Search IconSearch

Too Much Pressure? 7 Tips for Stressed-Out Women

Practical suggestions for easing your stress

Illustration of woman slumped at desk holding a white flag over head

Both men and women experience stress, no question.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

But women often experience stress on a deeper level and place more internal pressure on themselves, says psychologist Susan Albers, PsyD.

Try these ideas when you feel overwhelmed by life’s pressures.

1. Don’t soothe yourself with food

Stress activates your body’s fight-or-flight response, sending cortisol raging through your bodies, Dr. Albers says.

Many women turn to food to comfort them and calm their stress. But food doesn’t actually soothe you. Rather, it gives a sudden jolt of pleasure or distraction, Dr. Albers explains.

Try to find non-food ways to bring down those cortisol levels.

“Take a break and do a self-massage by putting a tennis ball under your foot or behind your back against the wall,” she suggests. “Or sit or go for a walk outside.”

Even simple things, like sipping hot tea, putting on comfy clothes or taking a warm shower can soothe your body.

2. Keep work at work and home at home

Do you worry about deadline pressures, difficult colleagues or your career trajectory?

Dr. Albers recommends looking at the big picture. How much will the stressful situation matter in five hours, five days, five weeks or five years?

Women also tend to absorb other people’s stress. “We are natural caretakers, but it helps to set good boundaries with coworkers,” she says. “Focus on your stress, rather than trying to fix, solve or soothe others’ stress, too.”

3. Delegate tasks at home

Women (especially moms) often express feeling overloaded with chores but find it hard to delegate.

“Sometimes they think, ‘I have to do this, I have to do that,’ and they get so frustrated when their partner can’t automatically see what needs to be done,” Dr. Albers relates.

So, instead of expecting others to read your mind, set up a time to divide the tasks. “Establishing routine chores works much better than asking in the moment,” she says.

Let the kids pitch in, too. They can choose jobs they like or rotate tasks.

Finally, set priorities. “Clean your kitchen really well if you spend 90% of your time there,” she says. “Don’t worry about the whole house.”

4. Be present for family

Do you often feel trapped on your phone? Many people do. But you’re missing opportunities to connect with family.

“Put the phone aside, and look your family members in the eye,” Dr. Albers advises. “You’ll communicate much more effectively.”

Have everyone stash their electronics during family meals, she says. It will help you slow down and stay in the moment, enjoying the food and the company.

5. Don’t set the bar so high

Comparing yourself to others only amps up your stress.

“Stay in your own lane. Focus on yourself,” advises Dr. Albers.

You can also ease the pressure by letting go of “should” statements, like “I should be the perfect mom,” or “I should always make dinner.”


6. Make bill-paying automatic

If money is a source of stress, Dr. Albers suggests having a family meeting about finances to set a budget.

“This alleviates stress in the long run,” she says. “I also encourage women to set up automatic bill-paying online.”

Eliminating the twin headaches of writing checks and paying bills on time can ease financial stress.

“Then, once all the bills get paid, you will know what your household budget is for the month,” says Dr. Albers.

7. Take care of you, too

You may be great about making doctor’s appointments for your kids or aging parents. But you’re probably last on the list.

“Taking care of yourself is important, because if you go down, everybody else goes down,” Dr. Albers says.

Create self-care routines that are automatic and linked with other already established routines, like taking vitamins whenever you brush your teeth.

Lastly, “give yourself permission to take time to be alone and recharge your batteries,” she adds. “It’s hard to put your worries down for a moment, but it’s really beneficial.”


Learn more about our editorial process.

Related Articles

People sitting in circle at group therapy
July 18, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty
Chronic Hives and Mental Health: Self-Care Tips

Combat stress and anxiety — common chronic hives triggers — by focusing on sleep, staying active and leaning on others for support

Couple in bed, one asleep, the other typing on their cell phone
July 18, 2024/Sex & Relationships
How and When Emotional Cheating Crosses a Line

Fostering romantic and/or sexual feelings for other people outside of your relationship can lead to long-term consequences

Reiki being performed by practitioner, with hands hovering person's abdomen
July 16, 2024/Wellness
What Is Reiki? And Does It Actually Work?

Reiki is an energy-healing practice that many people describe as deeply calming and therapeutic — but it shouldn’t be used in place of conventional treatments

Female painting a still life of a vase and fruits on canvas and easel
Self-Care Is Important When You’re Living With HER2-Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer

Taking care of yourself extends beyond symptom management and includes things like passion projects and meaningful moments

Person crying with heart-shaped hole in their chest
July 9, 2024/Mental Health
How To Overcome an Existential Crisis

Connecting with loved ones, keeping a gratitude journal and reframing the situation may help the dread dissipate

Female holding hair up at neck, eyes closed, fanning herself with piece of paper
July 9, 2024/Women's Health
Hot Flashes, Anxiety and Menopause: What’s the Connection?

You may be more prone to hot flashes if you have anxiety, but hot flashes can also rev up anxiety

Group of women sitting in chairs in circle, some holding brochures, at cancer support group
HER2-Low Metastatic Breast Cancer: Finding Community

Support groups, financial assistance and survivorship programs are all readily available

Parent with teen live action role playing in community park, with people walking dogs in background
June 26, 2024/Children's Health
Building Resiliency: 6 Ways To Boost Your Teen’s Confidence and Coping Skills

Integrating coping skills into your teen’s daily routine helps turn self-care into a lifelong healthy habit

Trending Topics

Female and friend jogging outside
How To Increase Your Metabolism for Weight Loss

Focus on your body’s metabolic set point by eating healthy foods, making exercise a part of your routine and reducing stress

stovetop with stainless steel cookware and glassware
5 Ways Forever Chemicals (PFAS) May Affect Your Health

PFAS chemicals may make life easier — but they aren’t always so easy on the human body

jar of rice water and brush, with rice scattered around table
Could Rice Water Be the Secret To Healthier Hair?

While there’s little risk in trying this hair care treatment, there isn’t much science to back up the claims