Mental Health Matters: Stressed Out?


7 Ways to Cope When Life Gets Overwhelming

School is in full swing. The busy holiday season is around the corner with its gift lists and get-togethers. It can be hard to find time to slow down—especially for women. In fact, since 2007, the American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America survey has found that women consistently report higher levels of stress than men.

According to Lynn Bufka, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist and Associate Executive Director for Practice Research and Policy with the American Psychological Association, here are seven stress-relieving suggestions with women in mind.

1. Track your stressors. Use a journal to identify which situations create the most stress and how you respond to them. Taking notes can help you find patterns among your stressors and your reactions to them so that you can develop a management plan.

2. Set limits. List the projects and commitments that are making you feel overwhelmed. Identify which commitments are priorities and cut back on anything nonessential.

3. Tap into your support system. Reach out to family or friends. Your friends or family members may have tackled similar challenges and have useful ideas and perspectives.

4. Make one health-related commitment. Do what you can to boost your health so that you have the energy and strength to tackle the challenges you are facing. One small step, like cutting back on excessive snacking, can have a positive effect.

5. Manage your devices. People who report constantly checking email or social media typically report more stress. Give yourself a break over the weekend and in the evenings. Put your phone to bed before you go to bed.

6. Enhance your sleep quality. Women who are chronically stressed often suffer from lack of adequate sleep and, in some cases, stress-induced insomnia. Begin winding down an hour or two before you go to sleep and engage in calming activities such as listening to relaxing music.

7. Seek additional help. If you continue to feel overwhelmed or are having trouble getting through your daily routine, seek help from a licensed mental health professional, such as a psychologist.



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