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Stress Awareness Month Part II: Family Responsibilities

Welcome back to Consider Yourself Hugged! Click below to watch, or Click here to listen to Episode 163.


 

Recently I listened to a stress management podcast. I really liked her style and her content. It was odd, but there was one thing she said that struck me as she spoke about journaling: When we put our worries onto paper, it moves them from the emotions center to the thinking center. And then she moved on.

 

I thought, I’ve given advice like that before. And moved one.

 

What I found myself wanting was examples. Stories. What did it look like when YOU did that? What worked? What didn’t?

 

That’s what we’re doing today.

 

First, I dug into that Stress in America report we discussed last week (click here to listen to that episode). I thought what do people need? What are they struggling with?  As you may expect, the numbers were worse for women than for men, so I decided to go that direction for the next 3 weeks. Even though I’m targeting women here, the stories and advice transcend gender in many areas.

 

Next I looked at the top I for women, according to the report. They were:

 

58% family responsibilities

50% consumed by worries regarding money

49% relationships

 

So that’s where we’re going. Today, we’ll talk about family responsibilities: why are they stressful for women and what you can do about it. Next week money. The final week, relationships


I was watching a family at the airport a few weeks ago. Mom. Dad. 3 kids around 6-10 (maybe?). The mom was organizing & distributing food, talking to them, trying to take a bite of oatmeal, mediating an argument, and ensuring their safety. The dad? Leaning back scrolling on his phone.


No stereotyping here, but that is a common scene.

 

Next, I did some specific research and have 4 recent studies to share with you: (Funny: I rarely entertain pre-pandemic studies!)

 

January 2024


The takeaways here were:

  • Moms who perceived an equitable division of child care responsibilities had lower blood pressure.

  • Moms who were in supportive martial relationships had lower blood pressure.

June 2023


The takeaway here was: Fixed gender role mindsets have an impact on women's anticipated and experienced work-family conflict.



The takeaways here were:

  • No significant difference on gender role beliefs among Gen X and Gen Z.

  • Both generations are inclined towards traditionnal gender role beliefs.

 February 2024


Lots of takeaways here:

Women faced more stress during the pandemic because they: 

  • Increased their responsibilities by schooling children at home and caring for sick family members.

  • Dealt with more unemployment or worked in jobs that didn’t offer paid time off for sick days.

  • Were the majority of the health workforce, enduring the emotional toll of being on the frontline and having close contact with sick patients.

  • Experienced more domestic violence.

  • Struggled with reduced access to quality health services.

  • Adhered to changing medical protocols during pregnancy, leading to higher stress and anxiety.

  • Encountered more inequities based on their race and age.

 

So women want/need help! But what experience do I have to talk to you about family responsibilities? Here's a bit of my background:

 

·      3 biological children born 1988-1992

·      Had my 1st son when my 1st husband was in the military. We were in Wichita, KS with no support whatsoever and my son was a very colicky baby.

·      I was in a psychiatric hospital when they were 2,4,6

·      Single mom of those 3 from 1998-2003

·      Got my master’s degree during that time

·      Gained 5 stepchildren in 2003

·      Traveled while 5 of the 8 still lived at home

·      Took care of my mentally ill mother with dementia while traveling

·      Cared for my father with Alzheimer’s

 

Did I do a great job during these seasons? Let's evaluate 😁


What I did poorly

·      Yelled. A lot apparently

·      Never said no or asked for help

·      Expected myself and others to be perfect

·      Put too much on my plate

·      Had unrealistic expectations

·      Had buried AND apparent resentment and anger

·      Saw my family as extra to my life (I’ll explain in a bit)

 

Finally, here's what I did well


I GOT HELP!

 Help has lots of different outifts:


·      Got a therapist when I got divorced. She gave me this great method for getting my kids to help get things done. If you pick up your laundry off the floor and put it in the basket, we’ll spend 10 minutes extra reading tonight.

·      Let my family help.

·      Took on a new view of family.

·      I learned by accident.

·      I matured.

 

So, I’m hoping that by laying the groundwork, showing you what it looks like, and not just saying do it, that you’ll be likely to try something. So, here are the 3 things I encourage you to do:


·      Get professional help: EAP, counselor, live, online

·      ASK for help – family & friends.

·      Adjust your view of family, and make smart choices

·      Learn on purpose

·      Be patient as seasons changes


I hope this has been helpful today, and thank you for joining! As I've always asked in the past, please pass the show link along to your friends and subscribe, download, and review wherever you are listening. If you’re a woman and you haven’t joined our private FB group A Place for Women, please do that now! It’ll be your source of encouragement. I'd love for you to follow my Tami West Seminars Facebook page as well. And until next time, Consider Yourself Hugged 😘🤗


*Disclaimer:

The information in this show is not intended to be therapy or to address your individual situation. It is information based on experiences, opinions, and research. If you need further help, please reach out to one of the resources below, or others in your area.


Mental Health Resources:








Tami West, PhD

Stress and Mental Health Expert Dr. Tami West uses her entertaining and compelling style to shine a new light on how to transform your life and discover solutions to life’s challenges.

Tami has worked in a variety of industries including healthcare, school nutrition, corporate sales, and 10 years as a public-school teacher. In 2013 she received her PhD in Human Development, studying the connections among stress, emotions, and identity.

Dr. West has spoken in 48 states across the US, as well as the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. In any given year, Tami speaks to groups with audiences consisting of anywhere from 100 to 3,000 people.


Dr. West is the author of several successful publications including three books: The Stress Club, Life Without the Monsters and Thrive. When she's not speaking or writing, you might find her with her traveling with her husband and family, reading historical fiction, or watching Big Bang Theory.


Tami connects with audiences through real experience, cutting edge research, and transparent stories – all sprinkled with humor! She will make you laugh, cry, and shine a refreshingly new light on life's challenges.


Television Interviews


Contact Tami at tamiwest@tamiwest.com or follow her at Tami West Seminars. 




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