Tuesday, April 23, 2013

     Although this story is not real, the situations are composites of stories I hear regularly.  The difference is that most of the stories I hear about the daily lives of career women are busier!  And, in some instances, they are single parents.  Career women seem to be more susceptible to stress-overload because women tend to want to please others.  As a result, women have difficulty saying no to requests (BTW, No is a complete sentence!).  Women are more likely to feel guilty for taking time for themselves instead of caring for someone else.  As a result demands modern women face, chronic stress is on the rise.  If stress is not managed by these women, stress related physical problems will continue to increase.  Some of these stress related physical conditions include backaches, high blood pressure, sexual dysfunction, skin disorders, and many more.

     Women can manage the effects of stress in some easy ways.
  • Take some time for yourself – 15 minutes a day can do wonders fro your well-being
  • Remember, it is okay to say no occasionally.  If this is too difficult for you, work up to it by saying, “Let me think about it.”
  • Incorporate social interactions into your weekly schedule.  Before women entered the workforce, women naturally met with other women for coffee, PTA meetings, Quilting Bees, etc.  These connections can provide opportunities to support and unwind with others. 
  • Try exercising a few times a week.  Go for a walk at lunch, join a gym, take yoga. 
  • Develop and adhere to routines at home.  Prepare lunches the night before; make some meals over the weekend to reduce meal prep time during the week.  Maintain regular bedtimes to ensure you receive adequate sleep. 
     Remember: The better care you allow for yourself, the more energy you will have to better care for others.

     The alarm goes off announcing it is 6:00 am.  You drag yourself out of bed, jump in the shower and dress for work.  Somewhere between the alarm buzzing in your ear & dressing, you call out to the other family members telling them to get up and get ready for school.  As you try to decide if a scarf or necklace would better disguise the fact that you did not iron your blouse, you discover that no one else is up.  Once more, but slightly less pleasant, you begin to give the 5 minute warnings to ready to leave.  Instead of leaving 10 minutes early for work, you find you are now 10 minutes behind schedule and no one has had breakfast.  Thankfully, there’s enough breakfast bars for everyone to eat on their way to school.  Traffic is barely moving but somehow you arrive at work only 5 minutes late.  Your sense of relief is short lived when your boss sticks his head in your office to inquire about the report that is due by 4:00 pm today.  So, instead of getting some errands done during your lunch hour, you will probably have to work through lunch.

     After work, you pick up the kids from daycare.  They didn’t complete all their homework so as you prepare dinner, you’re coaching them and checking their projects to make sure they are finished.  After dinner, the kids tell you they don’t have any clean underwear.  While they bathe, you do a load of wash.  Everyone is tucked in bed, you can hardly wait to start reading that book everyone has been talking about when your husband leans over and asks you if you would like to fool around.  Unfortunately, before you can respond, the 6:00 am alarm goes off and you start all over again.

     Does this sound familiar?  Our lives are very busy but with a little planning, we can ease some of our daily stress.  First of all, ask for help.  Maybe your partner can pick up the kids and help them with homework while you cook dinner.  Maybe you can take turns & switch these chores.  Try to plan out your dinners a week in advance& if possible, make some dishes over the weekend that will require reheating during the week.  Throw in a load of wash while you are making dinner.  With today’s modern appliances and carefree fabrics, doing laundry can take little effort.  Also, depending on your kids’ ages, they can do some of the laundry.  Some detergents now make pre-measured pods that you drop in the tub before you add your laundry.  Before you & your family go to bed, lay out your clothes for the next day.  Establish a place for everyone to leave everything they will need in the morning – have a table, shelve or cubby just beside the door so that everyone can grab what they need as they leave the house.  Lunches can be made the night before and stored in the fridge.  Kids love white boards.  Hang one on your fridge or by the cubby with a daily check list written on it.  Let the kids check off items before they leave for school.  Not only will it help you but it will teach them some responsibility.