The Pressure on Women to “Do It All”
“In eternity there is indeed something true and sublime. But all these times and places and occasions are now and here.” ~Thoreau
You’ve come so far, don’t you think? You’re a woman of the world, wearing multiple hats with such names as “I’d do anything for my kid/partner/friend/boss/parent/sibling…” (That’s a big hat, with lots of feathers and bling) and that sporty number you don that’s called “I workout everyday + eat super healthy”. Or my personal favorite, “Soccer+family dinner+sexy mama”, which, ‘of course’ represents your true hybrid nature, and changes with the seasons.
Oh yes you can– and you will– do it all in 24 hours, but you wish there were more hours in a day… Maybe just a little more time for…you? But that’s so selfish, isn’t it?
Hold on, my sister in the full-bloom years, with endless deadlines and commitments! Here’s what we’re really talking about, right?
- Women are often natural caregivers, and act accordingly.
- At this stage in the game, many of us are trying to balance work and/or home life with relationships, and everything else under the sun!
- You may be in the meaty center of a sandwich generation, taking care of kids still at home, as well as aging parents.
- An “empty nest”, while a welcomed change to some, may be stressful or emotionally taxing for others.
I’m sure you can think of many other examples.The bottom line: while some parts of life are coming to fruition, everything also seems to be changing. Life is all about transitions, but this is a lot!
Especially for women, just the process of aging can be very stressful, as both the natural changes that take place, as well as our culture’s fight against it are part of our daily lives. I swear I just woke up one day and I was, ahem, “middle-aged”. I suddenly understood what dry skin really means—it’s like that Spongebob episode when he somehow ended up on land and all the moisture is sucked from his once supple and moist body—remember that one? And crepey eyelids (who knew that was a thing?) I’ll have more to say about that in another post!
So what do I really want to say to you here and now? Well, I would like you to re-think how you are caring for yourself right now. I’m not asking you to quit school and join the railroad (a favorite tongue-in-cheek quote of my husband).
You don’t need to abandon your real life to take care of yourself, but I’d like you to consider some real life self-care.
Sure, Calgon can take you away, if you like or have time for a bath, and a Spa Day with the ladies would be delightful, but I know for me, just arranging a coffee date with some of my friends can take weeks of planning. Sigh. My suggestion for re-thinking this? First, believe it’s important, actually vital. Yes, that old oxygen mask metaphor applies here. Your depletion does not help anyone, most especially yourself.
Start with being mindful. Be present with the person who knows you best: Your beautiful self. Not sure what exactly being mindful means?
Sit upright and comfy, imagine your awareness sinking down into your abdomen, then notice the gentle rising and falling of diaphragm…with each breath letting the body breathe as it needs to…your awareness resting on the breath without struggling or forcing…feeling the breath come into the body and feeling it leave…and when mind wanders, gently bringing your attention back to the breath.
Now that you have your breath to come back to, you can take a minute to sort it out: Be aware of the things that you can take action on in your life, and work on letting go of the things you cannot. I know, my dear, it’s not as simple as it sounds, but it’s always a place to work from—a practice.
Be gentle: Notice the times and places in your life that you put pressure on yourself to be perfect. This is a no-win situation, don’t you think? Knowing that there is no such thing as perfection is a good start to moving though these ties that bind you. You are good enough now, just as you are. I promise you this is true.
Find beauty: Fill your environment with beauty. Being present is also about noticing the beauty in life. It opens us up to wonder and awe. Whether a child’s smile, an act of kindness, a gorgeous view, a sublime piece of music, when we are enjoying beauty, we are more apt to let go of stressful thoughts and feelings.
Find meaning: Ask yourself what is most meaningful to you in your life. What do you truly value? What are you grateful for?
Create a mantra or affirmation about meaning. It might look like this:
“I love with my whole heart!”
Or write a list of what you value or what you’re grateful for. There’s even research on gratitude! A simple list might look like this:
What I value in my life, by Me.
2. Finding awe and wonder everyday
3. Spending time with loved ones
4. Gratitude for my health
Being clear about what is authentically meaningful in your life helps to put things in perspective and create a positive outlook and more happiness.
So back to re-thinking your self-care! All of the above is your beginning. It’s a way in, to help you find what’s really going to resonate for you, in your real life, in real time. Please tell me how it goes!
Need some guidance with how to get started on this? I’m here to help you.
Give me a call. We can schedule an initial phone consultation to see if we are a good fit.
email me and we can discuss what approach would be best for you.