Stress Awareness: Why Women in Tech Need to Take Care of Themselves

women in tech and stress awareness

I’ve just learned this week that April is Stress Awareness Month. I’m looking at this from a women in tech angle, considering I’m all for encouraging more women to consider a career in tech and to take action on progressing their tech careers, I felt it was an important one to highlight.

Stress Awareness Month provides an opportunity for individuals and organisations to raise awareness about the impact of stress on our daily lives.  As a woman in the tech industry,  you’re no stranger to stress. With deadlines looming and projects piling up, it can be easy to forget about taking care of yourself, but it’s important to remember that your health and wellbeing are just as important as your career success.  You may face unique stressors that can affect your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.

Tech careers often require long hours, tight deadlines, and high-pressure environments that can lead to burnout and other health problems if not handled properly right from the start.

The Impact of Stress on Women in Tech

Studies have shown that women in tech are more likely to experience burnout than men. This is due to a number of factors, including workplace discrimination and the pressure to prove oneself in a male-dominated industry. Additionally, the nature of tech work can be inherently stressful, with long hours and high-stakes projects.

It’s important to recognise the signs of stress and take steps to manage it before it becomes overwhelming.  There are various signs of stress that women in tech may experience, including:

Physical Stress Symptoms of Stress: 

Headaches, fatigue, muscle tension, and stomach problems are common physical symptoms of stress. Women in tech may experience these symptoms due to long hours of sitting in front of a computer, tight deadlines, or a demanding workload. It can also mess with your cycle too if left unmanaged for too long.

Emotional Symptoms of Stress: 

Stress can also manifest itself emotionally, causing irritability, anxiety, or feelings of overwhelm. Women in tech may feel stressed due to the pressure to perform well in a male-dominated industry, juggle multiple responsibilities, or meet high expectations.

Women in Tech & Burnout: 

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged stress. Women in tech may be more susceptible to burnout due to the high-pressure environment and long hours often associated with the industry.  I’ve certainly experienced burnout at least 3 times in the past during my career, and it wasn’t a pretty sight. When I noticed some of my hair starting to fall out I realised something had to change.

Women in Tech & Sleep Issues: 

Stress can cause sleep disturbances, such as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Women in tech may experience sleep issues due to work-related stress or anxiety.

Women in Tech & Social Withdrawal: 

Women in tech may withdraw from social activities or relationships due to stress, leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Women in Tech & Loss of Motivation: 

Stress can lead to a loss of motivation, making it difficult for women in tech to stay focused and productive.

One of the first steps to managing stress is to identify the causes.  

Are you dealing with a heavy workload? 

Ridiculously tight project deadlines?  

A demanding boss? 

A difficult team member?  

 The good news is that there are steps you can take to manage your stress and protect your health, and once you know the source of your stress, you can develop coping strategies that are tailored to your situation. 

Here’s 5 tips to help you manage stress as a woman in tech:

Take breaks: 

It may seem counterintuitive, but taking short breaks throughout the day can actually improve your productivity and help you manage stress. Take a few minutes to stretch, walk around, or simply close your eyes and breathe deeply.

Practice mindfulness: 

Mindfulness is a practice that involves being present in the moment and focusing your attention on the present. I work towards this by using guided meditation. This can help you reduce stress and anxiety and improve your overall well-being.

Build a support network: 

It’s important to have a support system of friends, family, and colleagues who can offer emotional support when you need it. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help or advice when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Set boundaries: 

It’s easy to get caught up in work and forget to take care of yourself.  Lord knows that’s used to be a regular habit of mine and I felt the consequences.  Set boundaries around your work hours and make time for hobbies, exercise, and other activities that bring you joy.

Seek professional help: 

If you’re experiencing chronic stress or anxiety, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or other mental health professional. There is no shame in talking to a therapist.  They can help you develop strategies to manage your stress and improve your overall well-being.  I personally believe getting time with a therapist is one of the best investments you can make in yourself.  

Remember, stress is a normal part of life, but it doesn’t have to control you.  By taking steps to manage your stress, you can improve your overall health and well-being and thrive in your tech career. Your success in your career is dependent on your ability to take care of yourself. So, take the time to prioritise your own needs and you’ll be able to tackle the challenges of the tech industry.

Have you experienced stress during your tech career? What techniques for managing stress have worked for you? Let me know in the comments below.

If you’re a woman (or you know of one) who feels frustrated in your current job, and need support to build inner confidence to make a career change into tech, book a complimentary discovery call here to find out how I can help you on your journey to a fulfilling career in tech.

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