Stress is unavoidable in today’s fast-paced world. Almost everyone experiences stress at some point in their lives. Women are no exception to this. Although they have come a long way and are making significant accomplishments in various spheres, many women are suffering from burnout, caused by prolonged stress. Women in tech, especially, are under constant stress, due to their office workload, prolonged working hours, and the many personal obligations that they have to take care of at home. These women are always on the lookout for stress management techniques that will help them stay healthy and keep their mental health in check.
Stress Among Tech Women Has Skyrocketed!!
Stress has become the new normal today. Across the world, many people are grappling with stress in their everyday lives. The pandemic has crippled the world for over a year and a half. Tech professionals everywhere, especially those who have opted for work from home (WFH), are dealing with considerable stress, mainly due to increased workload.
Women in tech are bearing the brunt of the pandemic even more. Most of these women, who are currently working from home, are pushing themselves harder, juggling many things all at once. These women are experiencing chronic stress, which is putting their health at greater risk.
Many women have quit their jobs, unable to cope with the stress, while many others are still looking for effective stress management tips that will help them be productive at work and handle other household duties as well.
Our experts have come up with various stress management techniques that the tech women can adopt to their advantage and manage the stress at work.
But foremost, women have to understand the causes of their stressful life and how stress management can play an effective role in dealing with the stress.
Is Working for a Woman Stressful?
Stress is our body’s response to the external situations or challenges in life. When we are unable to cope with certain unavoidable circumstances or overcome hurdles in our life, our body experiences stress and our energies get depleted.
Working women today are suffering burnout due to prolonged stress. Tech women, in general, are spending hours in front of their laptops, trying their best to meet their work deadlines. Moreover, they are shouldering other responsibilities at home, such as taking care of children and running errands.
A lot of women in tech often complain that they are finding it difficult to focus on their work while taking care of their household duties. They have an imbalanced work-life, as opposed to men who don’t usually share responsibilities at home. As a result, working women experience more stress than men do.
Aside from the imbalanced work-life, there are other factors that cause stress in working women. Many women have risen up their career ladder and secured leadership positions in many tech firms. In a nutshell, they are now a part of the rat race, where trying to prove one’s worth has become the norm. Tech women are going out of their way, indeed, to prove themselves and reach their career goals. This has put them under constant stress.
Disparities in the workplaces and lack of job satisfaction are other factors that put tech women in stress. Many firms don’t reward their women professionals appropriately. Working women should understand that investing in mental and physical well-being is as important as achieving their career goals. For, only when our body and mind are healthy will we be able to handle even the most difficult tasks at ease without getting stressful.
Physical & Psychological Effects of Stress in Working Women
Not many women are aware that a vast majority of their health problems are caused due to chronic stress. Although stress can motivate us or push us to work harder and help us accomplish our goals, it can have disastrous effects on our body and mind.
Common signs of stress include restlessness, irritability, headaches, fatigue, body ache, depleted energy, mood swings, irritable bowel syndrome and premenstrual syndrome. Prolonged stress can even lead to depression. Also, oftentimes, women who are unable to cope with stress also resort to unhealthy habits, such as overeating or binging on junk foods. This again will impair their physical and mental health.
Women in tech should watch out for these warning signs of stress and nip them in the bud before they suffer mental and physical breakdown. They should adopt effective stress management strategies to keep their stress under control.
How Important Is Stress Management for Working Women?
Stress management is the need of the hour for many women working in tech firms.
Effective stress management is essential to cope with the stress that women in tech generally have to endure at work and in their homes. A simple relaxation technique, when followed regularly, can help them overcome stress and be proactive in their work.
Working women are the ones who are facing the brunt of chronic stress due to their imbalanced work-life. Stress management is essential for them, as it will help them identify the sources that cause stress and come up with strategies to eliminate them.
Rooting out stress at an early stage will help women think clearly and be proactive in their work. Women can experiment with various stress management techniques to better cope with stress.
Effective stress management will also help them maintain healthy relationships with their colleagues or their loved ones, as women who are extremely stressed tend to lash out at others or vent out their frustrations on their dear ones. Working women should apply the stress management techniques in their daily lives for a better work-life balance.
How Can Tech Women Deal with Stress at Work?
We know that all those women who work in tech firms are in need of stress management tools to lead a balanced life. Our experts have come up with effective ways to handle stress in a better way.
