So many of the women that I see in my Santa Barbara office are struggling with way too much stress!  A common theme that seems to come up almost every time, whether these clients work outside the home or not, is that they put others’ needs way before their own.

As women, we are socialized from a very young age to always be focused on the needs of others.  “Be nice, be polite, be helpful.”  These are the messages we get, whether spoken or unspoken. There’s nothing wrong with this, up to a point.  When we don’t recognize and honor our own needs, though, there’s a problem!

If a woman has young children, of course their needs have to be met first, but it’s critical that she doesn’t dismiss her own needs.  Too many moms just keep going and going until they’re staggering under the weight of their unmet needs.  They wonder why they’re feeling close to tears much of the time, frustrated, and so tired they can barely think straight.

Particularly for moms with babies or young kids, it’s absolutely necessary to have a good support system — and use it.  These moms need to know that they can still take time for themselves without everything falling apart!

Even for women whose children are much older, or for those who have never had children, this lack of attention to their own needs is still a big problem.  I’ve worked with many women who feel guilty anytime they do anything for themselves.

This often continues into the workplace.  It might be their bosses, co-workers, or even their employees whose needs are considered to the detriment of their own.  This can lead to burnout at some point.

Women can not keep giving and giving without becoming empty.  This emptiness takes many forms, such as:  depression, anxiety, anger, resentment, and frustration!  They’re different symptoms of stress!

As women, we have to take responsibility for our own well-being!  We must make the choices that best support us.  Only in this way, can we truly be there for others.  We need to lower our stress by increasing our self-care and nurturing in a variety of ways.

Stay tuned for more on this subject!

Until next time,



  • Fortunately I have a good history of balancing my needs with those of my family. My stressors are usually related to not being able to control issues related to my tenants. Therefore I am selling the stressful properties. My mental health is worth more than any investment!

    • Kymberly, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us! I think it’s wonderful that you are honoring your need for good mental health above the income gained from an investment. Moving out of a stressful situation is a very good thing to do, when you can!

  • My students at the USC School of Social Work were just reflecting on the importance of self-care and how when they practice it they are not only less stressed but so much more effective and efficient. Sometimes I think in our busy lives that we feel like we don’t have time for self-care activities, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. We don’t have time not to practice our self-care!

    • You’re so right, Lynn! When we don’t give ourselves permission for self-care, we wind up empty. Then it’s hard to have anything to give to our jobs, or our loved ones. I’m glad that you’re able to get that message across to your students. It’s so important!


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