ATLANTA—More than 78 percent of women feel they work a “second shift” when it comes to their daily life responsibilities, according to findings from the 2013 Work/Life Balance Survey conducted by Maid Brigade. Responses from the annual survey also suggest that everyday home and family responsibilities may prevent women from pursuing their individual hobbies and personal health goals, adding to the daily stress in their lives. These responsibilities include tasks like laundry, cleaning, making dinner, and taking care of the family.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, stress occurs when people feel like they don’t have the adequate tools to manage all of the demands in their lives.
“In recognition of April as National Stress Awareness Month, we want to let women know that they are not alone in their daily life struggle,” says Marie Stegner, consumer health advocate for Maid Brigade, the leading maid service company. “As women continue to try and “have it all,” we hope the insight gained from this survey will help them combat some of the sources of stress while leading to a more balanced and healthy lifestyle.”
In its third year, the Maid Brigade Work/Life Balance Survey is part of the company’s consumer advocacy efforts to improve the lives and well being of women. The survey offers a glimpse into how women cope with stress and what they would do if they had more spare time. Both women with children at home and empty nesters were surveyed.
Maid Brigade survey findings regarding three common stress triggers among women along with a few simple tips to alleviate this daily stress are offered below.
1. Sense of Control
According to the survey, 51 percent of women with children at home feel a strong need for control over their daily lives. Interestingly, almost twice as many empty nesters feel comfortable with their lives and the amount of control they feel they have over daily occurrences. The lack of control over the minute-to-minute chaos that fills each day, especially for those with children at home, may be a leading stress trigger.
Tip: Keep organized and stick to a basic schedule. Set time aside to complete the necessary daily tasks at home so that things such as laundry and dirty dishes do not pile up.
2. “Me” Time
Empty nesters are more likely to pursue hobbies and take preventative health measures, according to the survey, which may be important factors in reducing stress levels. Women with children at home are helping with homework and school activities, which adds to the daily workload. Family time, exercise, home decorating/improvement, and hobbies were most frequently chosen (in that order) by these women as things they would like to be doing if they had the time. Hobbies, family time, exercise, and home decorating/improvement were the top four choices (in that order) among women without children at home. Also interesting was that for both groups, “getting involved in industry associations” was one of the least selected options for activities to pursue in one’s spare time.
Tip: Carve out 30 minutes each day to do something for you. Take a bath, read a book, exercise, sit and put your feet up. Every little bit counts. If you have more time to do more, great!
3. Second Shift
Nearly double the number of women with children at home as compared to those without say they “sometimes or always” feel they work a second shift. Among all of the women surveyed, 78 percent say they “sometimes or always” feel they work a second shift at home, up from 72 percent in 2012.
When asked, “Do you feel like you manage the details of your life well and maintain a sense of balance?” the response was nearly identical for women with children at home and empty nesters with 59 percent saying they “sometimes” do. However, more women with children at home answered that they feel that women could “have it all” yet qualified that with but “not all at once.” This selection garnered nearly a 10 percent higher response from women with children at home as compared to those without.
Tip: Find time to do things “non-work” related both in and outside the home. When possible, limit the amount of time catching up on work at home after hours such as checking work email.
For an executive summary and results from the 2013 Maid Brigade Work/Life Balance Survey visit http://www.maidbrigade.com/survey.