The symptoms of stress in females, and ways to stay healthy.
November 6 is National Stress Awareness Day, and while stress affects us every day of the year, it’s important to take the time to understand how and why.
Stress is the body’s reaction to challenge or change. A small amount of stress can be used for motivation for some people, but chronic stress can lead to quite a few health problems.
Chronic stress can be caused by a variety of things, however financial worries, traumatic events, and an overwhelming schedule are some of the most common causes. Women are more likely than men to experience more severe side effects from stress such as depression and anxiety. There are many more side effects from stress, including headaches, chest pain, fatigue, irritability, overeating or undereating. Stress can also cause increased PMS symptoms and irregular periods.
The American Heart Association offers numerous tips for stopping stress in its tracks so women can catch their breath, put things into perspective and get on with their days with a healthy approach.
The organization’s suggestions for alleviating stress include:
- Take a few slow, deep breaths until you feel your body un-clench a bit.
- Walk away from the situation for a while, and handle it later once things have calmed down.
- Take a break to pet the dog, hug a loved one or do something to help someone else.
- Read a book, short story or magazine.
- Take a walk in nature.
- Take a relaxing bath and feel the stress wash away.
- Meditate or practice yoga.
Be sure to read the entire list of stress-busting actions and activities provided by the American Heart Association.
We Asked You About Stress, and You Answered
We called out to women to ask them what stresses them most and what ways they combat stress. Here’s what you said!
Note: These women might or might not be patients of AWH Dallas.
“I get anxiety attacks from how stressed I can get,” says Stephanie P.
No one likes the side effects of stress, but it can be difficult to find a way out or time to relax.
“I get stressed out when I feel overwhelmed or behind on my responsibilities. That can be anything from personal to professional, but both really get to me if I don’t feel like I’m in control,” said Megan.
It’s important to learn how to cope with our stress before it causes any long term problems.
“I will send myself some positive thoughts, like ‘It’s OK. I can do this,” and then tell myself, ‘suck it up, buttercup, and you better find a solution in the next 5 minutes,’ explains Han.
It’s recommended to take slow deep breaths, count to 10, and think positive thoughts. If the overwhelming feeling persists, then there are other ways to cope.
“I make sure to make time for exercise as a stress reliever. And talking to people who relate to my situation is helpful,” says Lauren.
Experts on stress recommend meditation and yoga as well as eating healthy, exercising, talking to friends and family, and getting the recommended amount of sleep, which is 7-9 hours for adults.
More of Your Thoughts on Stress
- “Time is something we can’t change, stop, get back, or ask for more of, and that causes me a lot of stress. I use breathing exercises to keep anxiety in check.” – Stephanie P
- “I deal with stress by making a list of priorities, taking a breath, and taking a break! I remind myself that most everything can wait until tomorrow, and that it’s OK to be a little behind.” – Megan
- “My never ending to-do list is what really stresses me. Sometimes I just have to take a ‘me day’ and just go shopping or take a nap. I also love watching my son play baseball- I forget about everything when I watch him.” – Sarah
- “I stress myself out when I put things off til the last minute and have to do everything all at once. ” – Lauren
- “I get stressed when things don’t go to plan or when someone doesn’t do what they say they will do. I also get stressed by too many tasks to do. I deal with it by making sure to work out and eat well so I have more energy.” – Stephanie G
Stress is unavoidable, but it shouldn’t be impossible to deal with. Together, we can cope and overcome anything! Please talk with your AWH Dallas healthcare provider about any stress and anxiety you’re experiencing.