Men and women are more stressed today than ever before. From a work-life balance that seems irreparably out of whack to social unrest and climate change, there’s no shortage of things to worry about. Throw children and/or aging parents into the mix, and it’s little wonder that American adults are anxious — especially women. The American Psychological Association reports that, whether married or single, childless or raising children, across the board, women are significantly more stressed than men.
Why Women Tend To Be More Stressed Than Men
There are several reasons why women are typically more stressed than men, and it all starts at home.
Great disparity exists in the amount of work American women and men do around the house or apartment. In fact, a report published by the United Nations in 2018 found that women do triple the amount of housework that men do.
From dusting the blinds to keeping everyone in clean socks, women pick up the lion’s share of this work that is essential yet not always viewed as work. What’s more, they’re not paid a cent for it, which is one of the main reasons why it’s not seen as work in the first place.
The end result is that women have to forfeit time they could spend earning actual money or recharging their batteries so they can keep pace with the unbalanced workload in their shared household.
Managing the Calendar
Women are also often responsible for maintaining, managing and memorizing the entire family’s schedule. It falls upon the woman of the house to remember things such as her in-laws’ birthdays and her partner’s upcoming work events or trips. If kids are part of the picture, there’s often a never-ending stream of band concerts, soccer games and due dates to meet.
All of these management tasks are in addition to a woman’s own busy schedule. As such, women are forced to perform mental gymnastics on a daily basis to cover for their family members.
The Fiction of “Having It All”
You don’t have to look far to spot the unrealistic expectations that society puts on women. In films, on television and splashed across the pages of glossy magazines, viewers see women who are gracefully managing to “have it all:”
- A happy and satisfied life partner
- A vibrant, adventurous and monogamous sex life
- A large, spotless and tastefully decorated home
- A chic wardrobe, manicured nails and lustrous, bouncy hair
- A satisfying, high-powered job
- A nutritious, home-cooked meal on the table every night
- An basketball lineup worth of beautiful and prodigious children
- A sleek, gym-honed physique that makes it impossible to believe that she’s given birth to children at all
- Regular vacations to sun-soaked locales
If all this seems ridiculous, that's because it is. Still, social media, particularly Instagram, only feeds this fiction.
The amount of emotional work that women do while trying (and inevitably failing) to measure up to these preposterous standards takes an immense toll. Much like the unpaid housework she performs, this interior heavy lifting goes largely unrecognized.
Women are not only exhausted and stressed but also experience feelings of guilt and shame when they fail to clear the hurdles for womanhood set by airbrushed influencers and completely manufactured situations across the media they consume.
How Men & Women Respond to Stress Differently
Women and men respond to stress in many similar ways, including fatigue, insomnia and anxiety. Where the sexes differ is the response to those shared symptoms.
Because women are so consistently stressed, associated symptoms are not often viewed as extraordinary or cause for greater concern. Many women — and even their physicians — are more likely to shrug them off. "It's just stress." If you find that you are in a state of chronic stress, try an over-the-counter medication, such as Brillia for Adults, to help relieve your symptoms. With no harmful side effects, Brillia works to safely reduce anxiety, enhance clarity, and improve focus in your day-to-day life.
This normalization of women’s stress responses can have dire consequences. Take heart disease, for example. It’s the No. 1 cause of death in both women and men, and yet researchers know very little about how it appears and operates in women because the vast majority of what we know about it is the result of studies done exclusively on men. Women’s physical responses may be similar, but the attention paid to them is shockingly absent at times.
Can Long-Term Stress Cause Anxiety?
Anxiety is just one of several health issues fueled by long-term stress. Others include:
- Depression and other mental health issues
- Decreased libido
- Gastrointestinal issues, such as ulcerative colitis
- Irregular periods
- Acne, eczema and psoriasis
- Hair loss
- Cardiovascular disease, including hypertension, stroke, heart disease and heart attack
How Women Can Cope
First, women must reject those socially prescribed feelings of guilt for prioritizing themselves. Introspection and self-care are vital to reducing stress and improving your overall health. Take a moment to look into Brillia’s Holistic 5 Pillars and embrace the suggestions found within each. Making necessary lifestyle changes can only help you in the long-run, leading you to a more positive future.
Identifying what’s stressing you out can make choosing the best coping mechanism far easier. Cutting through a dense layer of stress may up this task’s difficulty, but taking the time to pinpoint who or what is fueling your anxiety is instrumental to putting the kibosh on that source of stress.
Talking to a trusted friend or therapist is an excellent way to expedite the process, illuminate repetitive triggers and formulate a game plan for either mitigating those triggers' effects or banishing them from your life all together.
When some women hear “self-care,” they cringe. Here’s the thing: You don’t have to fling a foil-covered casserole at your partner and head off to the spa for the weekend with a dramatic flourish to practice self-care.
But you certainly could.
Instead, start prioritizing your well-being in small ways on a regular basis. By making time to practice mindfulness, eat well, get enough sleep and minimize screen time, you can ease general anxiety as well as lay the groundwork for success in dealing with the specific triggers you’ve already identified.
Some degrees of stress are inevitable. However, it’s how you manage the stress that matters. As researchers’ findings about the stress gap between women and men show, women are skilled at handling great responsibility and being generous with their time and compassion. It's time to start turning your valuable time and compassion toward yourself.