Professional Women and Stress
By Lisa Bynoe-Stevens
For everyone living in the 21st century, stress is a daily reality.
A writer left her home at 6:50 AM with her laptop, lunch, overly packed purse and cell phone in hand. She dropped her husband off at his work, and then grabbed breakfast at a local fast food restaurant. The fast food took 5 minutes longer than anticipated, and she really had to employ a relaxation strategybecause of the delay. She mentally recitedher schedule for the day as she filled her car up with gas. As she considered the looming traffic jam she was about to battle, she thought this day was different. “So, the stress begins…” she thought to herself while she looked at the swarm of cars.
Researchers around theglobe have been studying the stress of professional women for many years. Many stressors are anticipated, and many more are unforeseen. For working women in particular, do a juggling act, similar to what is seen above, with increasing vigor and tension.
Alexander-Stamatios Antoniou, AikateriniPloumpi and Marina Ntalla (2013) studied the phenomenon of occupational stress amongst388 primary and secondary teachers in Greece, including how coping strategies alleviated burnout rates.
In this study, these researchers discovered:
- Female teachers carried a high level of occupational stress.
- Female teachers experienced feeling a lower sense of personal achievement.
- Teachers who taught between 11-15 years seemed to be more stressed than those who taught more or less than
- Those who taught the primary grades demonstrated more stress, which was associated with a sense of low government support and work environment.
- Avoidance of workplace issues was associated with burnout.
- Coping strategies that were deemed to be rational helped teachers in this study to manage their stress well, and even see their desired outcomes in their work with their students. An example would be using problem-solving to discover work-related solutions.
From the above, one can learn a valuable starting point in coping with stress as a professional woman: Face one’s stressor, whatever it may be, with a rational coping strategy. This concept was further supported by Course Hero in their suggested three steps in rational coping:
- Acceptance that the stress exists.
- Exposure to the stressor so that one gets used to it.
- Understanding of what one can do to overcome it.
Consequently, one should do what they can to face stressful circumstances head on, and manage them towards success. Of course, the counselling room is a great place to facilitate this process.
Antoniou, Alexander-Stamatios, Ploumpi, Aikaterini&Ntalla, Marina. (2013). Occupational stress and professional burnout in teachers of primary and secondary education: The role of coping strategies.Psychology,4(3A), 349-355.