How to relieve some of the pressure we feel as women

female founder leaning on her desk with computer, private equity, entrepreneurHi there! I’m Jo, a besotted mother of two beautiful girls, a wife, and founder of 3 businesses; Hallmark Carpets and Flooring, Serenity Loves, and Jo Bevilacqua Mentoring (previously The Unique Mumpreneur).

As an Award Winning Business Mentor, Entrepreneur and Best-Selling Author I have felt the heavy weight of pressure upon my shoulders both from myself and the people around me throughout my entire life. Pressure comes in different forms. Therefore, the key to reducing the pressure other people or you place upon yourself is in identifying the cause of the pressure within your life. This means figuring out the root cause of whatever is making you feel pressurised. For example, many women tell me that no matter what they do and how they try they never feel that they are doing a good enough job. The pressure and the expectation to do everything and be there for everyone feels relentless. Sadly, society has always pressured women to do certain things or be a certain way. This in itself has caused many women to fall into the trap of thinking they should meet society’s standards, but I want you to know that you absolutely do not have to live up to the standards placed upon you by society, family, friends and especially yourself.

In chapter eight of my book, “No Longer Last On The List”, which I wrote last year, I have touched upon the importance of dealing with other people’s expectations because for most of us, external pressure and expectations become evident from an early age. They come from our immediate families, our wider circles, society, our teachers and our peers. Eventually, we internalise the pressure so that it is coming at us from inside as well as outside. When it comes to expectations, I think the most important thing to do is to let go of other people’s expectations because if you don’t, you are going to make things worse by putting pressure on yourself to meet the expectations of those around you. As an individual, the best thing you can do is to expect more from yourself and less from others. Sometimes, the pressure you feel is because of your own expectations of how things should be. When you expect something and the outcome is not what you expected, you will start to feel frustrated and tired, perhaps even angry or emotional. This will drain your energy and add to the stress. However, once you begin to let go, you will be relieved from the burdens you carry with you due to the pressure of meeting other people’s expectations. The reality is that there will always be expectations and pressure. What matters is that you don’t have to bend your life to them.

Letting go is a form of practicing self care, because it will give you a sense of freedom. Not having to think about what others think of you is incredibly important. Self care is about more than having a bubble bath or reading for pleasure at the end of a long day. Self care will reduce the pressure you feel because when you know your worth and value, you will no longer allow other people’s opinions of you to stop you from living your best life. You deserve peace of mind. One of the best ways to achieve peace of mind is to learn to speak to yourself with the kindness you would show a friend. The way you speak to yourself has all the impact on how you perceive and believe things. For instance, if you speak to yourself in a healthy, kind and supportive manner, you will start to notice the difference you feel. Positive self-talk is one of the best ways to reduce pressure, while the negative thoughts and words you say to yourself will increase your self esteem which can add to the pressure you feel naturally. Therefore, avoid negative self-talk!

Trusting your gut goes a long way when it comes to reducing the pressure from your life. Personally, I feel like gut feelings are guidance on whatever you wish to do or don’t. If you listen to your gut, you are more likely to avoid disappointment because your gut usually knows the answer whether you choose to follow it or not. There is a reason why you feel the way you do about your situation or circumstance. So, learn to trust your intuition because it will guide you along the way.  Take the time to learn how your body reacts when faced with certain situations and learn the difference between the emotions and what could be red flags

Success becomes achievable when you are able to invest in yourself before believing you have to meet other people’s expectations. At the end of the day, you are in control of what you choose to think and feel when it comes to people. Learn to value yourself above all else, because you cannot pour from an empty cup. Avoid being a people pleaser because this in itself is pressure! Do things because it is personal to you and your desires. Understand that the more you feel pressurised, the more difficult it becomes to do what you need to do. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to take a step back and look at what you are dealing with, with a new mindset. Stand up for yourself and take great care of your mental, emotional and physical health because self love will save you every time!

About the author

Jo BevilacquaI started my first business back in 2009 with my Husband whilst I was on maternity leave and studying my degree in Childhood Services. I knew when I fell pregnant that I did not want to go back to working in a nursery setting looking after other people’s children whilst someone looked after mine. I also wanted to have control over my own diary, not having to ask permission to see how my child in school plays or sports days.

By 2011 I had the idea of opening my own hair salon with an onsite creche whilst heavily pregnant, this was something that I needed and therefore believed that most other mothers would need this too. Within four weeks I had a 40 page business plan completed and began looking for premises. Since then we have won multiple local and national awards for the salon and I have been invited to places like the House of Lords and Buckingham Palace. More importantly we continue to be a success, serving our clients, supporting our employees to be the best version of themselves and contributing to the local community as much as we can.

In 2017 I set up my third business The Unique Mumpreneur which I rebranded last year to Jo Bevilacqua Mentoring. I wanted to create a community that supports business owners on their journey, sharing things that have worked and haven’t worked for me to make their journey easier.

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