In one of my morning devotionals recently, the authors Becky Johnson and Rachel Randolph shared the Top 10 Stressors of Everyday Women, from a survey they had conducted in their circle of friends.
- Stress of Chaotic Surroundings
- Stress of Schedules
- Stress of Negative Body Image
- Stress of Negative Self-Talk
- Stress of Food Issues
- Stress of Fitness
- Stress of Friendship
- Stress of Marriage
- Stress of Raising Children
- Stress of Feeling like a Spiritual Slacker
I can certainly relate! And I see these in most of my clients–some even experience most of them at one time! In fact, do a Google® search for “stress in women,” and you will have over 412 million articles to read! Clearly it’s a global epidemic.
What about you? As you look back on the past few months with a hectic holiday season, how many of these stressors impacted your mental, physical and emotional health?
When I look at that “top 10” list, I see four major issues at the core of the stress.
- Time management & setting priorities
- Managing relationships
This is the first of a four-part series with my own tips on overcoming the overwhelm that most women experience on a regular basis.
First, let’s talk about self-sabotage, because that is the #1 roadblock keeping women from living a flourishing life.
When I ask my clients what holds them back from achieving their dreams, most often I hear fear: fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of rejection and fear of how doing what they truly want to do will impact their family, friends and co-workers. Instead of experiencing the amazing journey that God has planned for them, they stay stuck in a rut, spinning their wheels and missing out on the purpose-filled life that lies ahead.
How many fears that you’ve had in the past have actually come true? Fears are most often imagined, and are stirred into a frenzy by our own negative self-talk. If you are plagued by fears, go to a quiet place, vision your ideal life, and write in vivid detail “If I knew I would not fail, I would…..”
Are you willing to let your imagined fears hold you back from achieving your biggest dreams?
Another major stressor is perfectionism. Women tend to compare themselves to others; we wish we were smarter, younger, thinner, or more successful. Our limiting beliefs keep us from pursuing a more fulfilling life, and the brilliance of our light is snuffed out by our own negative thoughts. We are our own worst enemies!
When you are feeling like you are not quite good enough, practice these ABCs of overcoming perfectionism.
- Authenticity. If you constantly try to be someone you’re not, you will end up exhausted, frustrated and unfulfilled. Yes, it may be scary to put yourself out to the world as the “real you,” but that’s who the world needs! You were created with a certain set of God-given gifts when you were born. Those gifts, combined with your skills, personality traits and values, make you uniquely you! You are to be celebrated! Let the “real you” stand out, and don’t let what others think hold you back.
- BE instead of DOing all the time. If you measure your worth by the sheer quantity of your achievements, will you ever be good enough? If you simply cannot slow down because you believe it is a waste of time, what will you have when you are in the hospital with some stress-induced illness? You must allow yourself to rest! You can’t give to others what you don’t have, so commit to R&R on a regular basis.
- Comparisons. We spend way too much time comparing ourselves to others, and that only leads to envy, low self-esteem and depression. Besides, the person you aspire to be like may look on the outside to have a perfect life, but behind the scenes may be crumbling. Instead of comparing your accomplishments to another’s, compare yourself you. You are always becoming a newer version of yourself, so just strive to be the best YOU, and leave the comparisons behind.
- Do-Overs. If you make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up! Use a temporary setback to strategize going forward. Instead of dwelling on the negative, focus on the positive that can come out of it. Self-correct, find a better way, and keep moving ahead. Those who never push themselves to do better never fail.
- Embrace Your Life Purpose. You were created with a purpose to fulfill, and equipped with a unique set of gifts, values and personality traits to help you do it. When you are forcing yourself into roles that are not natural, trying to be someone you are not, then you are frustrated, stressed and generally unhappy. Once you have a clear picture of your life’s calling, and create a life in alignment with that calling, you can set goals that you are motivated to reach. What takes over is focus, simplicity, passion, higher self-esteem, lower self-doubt and acceptance of who you are, including all your imperfections.
Overcoming your self-sabotage will impact your self-worth, your relationships and your outlook on the future. Begin this year with a commitment to ditch the negative self-talk and love yourself just as you are.
In my coaching programs, we always start with overcoming self-sabotage, because hanging on to limiting beliefs clouds the vision of your new life’s journey. Fear, perfectionism, self-doubt, procrastination and toxic relationships load you down with heavy baggage that hold you back from reaching your God-given potential. If you need some guidance in this area, let’s talk!
In my next post, I discuss time management and setting priorities, critical to reducing stress and overwhelm. Click here to read these valuable tips.
What causes the most stress in your life? I’d love to hear from you!