Did you know that September is the month in which women experience the highest stress? Well it’s true! Coming on the heels of summer vacations (now mostly squeezed into August due to the need to meet July sports and camp schedules for many kids), September blasts off with “back to school” and launches all women into the compression of Fall activities and the looming deadline of year-end and holiday planning. This year the political turmoil in D.C., the chaotic run up to the 2016 presidential race and the stock market swings aren’t really helping the stress level of most women. Just imagine what Michelle Obama is experiencing in September 2015 “pain”.
In general, women’s stress levels are on the rise. Here’s what the American Psychological Association’s latest findings:
- Almost half of all women (49 percent) surveyed say their stress has increased over the past five years, compared to four in 10 (39 percent) men. Women are more likely than men (28 percent vs. 20 percent) to report having a great deal of stress (8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale).
- Women are more likely to report that money (79 percent compared with 73 percent of men) and the economy (68 percent compared with 61 percent of men) are sources of stress while men are far more likely to cite that work is a source of stress (76 percent compared with 65 percent of women).
- Married women report higher levels of stress than single women, with one-third (33 percent) reporting that they have experienced a great deal of stress in the past month (8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale) compared with one in five (22 percent) of single women. Similarly, significantly more married women report that their stress has increased over the past five years (56 percent vs. 41 percent of single women). Single women are also more likely than married women to say they feel they are doing enough to manage their stress (63 percent vs. 51 percent). Married women are more likely than single women to report they have experienced the following due to stress in the past month: feeling as though they could cry (54 percent vs. 33 percent), feeling irritable or angry (52 percent vs. 38 percent), having headaches (48 percent vs. 33 percent) and experiencing fatigue (47 percent vs. 35 percent).
- Women are more likely to report physical and emotional symptoms of stress than men, such as having had a headache (41 percent vs. 30 percent), having felt as though they could cry (44 percent vs. 15 percent), or having had an upset stomach or indigestion (32 percent vs. 21 percent) in the past month.
Even more worrisome are the poor statistics surrounding women’s’ ability to manage stress:
- Only 35 percent report success in their efforts to manage stress (compared with 69 percent who believe this is important)
- A similar proportion, 33 percent of women report being successful in their efforts to get enough sleep (even though 75 percent believe this is important)
- 36 percent report success in their efforts to eat healthy (compared with 64 percent who believe this is important)
- And only 29 percent are successful in their efforts to be physically active (compared with 54 percent who believe this is important).
So what’s an Adventure Woman to do?? Here are our top 5 tips for reducing your 2015 Year End stress levels:
- GET OUTSIDE. Breathing in nature, discovering a new hiking trail, getting lost in a National Park and collecting a new set of Fall leaves, shells or rocks will restore your mojo and give your inner Zen a healthy boost.
- UNPLUG. Information overload and over communication from being the always connected parent, partner and employee is not reducing your stress, it is a major cause of it. How hard would it really be to just pretend you mistakenly dropped your cell in the toilet? Not that hard!
- CELEBRATE YOURSELF. Get creative and make something new. Treat yourself to a cooking class. Learn about wines. Teach a class. Forget Labor Day. Declare one day this Fall “[Your Name Here] DAY” and be totally committed to doing things all day which you uniquely enjoy. You deserve this. Frequently and regularly.
- GIVE BACK. There is no better way to stop you from focusing on the sources of your stress than by empathizing with someone else’s. Find a way to do something for someone who is facing even greater challenges. Put life in perspective.
- GET ENGAGED. GET ACTIVE. Creating positive social connections combined with regular exercise are two of the best secrets to managing stress. In fact, these two tenets are the basis for ALL of AdventureWomen’s trips. We wouldn’t steer you wrong. Find a posse and a passion and you’ll be happier and healthier! Try something new!