Stress is a normal part of our lives, but everyone experiences it differently. It’s especially different for women — particularly mothers — in the workplace who have had to grapple with inequality since time immemorial. There seems to be a pervasive view that women can’t be good workers and good parents at the same time, and this is highlighted by a study published by the Public Library of Science. Many think that it’s still a man’s job to earn money and a woman’s job is to look after their home and family. What’s more, it was found that a large chunk of women stopped working full time after having children.
Now, with the pandemic looming over everyone’s heads, this still seems to ring true. The situation appears to have affected women the most, with many calling it a “she-cession.” Women have had to make sacrifices with careers, with some going to the extent of quitting their jobs to take care of their children, upending the progress towards equality.
But this shouldn’t have to be the case. Achieving a work-life balance, especially in these trying times, may feel impossible, but Thrive Global notes that one can attain it with the right attitude, flexibility, and stress coping mechanisms. Here are some tips on how women entrepreneurs can achieve a balanced life:
Many women have the mindset that they must be capable of doing everything all the time. But as mentioned by Emily Porter in a previous post, it’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver than to say you can do something when you can’t. Don’t bite off more than you can chew and avoid spreading yourself too thin. Set smaller goals that are achievable so as not to cause further stress. When you set unrealistic ones, it only damages your motivation and mental health. It’s always important to take stock of what your abilities are and set reasonable expectations.
Give yourself time to relax.
It may be challenging to find time to relax, especially when you have a lot on your plate, but one of the best ways to manage stress is by practicing relaxation techniques like breathing exercises and doing yoga. If the latter doesn’t work for you, a Pain Free Working guide to breathing exercises highlights the 4-7-8 breathing technique, which starts with placing your feet flat on the ground and keeping your back straight. Breathe in through your nose for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 7, then release forcefully for a count of 8. It would also help if you pressed your tongue on the ridge behind your two front teeth as you breathe out. While this technique sounds simple, it offers an effective and convenient way of reversing your stress response, and even reduce the adverse effects of chronic stress.
Receive external help.
There’s nothing wrong with seeking external help from other people. There are times that you may need a helping hand, and that’s more than okay. Getting time-consuming tasks off your plate even allows you to focus on things that are of higher priority. While it’s hard to let go, Entrepreneur notes that learning how to delegate is essential to unburdening yourself and retaining your energy and creativity for the things that matter more. You’ll get to use your brainpower on projects and issues that require special attention. Luckily, there are a variety of ways you can outsource work and take some strain off. You have the option to use a virtual assistant who can respond to emails, make and follow-up appointments, and field questions.
Learn that challenges build character.
Whenever you hit a speed bump, you might automatically think that you’re a failure. This kind of thinking couldn’t be more wrong, of course, as Forbes highlights how we often don’t know our strength of character until it is tested. When hard times hit, you must accept the challenge, regardless of what it may be. Do your best to embrace the problem and begin moving forward. It will be tough, but those kinds of moments are when you will learn more about yourself than any other time in your life.
Exclusively written for SiliconValleyForum.com
By: Rosetta Juliet