3 Common Health Problems Female Leaders Encounter (And How to Solve Them)

Female leaders can encounter a broad variety of health problems that might hinder their job performance and complicate their life. If you want to optimise your performance at work and improve your health and wellness levels, consider the following common health problems and some possible solutions for dealing with them:

1.  Stress

Stress is one of the most common and compelling health problems female leaders encounter at work. Work-induced stress is an extremely common cause of compensated injury in Australia, and it accounts for the longest durations of absenteeism in Australian workplaces. Stress is one of the top problems that female Australian leaders need to solve if they hope to remain well and healthy.

 Possible Causes of Stress, With Solutions for Each:

Unrealistic Workload: Many women face unrealistic deadlines and more work than they can physically get done. Common responses to these problems contribute to even more stress; some women end up staying late at work, skipping breaks or taking work home with them to get it all done. This compromises their work-life balance, which creates even more stress.

Instead of accepting such an overload, there are some healthier solutions to the problem of too much work. The most commonly overlooked solution is to delegate some of the work to a subordinate or co-worker, or to ask for help from a colleague. Another commonly overlooked solution is to say no more often.

If neither of these options is workable, you could collaborate with your boss on better prioritising your workload. When your boss delegates a new task to you, get out your to-do list and ask specific questions about where that task fits on the list: “Should I prioritise this task before the report you’ve asked me to compile for Wednesday, or after?” If the answer is “before”, then ask: “Is it OK with you if we reschedule the report’s due date for Thursday to enable me sufficient time to get this new task completed?” In many cases, you will find that your boss will be more mindful of your workload if you become more proactive about diplomatically drawing attention to instances when you are being asked to accomplish the impossible.

Lack of Confidence in Your Own Abilities: Women frequently experience “impostor syndrome”, a phenomenon in which they become convinced that they are not as good as people believe them to be. This lack of confidence can create tremendous amounts of unnecessary stress.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for lack of confidence; however, one of the most straightforward solutions is to invest in your own education. For example, if you’re a leader in the healthcare industry, you’ll probably benefit substantially from earning a master’s degree in health services management; and if you’re a business executive, you’d be likely to gain confidence from enrolling in a master of business administration (MBA) programme. There are suitable advanced degree programs available that could be confidence-boosters for women working in just about about every type of leadership role.

Many women find that their self-assurance takes a massive leap when they realise they are capable of doing the work to earn an advanced degree. Additionally, they are able to use the knowledge gained from the experience and apply it directly to many of the challenges they face in the workplace.

Another possible solution is to seek out mentorship from other leaders in your industry. Doing this may help you to understand that you are more worthy than you have been giving yourself credit for. You’re likely to discover that you aren’t doing any worse than other leaders in similar positions are doing.

Additional Solutions for Stress in the Workplace:

There are several other general solutions that can help to reduce the levels of stress you experience. These include exercise, meditation and conscious relaxation.

See Also: 8 Healthy Tips to Fight Stress

2.  Depression

Depression is another common problem that female leaders face at work – and this issue has become even more pronounced in the age of coronavirus. For some women, coronavirus has brought depression, along with additional complications, as a direct result of having to work in isolation; and, for others, it has created depression or anxiety because workplace conditions have become more physically challenging and often even dangerous.

Solutions:

Therapy: If you need help with working through depression, it may be beneficial for you to schedule a therapy session. Nowadays it isn’t necessary to be present for therapy in person; you have the option to participate in telehealth mental health consultations.

Better Nutrition: Surprisingly, better nutrition can be a valuable and viable solution to depression. This is because there are nutritional deficiencies that can manifest as depression; in some cases, the depression will magically vanish when these deficiencies are corrected.

In particular, a magnesium deficiency is likely to result in overt feelings of depression or anxiety. Many people are deficient in magnesium – and if you are, you may find that magnesium supplements can provide immediate relief from anxious or depressed feelings.

Consult your GP or a registered dietitian if you need assistance with determining whether you have a magnesium deficiency or other nutritional deficiency.

You could also try adding more nutritious foods to your diet. If you often fall into the trap of skipping meals or eating takeaway because you’re too busy to cook, meal prepping can help you to get on track with having healthy, grab-and-go meals available. This can help to ensure you take in adequate nutrition and avoid the pitfalls of too much junk food.

3.  Sleep Deprivation

Female leaders often find themselves stretched thin, overloaded and trying to do too much. Often, they are working, parenting and maintaining a romantic relationship as well as a social life. It’s common for women to have too much to do and not enough time to fit it all in. This can lead to sleep deprivation, which adversely affects every aspect of life.

Solutions:

Implement a Nighttime Routine: Prepare yourself for bed at a predictable time every night and practice relaxation methods as part of your routine. Limit your screen time as you’re winding down, because blue light from screens can interfere with your circadian rhythms.

Set Realistic Caffeine Limits: Caffeine is often a contributing factor for women who experience sleeplessness; this is particularly true when caffeine is consumed close to bedtime. Try to avoid consuming caffeine in the afternoons and evenings to minimise insomnia problems.

These aren’t the only health problems that female leaders experience; however, these are some of the most typical problems women in leadership roles are likely to encounter. We hope these solutions will prove helpful to you if you’re struggling with any of these common health problems.

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