Slaying Stress!  Must read for women!

Slaying Stress! Must read for women!

Understanding Stress

What is stress?  If we asked ten different women, we would likely get ten different responses.  What one person finds stressful, another may not.  One woman may be energised and excited at the prospect of speaking to a group of people, and for another that prospect may cause sleepless nights.

Stress is a natural response that your body and mind experience when faced with challenging or threatening situations.  It’s the bodies way of preparing itself to deal with perceived danger and ensuring our survival by getting us ready to fight or flee.  Perceived danger is just that – what each of us perceives as danger.  Often this perception is programmed into the subconscious.  E.g. a person who has a phobia of cats will go into fight or flight mode on seeing or even hearing a feline, yet a cat-lover’s heart would melt at the sight of one.

The Stress Response

When we encounter stress, our body releases hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which trigger a range of physical and psychological reactions.   While this response is essential for survival, it is designed to be used in the short term, returning to normal after you’ve arrived in safety.  A bit like high heels.  They have their purpose and place – but you sure would not want to run the London marathon in them!  Chronic stress is when we are stressed over longer periods of time, and this can lead to long-term health issues, affecting both the mind and body.  And we may not even realise that we are stressed – because we are so often, that it’s become normal.  Have you ever walked into a room that did not smell good, but after a while, you stop noticing the smell? 

Even if you do not realise and acknowledge the stress, your body will.  Your body may recognise the stress faced before your mind registers it. Harvard University have conducted extensive research on the impact of stress on body and mind.  The studies show an intricate connection between stress and gastrointestinal health. Chronic stress can lead to digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and exacerbate symptoms for those already suffering from digestive disorders.  Studies also show a relationship between chronic stress and cardiovascular diseases, and difficulties in concentration, learning, and memory retention.

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of stress are listed below, and these will be different from one person to another.

Physical Symptoms of Stress:

  • Headaches: Stress can lead to tension headaches or migraines, causing discomfort and pain in the head and neck region.
  • Muscle Tension: Stress often causes muscle tension, leading to stiffness, soreness, and aches in different parts of the body.
  • Fatigue: Chronic stress can result in persistent tiredness and lack of energy, even after adequate rest.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Stress can disrupt sleep patterns, causing insomnia or difficulties falling and staying asleep.
  • Digestive Issues: Stress may lead to digestive problems such as stomach aches, bloating, constipation, or diarrhoea.
  • Increased Heart Rate: Under stress, the heart may beat faster, leading to an increased heart rate.
  • Changes in Appetite: Stress can either increase or decrease appetite, leading to overeating or loss of appetite.

Mental Symptoms of Stress:

  • Anxiety: Stress often triggers feelings of worry, nervousness, or anxiety about future events or circumstances.
  • Mood Swings: Individuals experiencing stress may have rapid and intense changes in mood, feeling irritable, sad, or angry.
  • Difficulty Concentrating: Stress can impair concentration and memory, making it challenging to focus on tasks.
  • Racing Thoughts: The mind may be overwhelmed with racing thoughts and an inability to quiet the mental chatter.
  • Emotional Sensitivity: Stress can make individuals more emotionally reactive, resulting in heightened sensitivity to triggers and stressors.

Identifying Stress Triggers

Every individual has unique stress triggers, and it's essential to identify yours.  Some common triggers faced by working women are; work pressures, parenting (not easy is it?!) juggling multiple roles, and societal expectations. By pinpointing these triggers, you can take proactive measures to avoid or minimize their impact on your overall well-being.

Managing Stress

Stress management techniques, such as relaxation exercises, mindfulness, physical activity, and seeking support from loved ones or professionals, can help alleviate these symptoms and promote overall well-being. If stress becomes overwhelming or persistent, seeking guidance from a healthcare professional or mental health specialist is highly recommended.

Prioritising Self-Care

Working women often find it challenging to prioritise self-care amidst the demands of their professional and personal lives. It is challenging, but it is necessary.  And selfcare truly is not selfish.  You take care of others, and you must take care of yourself.  You cannot give from an empty cup, so let me emphasise the importance of self-care!  And self-care is just that; taking care of yourself.  This is doing the things that you enjoy, the things that recharge you.  It could be a massage, manicure, a walk, playing a game of tennis, dancing…it could even be sitting and reading a book.  Whatever it is, self-care is an essential weapon in your stress-fighting arsenal.

Time Management and Organization

Managing your time efficiently can keep stress at bay, including setting realistic goals, creating to-do lists, and delegating tasks. Women may be amazing, but we simply cannot do it all! 

Mindfulness and Relaxation 

Mindfulness and relaxation techniques can work wonders in combating stress and promoting overall well-being. At the end of this blog is a deep breathing exercise that can give you some calm in just a few minutes.  Meditation, and yoga, which can help you find moments of tranquility even during the busiest of days. These techniques will empower you to take charge of your mental state and find inner calmness amidst the chaos.

The Power of Prayer

Prayer can provide emotional and spiritual support and comfort in times of distress. It allows individuals to feel connected to something greater than themselves, offering solace and hope during challenging situations. Prayer often includes expressions of gratitude, which can shift the focus from stressors to the positive aspects of life. Cultivating an attitude of thankfulness can improve overall well-being and resilience in the face of stress. Engaging in prayer triggers the relaxation response in the body, activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which counteracts the "fight or flight" stress response. For those who find solace in prayer, incorporating this practice into their daily lives can be an invaluable resource for managing stress and promoting overall well-being.

Seeking Support and Building a Supportive Network:

No woman is an island, communicating with and seeking support from friends, family, and colleagues is crucial. Please reach out to those in your network, for even just a chat.  You’ll probably find that they have been through what you’re going through and can offer guidance and support.  And if not, they will “sit in the mud” with you.  There is a saying that comes to mind…”A problem shared is a problem halved.”


As a working woman, you possess incredible strength, resilience, and the ability to conquer any challenge that comes your way. By acknowledging the impact of stress, understanding its triggers, and implementing effective strategies, you can reclaim your sanity and embrace a life filled with balance, joy, and fulfilment. With the right tools, you can slay stress and emerge victorious in both your personal and professional endeavors. 

If you are struggling in this area, you can book a Rapid Transformational, or coaching session with me on the website.  Together we can work through these issues so that you can thrive!

This recording is a short box breathing exercise to calm and relax you. You can do it as often as you like.  The recording guides the exhale through the mouth, but as you get used to it, or even during the exercise, try exhaling through your nose.  




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