Balancing work and family life can leave many men feeling as if they’re drowning in a sea of work, bills and the responsibilities of being a father. As Father’s Day nears, take the time to recognize the challenges that dads face and help them take a break from their usual daily stressors.
The American Psychological Association’s 2013 Stress in AmericaTM survey found that men are less likely than women to recognize that their stress has a strong or very strong impact on their physical health (25 percent vs. 34 percent of women) and their mental health (29 percent vs. 36 percent of women). The survey also found that top sources of stress are money, work and the economy.
“Men in particular respond to stress by feeling irritable, angry or having trouble sleeping,” Carrie Cadwell, Indiana Psychological Association public education campaign coordinator said. “The stress fathers and men face is just as real and gets far less attention than women’s stress. And as research shows, stress can be bad news for their health. So, it’s important that men take action to manage their stress in healthy ways to avoid developing health problems.”
APA and IPA officials offer tips to fathers under stress:
• Identify the causes of stress – Everyone experiences stress differently, and it is important to learn your stress signals. What events or situations trigger stressful feelings for you? Are they related to your family, health, financial decisions, work, relationships or something else;
• Recognize how you deal with stress – Determine if your stress management strategies are healthy or harmful. Does your approach to managing your stress ultimately do more harm than good? Avoid risky behaviors such as gambling, excessive drinking and smoking, which are often used to temporarily alleviate stress;
• Adopt healthy ways to manage stress – Consider healthy stress-reducing activities, such as exercising, playing sports or talking things out with a supportive friend or family member. Keep in mind that unhealthy behaviors develop over time and can be difficult to change. Don’t take on too much at once. Focus on changing one behavior at a time;