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How women can help each other overcome barriers to getting help

Woman. Caretaker. Mother. Professional. Partner, Daughter. These are some of the roles women play on any given day. While each of these roles is valuable, the stress of wearing so many hats can add up.

This has led to women increasingly turning to substances like alcohol to cope. However, because of the pressures that come with filling so many functions, they face unique barriers to finding help. Busy schedules often built around family and work may make it hard to find connection points while men have natural business and leisure opportunities for relationships. In addition, women are more likely than men to feel they must live a perfect life to measure up to others.

This has led to increased symptoms of anxiety and depression for some, plus proliferation of “wine mom” culture in social media. As people have found ways to cope throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in alcohol sales, weight gain, and drug overdoses.

“In a crisis, we default to our need for comfort,” said Rosecrance Jackson Centers Vice President of Clinical Services Brenda Iliff. “For women, that may be trying to do things perfectly, and we put so many burdens on our shoulder that we fool ourselves into believing that we are OK. We fear that if we fall apart, the whole network will come crashing down.”

For women who may be struggling with increased demands on life, Iliff recommends the following steps:

Take the first step to admit times when you need help. Courage is like a muscle—the more you practice it, the stronger it becomes.

Rethink priorities to include time for self-care. This will enable you to give your best effort to the most important things.

Stick to the basics. Structure, nourishment, hydrating, and rest are foundational for a healthy life.

Look at your values. Think about how they have changed during the pandemic, what is no longer needed, and what brings you joy.

Prioritize you. Intentionally make time to do things or be with people who comfort or invigorate you.

Connect with friends who can help carry your burden, as well as several who can support the lighter side of life.

Respond to others who may be struggling with grace and empathy.

Don’t be afraid to seek help. There is no shame in reaching out to a healthcare professional, spiritual leader, counselor or support group. Rosecrance Jackson Centers’ caring counselors would love to walk with you on the journey.

“We need to break our habit of spending so much time comparing ourselves,” Iliff said. “If we focus on becoming safe places for each other, we will find the supportive relationships we all need to make it through tough stretches in life.”

Rosecrance Jackson Centers offers specialized treatment for women, as well as women and children. These gender-specific programs allow women to take the first steps in recovery together with a supportive group of peers and staff. If you are interested in treatment for yourself or a loved one, please call 800.472.9018.