Many say that the expectations placed on women today are not realistic. Indisputably, women are being urged to take on more responsibility as society changes, and two incomes are needed to support a household. This is in response to increasing healthcare costs, childcare costs, college tuitions, and changes in today’s economy.

Surprisingly the trend towards two income families is not always seen as an economic benefit. Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi authors of “The Two Income Trap”, question the overall effect of two incomes in a family with children. There are expenses that are incurred when a woman is out of the house doing a secondary job. According to Warren and Warren Tyagi:

“Today’s two income family’s earn 75% more income than its single family counterpart, but has 25% less discretional income to cover living costs.”

As a result of the two income hectic lifestyle, women often feel “torn” between their roles at home and at work. There is conflict between traditional maternal roles, and modern day reality. Ann Lewis, one Palm Beach County Florida’s leading mental health counselors, agrees stating that:

“When faced with the pressures of everyday life women often feel like they are on a ‘hamster wheel’ with no way off.”

The result

is often packed schedules with little quality time for family interaction. For some women this can lead to a downward spiral resulting in personal neglect. Neglect can lead to illness, fatigue, strained relationships, and an overwhelming sense of failure and helplessness. Depression is often waiting at the end of the flurry of activity.

The stress

of balancing home duties and business endeavors can have a tremendous strain on a woman’s body and psyche. Physical signs of stress on the body may surprise you. According to the body’s reaction to stress may manifest itself in the form of a fast heartbeat, headache, tense muscles, back pain, and fast breathing. The results of these symptoms may have long term side effects. Many systems of the body can be affected to include but not limited to the immune system, musculoskeletal system, digestive system, reproductive system, respiratory system, and skin.

Ms. Lewis goes on to state that the effect on a woman psychologically can be just as damaging. When trying to keep up with unrealistic schedules, fatigue sets in. This can lead to lack of focus, irritability, worry, a poor self image, and ultimately withdrawal. Withdrawal, in turn, can be detrimental to surrounding relationships, thus compounding the effects.

What is the answer?

According to Ann Lewis women can take the following measures to decrease stress in the face of hectic lifestyles:

  1. Take “me” time each day
  2. Do not over schedule
  3. Exercise
  4. Eat nutritionally balanced meals
  5. Call a friend or counselor to discuss thoughts that are troubling you
  6. Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night

takes these recommendations a step further and recommends breathing/meditation, music, and taking time out to laugh. Under care of a health professional, nutritional supplements can also be beneficial.

Hectic schedules and unrealistic expectations can have adverse effects on a woman’s body both physically and psychologically. As it is difficult to eliminate stress completely, it is imperative that women take measures to decrease the effects. It is also important to learn how to slow the hamster wheel down by setting and sticking to priorities, and learning when to say “no”. With a wheel that is rotating too fast, one can only concentrate on the next step so as not to fall. By slowing the wheel down and occasionally getting off, one can focus on what is really important; the beauty around us. After all, isn’t that what life is about?

For more information regarding managing stress and hectic life styles please feel free to contact Ann Lewis:

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: (561) 622-5423