Stressed out, mama? You’re not alone. A new survey found that 22 percent of U.S. women feel worried, nervous or anxious on a daily or weekly basis — while just 16 percent of men copped to those same feelings.
Younger and middle-age women were most likely to feel the squeeze, according to the survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published in the group’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
“Many of us are caring for our parents and our kids,” explains Renée Trudeau, life balance coach and author of Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. “Our expectations are too high and we’re trying to do too much.”
Ready to release tension? Trudeau shared her top tips with Parenting.com:
Schedule ‘me’ time. It can just be a 10-minute walk or taking time for lunch with a friend, but focusing on your own happiness needs to be a priority. “It’s not a luxury and it’s not selfish,” Trudeau says. “It’s as essential as oxygen.”
Embrace ‘no.’ Saying yes to everything—doing that extra project at work, making snacks for soccer practice, organizing the neighborhood tag sale—leaves you strapped for time and energy. “Say yes to what’s most important and say no or scale back on those things that are not priorities,” Trudeau advises.
Pull back on thinking ahead. “A lot of us are constantly planning and anticipating what lies before us that day, that week,” Trudeau explains. Some planning is good, but not if it means you forget what’s going on at this very moment, she says. “The challenge is really to be able to slow down—at your desk, in the middle of parenting—take some deep breaths and come into the present moment.”
Pal around. When women gather together, their stress levels drop. “We’re wired to need each other,” Trudeau says. “The idea of asking for and receiving help and support, and building a tribe, is essential to women’s well-being.” Sounds like science is telling you to plan a girls’ night out.