Working parents have a lot on their plates, and that stress can weigh on minds and bodies. New research shows women working more than 40 hours a week are doing even more damage to their health. But there is something that can be done, even if changing work schedules is not an option.

Dr. Brendan Cavanaugh of the New Mexico Heart Institute, who operates out of Heart Hospital at Lovelace Medical Center, says most young parents dealing with heart problems face stress at work or home.
“Stress is a big part of all of our lives and we have to figure out how to manage it better,” Cavanaugh said.

But how can that stress be managed when it feels like the work never stops?
“Women also are often moms, and working moms have that added stressor of, I gotta get home, I gotta take care of my family. I think part of it is realizing you can't do everything; you can't be everywhere always,” Cavanaugh said.

Research from Ohio State University shows working 50 hours a week or more increases the risk of heart disease, and 60 hours or more triples the risk.

“Giving yourself a break, giving yourself time for yourself -- when you're a caretaker and you're working, you have to make sure you take time for yourself,” Cavanaugh said.

Cavanaugh says to get screened for heart diseases, to fit in exercise where you can, and to add 20 minutes each morning and night for meditation -- whether at home, at work or in the car.


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