao San for Treatment of Depression: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials 
  9. 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. 
  10. MDPI. 2018. Creative Arts Interventions for Stress Management and Prevention—A Systematic Review  
  11. Frontiers. 2017. The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults   

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