Stress is a normal part of our lives, and while men and women stress differently (read more here), a recent study found that women in the workplace reported higher stress levels than men. These women felt more under-appreciated, tenser and regarded themselves as underpaid compared to their male colleagues.
In my coaching practice, I hear the term “burnout” more and more. Cathy (name changed) was criticised by her manager that she was not tough enough and just wasn’t “producing the goods”.
Cathy felt that she was being unfairly held to a different standard than her colleagues. She tried hard to meet other people’s expectations at work and at home, but no matter how hard she pushed herself, she felt she disappointed them.
Imagine carrying your weekly grocery shopping to your car in an empty parking lot one evening, and out of the shadows a person appears, waving a knife and demands your car keys. What would you do?
The answer appears to depend on whether you are a man or a woman.
If you’re a man your instinctive reaction would probably be to fight off the threat or run away. That’s the “fight or flight” response to stress we have all heard about.
If you are a woman however, your typical immediate reaction may be different. She may instinctively be tempted to talk herself out of the situation: “Let’s discuss this and see if there’s a way I can help without you making things worse.”
Her different stress response is referred to as “tend and befriend”, which is using social behaviour to befriend the enemy (presuming it is an enemy that is causing stress) and to seek social support from offspring and friends. Continue reading
If you feel you have a stressful job you’re not alone. 83% of workers in the USA feel stressed out by their jobs (reference here) and in South Africa it’s estimated that 60% of lost working days each year are a result of stress (reference here).
Some working conditions make jobs particularly stressful:
- dealing with the public (nurses, teachers, call-center staff)
- dealing with dangerous situations (fire-fighters, police)
- complex decision-making (executives, airline pilots, project managers, IT)
- time pressure (medical workers)
- repetitive work (factory staff)
- persuading (sales)
What can you do if have a stressful job?
We all want our children to be happy and not suffer heartaches. So we are often overprotective and rush to fix problems for them. If the teacher was unfair, we will sort her out. If you are not picked for the team, we will take it up with the coach. If you have a fight, we will complain to their mother.
The problem is that when we are over-protective or over-intervene, no matter how well intended, we retard our child’s learning to cope with disappointments and failure. We hinder their development of resilience.
So what can you do when you really want the best for your child? Try the following to boost your child’s resilience: