Stress-Free Tips for the Professional Woman

“You need to remove from your life the day-to-day problems that absorb most people for meaningful parts of their day… You’ll see I wear only grey or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make. You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.” President Obama, Vanity Fair

Keep Calm and Carry On

April is Stress Awareness Month on the IAW Foundation Calendar. We all struggle to manage our time effectively between our personal and professional lives, but sometimes the stress can take over. So how do we keep calm and carry on in the 21st century as women who have mastered the art of multi-tasking?

Identify What’s Causing Stress. Monitor your state of mind throughout the day. If you feel stressed, write down the cause, your thoughts and your mood. Once you know what’s bothering you, develop a plan for addressing it. That might mean setting more reasonable expectations for yourself and others or asking for help with household responsibilities, job assignments or other tasks. List all of your commitments, assess your priorities and then eliminate any tasks that are not absolutely essential.

Build Strong Relationships. Relationships can be a source of stress. Research shows that negative, hostile reactions with your spouse cause immediate changes in stress-sensitive hormones. Relationships can also serve as stress buffers. Reach out to family members or close friends and let them know you’re having a tough time. They may be able to offer practical assistance and support, useful ideas or a fresh perspective as you begin to tackle whatever is causing your stress.

Walk Away When You’re Angry. Before you react, take time to regroup by counting to ten. Then reconsider. Walking or other physical activities can also help you work off steam. Plus, exercise increases the production of endorphins, your body’s natural mood booster. Commit to a daily walk or other forms of exercise—a small step that can make a big difference in reducing stress levels.

The origins of this quintessential British message were created by The Ministry of Information (the department responsible for publicity and propaganda) as one of many morale-boosting posters created and displayed across British Isles during the World War II. Today, the slogan appears on everything from coffee mugs to decorative pillows, it serves as a mantra to reassure us that if we keep the stress down we can keep our focus and ultimately reach our goals.

Louise Newsome
IAW National Director of Chapters
NYC Local Chapter President

  1. Shannon Marsden

    I would have to count much Higher than 10 to deal with some of the problem people in my circle today! Ugh…..Keep up the fight ladies!

  2. Molly Murrill

    This sounds like something I might be able to latch onto, without getting so involved it causes problems for me. I am retired and want to stay that way, but want to be able to reach out when I have the inclination and/or time.

  3. Cynthia A. Denny

    Great article Louise. Thank you so much.

    I agree with the walking tip, or just any movement…especially if it involves music and it’s a song you can really mellow out or rock out to!

    Carry On,

    Cynthia A. Denny
    NAPW San Jose Chapter
    Interim President

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