Women in the tri-state area are most stressed about balancing work and their personal lives according to a new survey, which increasingly includes caring for aging or ailing parents. No matter your personal situation, chronic stress can erode your health, depressing the immune system, exacerbating chronic illnesses and increasing your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
“We’re making a concerted effort to make sure women are aware of the link between stress and their physical health,” says Dr. Jennifer H. Mieres, professor of cardiology and senior vice president of Northwell’s Center for Diversity, Inclusion and Health Equity. “As women, we think we should be able to handle everything. Our mothers did it. Other women are dealing with it, so we think we should too. Women need to know that it’s OK to ask for help.”
The good news: Chronic stress can be managed and its harmful effects mitigated. There are many practices that have been shown to reduce stress and improve our overall health, including yoga and meditation. But if those aren’t for you, there are other options.
“Stress is universal. It’s constant,” says Dr. Rachel Bond, associate director of the Women's Heart Health Program at Northwell Health, Lenox Hill Hospital. “Don’t try to eliminate all stress. Focus on healthy ways to cope. There is no one way to do this.”
Try these suggestions from Northwell Health’s team of physicians and health providers for managing chronic stress and taking great care of yourself: