Stress is defined as pressure being exerted on something else. Certainly, women out there are feeling stress.
What causes stress? For women, alot of stress is caused by not setting boundaries when it would be better for them do so.
What are boundaries? Boundaries are limits that one places on one’s self and for one’s self to protect and promote what one wants and needs in life. Boundaries are hard for women because we have been socialized and encultured into considering others’ needs before our own.
So then, when we start figuring out what we need, it somehow feels wrong and enduces these weird “guilt” feelings. (I call this feeling unearned guilt. Many women feel this all of the time but they don’t realize it is purely sociological and not to be listened to…)
Take Amanda. She is a 40 something woman who is married to John. She is unhappy in her marriage, unhappy in her work, and she finds the only joy she can, in the bottom of an empty Chardonnay bottle. (Alcohol is a big short term stress reliever for alot of us. But then, you gotta’ wake up into the same life challenges. Bummer!!)
For Amanda, parts of her life could start becoming more fulfilling if she started taking better care of herself in all segments of her life. A big part of that includes setting boundaries. She could:
- Tell her boss that she is going to start leaving on time at work no matter what to spend more time with her family.
- Tell her husband that he has to start doing half the chores in the home because she is feeling abused and taken advantage of by having to do it all by herself.(She is being exploited and taken advantage of. If this continues it will lay the groundwork for a divorce.Many men don’t realize how powerful this is.)
- Tell her kids that they have some more responsibilities in the house and she wants them to fulfill them or start losing priveleges.
- Join a gym, buy some cute new workout outfits and has put “me”time in her date book as a bi weekly date to dote on herself!
- Call a friend and engage that friend in a weekly meet up where they talk about changes she has made and changes she needs to make. They could encourage each other and problem solve together.
Changes take time, and there are always major backloops before these changes become more permanent. I think we women are biologically set up to be a little more resistant to big changes. We are grounding forces for alot of people in our lives. So, our resistance to change on a deep emotional level is heavily rooted.
In addition, any time anyone makes changes, it will cause major panic and anxiety in others. Even if the changes are good for everyone. That is okay.
Just expect resistance to change in others as part of their fear, and work through it patiently.
This is tough stuff. What are your stress challenges? Please comment with questions for me if you need help. And be compassionate and patient with yourself as you work towards a more positive life.