- Have fixed work timings
Now that the majority of women are working from home, many are stretching their work hours from the regular 8–9 hours to 12 hours. Most of these working women carry their work to bed and sometimes drift off to sleep while working. This ultimately leads to burnout leaving little or no time and energy for enjoying other aspects of life. So, how about dedicating a fixed time for your work and trying to finish your work in that time? You can, if you avoid any distractions during the stipulated work hours and focus only on your work.
- Do not give up on your workout
Sedentary living can be harmful to your body and mind. Join an online fitness training or yoga session. Dedicate at least half-an-hour to 45 minutes to work out or yoga. Exercise releases endorphins which are believed to have a positive effect on your body and mind, and help you beat stress.
- Schedule your day/Set your priorities right
Take time and schedule your day. List down all the things that you have to do for the day, and when you complete each one of them, give yourself a pat on your back. If possible, try to accomplish the most difficult tasks in the morning hours when your mind and body would be fresh.
- Take Breaks
Working continuously for hours at length, without a break, can increase your stress levels. Set smaller goals and try working in sprints. Even a break of 10 minutes can be refreshing to your mind. During such breaks, refrain from staring at mobile or laptop screen. You can even invest your break in a hobby like gardening, listening to music or reading your favourite book. Get back to work and see how productive you can be.
- Keep a check on your food
Healthy eating can be effective in managing the stress. A balanced and nutritious diet can go a long way in keeping your stress levels under control. Many women in tech overeat or binge on junk foods when they are stressed out, and some even resort to chocolates or ice- creams to beat the stress. Although such habits provide temporary relief, they can cause disastrous effects on our body and mind. Moreover, caffeine, which is found in coffee, can keep your mind alert, but if consumed in large amounts, can impair your sleep, which will eventually result in stress. So, practice healthy eating if you want to manage the stress.
- Ensure quality sleep
Women who report stress often suffer from inadequate sleep. This happens most often when they carry their work to bed and slog until they become exhausted. Wind up your work, by all means, one or two hours before your bed time. You can also practice relaxation techniques to get quality sleep, such as meditation, reading a book or listening to relaxing music before hitting the bed.
- Keep toxic relationships at bay
Sometimes, toxic relationships can affect your mental health and result in stress. This can further affect your work life, as you will not be able to focus on your work better. The constant stream of
thoughts about an argument you had with your friend or spouse can distract you from work. This may, lead to poor focus and concentration and, eventually cause stress. Avoid such toxic relationships that may be detrimental to your mental health. Politely excuse yourself whenever an argument arises or simply walk away from toxic people if you have to.
How can women manage stress?
Apart from working women, there are other women who experience stress in their everyday lives. Housewives and unmarried women, who don’t have jobs, often report high levels of stress due to societal expectations or lack of financial independence. Most of the women who are housewives remain stuck in their homes and spend their entire lives enslaved within four walls. Sometimes, their household responsibilities don’t give them enough time to go out or invest in other leisure activities. Eventually many such women give in to stress and show symptoms of depression. Stress management techniques can help such women in overcoming the stress.
Build a network of friends
Building a network of friends is an effective stress management technique that women can adopt to relieve stress. Squeeze in time from your busy work schedule and spend quality time with your friends. Open up to them about the challenges you face every day. They might offer ideas or become your sounding boards. You can even spend time with your husband or children and enjoy a vacation or a short trip with them.
Journaling is one of the effective ways to vent your emotions. Take a few minutes out from your everyday routine and write down your thoughts and feelings, and think about ways to enhance your daily routine.
Invest in a hobby
Invest in a hobby. It can be anything – cooking, painting, gardening or singing. Spend some time doing things that you have always wanted to do. Start investing in a hobby, and stress will fly away.
Practice Pranayama and meditation
Pranayama helps regulate your breath and calms down your nervous system. Inculcate such meditative practices into your daily routine and see the changes for yourself. Pranayama also helps you concentrate, which is essential for meditation. Regular practice of Pranayama and meditation has a calming effect on your mind, and this in turn reduces your stress levels. Spend at least 10 minutes every day for deep breathing exercises, followed by 10 minutes of meditation, ideally during morning hours.
Stress is an intrinsic part of our daily lives and working women, especially women in tech have to face enormous levels of stress while getting ahead in their careers while also striving to achieve that elusive work-life balance. The stress management strategies and coping mechanisms elucidated in this article, if imbibed can go a long way for helping women in tech lead fuller and happier lives.