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Stress on the rise

According to a recent Stress and Wellbeing Survey by the Australian Psychological Society, a growing number of women are reporting higher stress levels in their day-to-day lives.

Stress in the workplace

Of those experiencing stress, four in 10 people in Australia believe it is having a moderate to very strong impact on their physical health and mental health.

For women, some of this stress stems from the workplace as well as doing more of the domestic chores at home. Women who work full-time are twice as likely as men to do at least 15 hours of unpaid housework a week, according to the 2016 Australian Census.

In light of this epidemic of stress, looking after yourself is more important than ever. And it is certainly not an indulgence – it is a necessary part of being in good physical and mental health so you can perform your many life roles, whether that be at work, home or play. 

Activity 1. Mindfulness podcast

Together with your group or workplace, listen to this mindfulness podcast. Learn the techniques of mindfulness to help manage feelings of high stress and anxiety.

Listening time: 6 mins.

Activity 2. Posters

Download and print these posters, display them in key work spaces, or hand them out to your colleagues and managers.

Tips for employees. This poster contains simple tips to help you manage your work day and reduce stress and anxiety.

Tips for managers. Here are some handy points for managers on how to reduce workplace stress and anxiety triggers for their staff.

Activity 3. Looking after you

When you're trying to build a career, save money to buy your own home, juggling work and family, or all of the above, many working women are living on the run, which can take a toll on their mental health. 

Woman at work

Read our top five tips on how to look after yourself and chat with your group or workplace about the changes you plan to make.

These simple strategies can help reduce stress levels and help you feel calmer and more in control:

1. Leave your desk for lunch

Eating lunch while reading a report at your computer is a fast track to less productivity. You need to get out and enjoy a change of scene. Tired of the same old lunchtime routine? Then ensure you have something more stimulating to look forward to. Here are some enjoyable lunchtime activity suggestions:

  • Walk and talk with a friend or work colleague in the park
  • Take some pencils and sketch a nearby streetscape
  • Start a book club with colleagues at a local café
  • Swim some laps
  • Play outdoor chess 
  • Enjoy a power walk.

You will return to the office feeling energised and invigorated. 

2. Schedule quality ‘me’ time

In your diary, every day – just like you would schedule every other important appointment – set aside some time just for you. If you are rushing from the moment you wake up ‘til the moment you go to bed, you are likely to feel constantly drained. This may compromise your energy, mood and ability to focus. 

To ensure you are not living on the run 24/7, block out some time for yourself every day to read a book, walk outside or enjoy a quick cup of tea with your partner or a friend.

The aim of this ‘time out’ is to do something that makes you feel relaxed and regenerated. 

3. Strike a pose

Engaging in slow movement such as yoga and tai chi is beneficial for both your body and mind. It can even help you iron out the ‘kinks' from sitting at a computer all day.

Trees

4. Let nature nurture you

Listening to sounds of nature can trigger brain responses that calm your nervous system. Even just five minutes spent looking at photos of ‘green spaces’, such as rainforests, can help reduce stress levels.

That’s a good reason to place some ‘green’ images near your work station and on your computer screensaver. It’s also a good reason to take a nature break every day, such as walking to the park during your lunch hour, stopping off at the beach on your way home, or sitting in your garden or on your apartment balcony to watch the sun set. 

Spending time walking in a park or near trees and plants, or ‘forest bathing’ (a practice of slowing down and connecting to nature), can reduce stress chemicals and also lower blood pressure, research shows.

5. Take a technology break

Set a period of time every day where you switch off your mobile phone, ignore emails and focus completely and mindfully on the task at hand. This will help you be more productive and tick off that job on your to-do list, giving you greater job satisfaction and helping to lower your stress levels. 

More resources for better mental health

Is it worry, anxiety or an anxiety disorder?

Find out more about your mental health and take the anxiety self-assessment quiz. There are also lots of helpful videos and podcasts for women of different ages and life stages.

Take the quiz

Your guide to a digital detox

How many times a day do you check your phone – for a new message, an email, or to scroll through social media? Do you need to go on a 'digital detox'?

Get the guide

Mental and emotional health

This fact sheet covers the topics of depression, anxiety and grief and includes practical advice on what can you do to help your mental and emotional health.

Download