Studies have revealed that women are disproportionately affected by emotional and psychological distress. According to a 2016 research paper, women are twice as likely to suffer from severe stress and anxiety as men, while a 2021 study on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic revealed that women were psychologically more strongly affected by the pandemic as compared to men.
“Women are constantly up against societal expectations and pressures – to be physically attractive, empathetic, and nurturing, while excelling professionally,” explains Sabrina Ooi and Alyssa Reinoso, founders of Calm Collective, a local initiative that aims to break the stigma of mental health in Asia. “Additionally, compared to men, women typically experience more ‘mental load’, which involves the invisible, non-tangible tasks that are involved in running a household.”
Aspiring to do it all in order to capture an unattainable ideal can result in stretching oneself too thin, says the duo. “With all these pressures, it’s no surprise that we may easily overstretch ourselves to the point of burnout (we’ve experienced this ourselves!). Our advice would be to practise self-care, self-compassion, and self-advocacy.”
It can be hard to take a breather amidst living in a state of hustle and pressure, but it’s important to set time aside to slow down and unwind before stressors like work and home responsibilities overwhelm you.
Here, Sabrina and Alyssa share advice on practising self-care, self-compassion and self-advocacy, with thought-provoking prompts for self-discovery.