Women are making remarkable strides in the professional world. Women in the workplace are experiencing greater visibility and flexibility. But statistics show that the workplace is not keeping up with their evolving needs for representation. While, in 2023, there were more female C-suite executives than ever before, there is still an underrepresentation of women — particularly women of color — across the board.
The disparity in gender in the workplace environment can, more often than not, leave women tasked with existing in a male-driven hierarchy. Even if there are women in the executive offices, there are still patriarchal systems that are yet to be dismantled in corporate situations. This makes thriving in the working world a larger challenge for women. Learn how to thrive instead of just exist or, worse, be ostracized and silenced in a male-dominated field.
Balancing Professional Success and Well-Being as a Woman
Inherently, women are delegated domestic duties. The traditional timeline for women includes puberty, pregnancy, lactation, and menopause. It is highly dictated by their biological differences from men, and, as such, they are expected to follow that life path without question. However, “domesticated working women” are increasingly common. These are the multitudes of women who choose to take on a double workload of domestic duties and a professional career.
Work-life balance is already difficult for many professionals to get right. Spending too much time focusing on your career can be detrimental to your personal goals and relationships — and vice versa. When women try to circumvent the traditional thought that they are meant to use their bodies to move throughout life and instead use their minds, they run into the “Double Conundrum.” This is the misconception that women cannot be good mothers or homemakers and successful professionals all at the same time.
While society has made it harder for women to balance these duties, it is certainly not the case that it is impossible to succeed. Many women have done so and continue to do so daily. It is, however, crucial to be aware of the added stressors that women face in the workplace that can derail their hard work to thrive in a male-dominated environment.
The Adverse Effects of Workplace Stress and Inequality
While stress has its uses in high-stakes situations, chronic stress isn’t healthy for anyone. The effects of stress on your body and mind are far-reaching, especially if you continuously experience stress daily at your workplace. You will feel the residual effects when you come home and try to lay your head down on your pillow at night for a restful sleep and can’t do so.
Women often combat societal norms in their professional lives during the day and then come home and clean the house, cook meals, and take care of the children. Even in heterosexual partnerships, it’s often the case that there is an expectation that the woman will still take on those domestic roles, even if she is working the same or longer hours as her partner.
This makes a traditional eight-hour workday turn into long, grueling hours of work with little time for herself. Working long hours can impact oral health, mental health, physical health, and progress toward personal and professional goals. If you’re not able to take care of yourself with a proper diet, hygiene regimen, therapeutic reflection, and exercise, your body and mind will start to feel the impacts. Instead of letting this cycle continue, women have the opportunity to employ techniques that lessen the burden on themselves and allow for career and personal growth without sacrificing their well-being.
Strategies to Combat Stress and Foster Holistic Wellness at Work
Women in the workforce often face unique challenges that can contribute to high levels of stress. If you feel undermined or unheard in the office, it can exacerbate an already stressful situation of working during the day and coming home to more responsibilities. Luckily, women are resilient. To combat stress and foster holistic wellness at work, there are several effective strategies women can employ.
Take Advantage of Career Mentorship
Having someone to look up to who has the same or similar struggles can give you the motivation you need to keep going in the workforce. Career mentoring can help women shatter the glass ceiling, giving them a sense of camaraderie and support.
A relationship with a strong female peer offers insights into career development, goal setting, and work-life balance. These can be crucial for reducing stress and achieving personal and professional growth. It also boosts confidence and motivation, leading to improved job satisfaction and overall well-being. Banding together can make you feel less alone as a woman in the workforce.
Say “No” and Delegate Responsibilities Sometimes
Another important strategy is the ability to say no to certain projects or responsibilities when necessary. Women often juggle numerous tasks at work and home. Sometimes, they may feel pressured to take on more than they can realistically handle. Learning to set boundaries and prioritize tasks helps you reduce stress levels and prevent burnout.
By saying no strategically, you can allocate your time and energy more effectively. This can allow you to focus on projects that truly align with your goals and values. This not only promotes holistic wellness by reducing stress but also enhances productivity and job satisfaction. Don’t forget that your coworkers and partner are also responsible for pulling their weight. You can speak up to make them aware of the detrimental impact they may be having on your livelihood.
Amidst all of your responsibilities, making time for self-care is a key aspect of fostering overall well-being. Women should prioritize activities that promote physical, emotional, and mental health, such as regular exercise, meditation, or hobbies they enjoy. Self-care provides an essential opportunity to recharge and reduce stress. It allowing you to perform better at work and experience greater personal fulfillment.
Self-care isn’t selfish, even if the male-dominated culture at your workplace makes it seem that way. Instead, it can positively impact your work by boosting creativity, problem-solving abilities, and interpersonal relationships. By implementing these strategies and setting healthy boundaries at home and in the office, women can thrive in any environment.
About The Author
Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys writing about the ways technology, education, and wellness intersect and impact our everyday lives. She is frequently lost in a good book.
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