Stress is a significant contributor to a loss of contentment and diminished overall wellbeing. This is especially true for high performing career women, who contend with male competition, unreasonable expectations of others and self, and lack of self-care and attention due to occupational commitments.
One study [i] from the Journal of Management Studies reported that women experience immense pressure to contend in often male-dominated spheres and is one of the major factors influencing women’s stress. Other factors are expectations of others and self, and lack of self-care and attention due to occupational commitments.
Another study from 2015 [ii] highlighted the contribution of everyday stress to a person’s physical health and emotional wellbeing. Participants reported a huge variation in concentration, interest and psychomotor skills during the period of high emotional or occupational stress. As expected, there were also noticeable changes in feelings of fatigue, appetite and sleep disturbance.
“It is not a coincidence that the symptoms reported by the participants in the study are also major indicators of emotional stress or mental health challenges, such as depression or anxiety,” reflects Peter Hayton, the senior psychologist and Clinical Director at The Banyans Health and Wellness.
This is supported by statistics showing that the incidence of depression is up to 7 times more likely in groups experiencing serious or prolonged stressors.
“For many women in particular, a busy and highly demanding lifestyle can lead them to neglect their own self-care – often putting the demands of their career, loved ones and public image above their health and wellbeing,” Peter says. “Therefore, some people are struggling in silence, believing that many of their symptoms are normal or perhaps not important enough for professional help.”
The World Health Organisation quotes that mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety affect over three million people globally, and almost two thirds of those experiencing it are female. “Depression and anxiety is an extremely prevalent health condition across the world. The good news is that it is an area where the right therapeutic and social support can encourage some wonderful change,” offers Peter.
It is important to be proactive about seeking support as the consequences of stress are debilitating for a healthy mind, body and soul. For example:
- Lack of sleep inhibits your body’s natural recovery processes, and has been shown to contribute to a variety of follow on effects such as high blood pressure, headaches and unregulated hormone production;
- Poor diet or appetite means that you are not receiving the nutrients you need to fuel your mind and body – resulting in reduced concentration, lethargy and physical discomfort;
- Decreased focus or concentration can threaten your safety as you go about your every day life, but will also impair your job performance, patience for others and motivation to engage in activities;
- Emotional sensitivity is a common indicator that we are feeling fatigued. Often this is reflected in feeling teary, sensitive or irritable, which can contribute to relational or occupational difficulties;
- Some people can search for escapist mechanisms such as alcohol or prescription medication to numb the looming pressure or help them relax at the end of the day. Ultimately, these do not provide satisfaction, and can have extremely detrimental health effects – such as impaired liver function, heart damage and reduced metabolic processing.
The good news is that you do not need to sacrifice your success in order to restore your health and wellness. “It is more than possible to find a healthy balance in your life,” encourages Peter.
“You have worked so hard to get to where you are and you deserve the enjoy the glow that your success should bring – not live in an unhealthy shadow of stress.”
The Banyans Health and Wellness is a residential retreat for high performing professionals who desire to find greater fulfilment in life. Located in the beautiful surrounds of South East Queensland, our premium facility is highly confidential, with highly qualified physicians and mental health professionals. If you would like to step out of the shadow of stress and fatigue, begin investing in yourself by submitting an non-obligatory enquiry below, or calling our team on +61 1300 BANYAN (+61 1300 226 926).
[i] Moore, S., Sikora, P., Grunberg, L. and Greenberg, E. (2007). Expanding the Tension-Reduction Model of Work Stress and Alcohol Use: Comparison of Managerial and Non-Managerial Men and Women. Journal of Management Studies, 44(2), pp.261-283.