Because of burning the candle at both ends, more women are having to take time off work because of burnout reported news.com.au. Stress induced conditions include IBS, neck problems, debilitating back pain, and tension headaches all the way to full blown nervous breakdowns, and it’s becoming a serious problem.
Psychologist Meredith Fuller says it’s easily done, she told news.com.au: “women want it all. They are getting up at 4am to go to the gym, running home to get ready for work, then they try and be the first at their desk in the morning and the last to leave in the afternoon… with the workplace being so competitive, it’s not OK to say you’re tired anymore.”
Perhaps this comment taps into a wider problem than ‘wanting’ it all however, and it’s more about feeling that you SHOULD do it all. The problem is that after a while our minds and bodies start to rebel, and if we don’t choose to take time out to let ourselves relax and unwind, then chances are that we will be forced to.
Fuller, who has been a practicing psychologist for over 35 years, said her clients between 25 to 35 are increasing because women don’t let themselves take a break. She commented how women put themselves under unrealistic amounts of pressure to achieve, never really recognizing the achievements they have made up to this point.
Fuller also estimated that our bodies need approximately three to four weeks a year of total rest, whether that’s in bulk slots or taken over time with a collection of afternoons off, making sure emails are turned off in the evenings, and having proper weekends. The problem is that we don’t know how to say ‘no’ and we don’t let ourselves switch off.
Perhaps even more worryingly, when we do take time out we often feel guilty about it, but you know what, that massage, that time chilling out having manicures with your friends, and that time going for a swim without thinking you should be somewhere else? It’s actually all part of making you more productive, more efficient, and more successful in the long run. After all, this work/life thing is a marathon, not a spring (hopefully).
It’s contrary to the way we often think, but actually looking after ourselves and making sure we’re happy and healthy will lead to greater long term benefits for ourselves and our career prospects than proverbial self-flagellation. Or, as Santa Monica, California-based author of Work to Live and a work/life balance and productivity speaker and trainer says: “we are energy machines. We have to replenish the energy we expend.”
Of course, if we don’t find healthy ways to escape, then most of us will resort to unhealthy ways – alcohol being the most popular option. All of which is fine on occasion, but you don’t need a doctor or a scientist to tell you that it isn’t a good long term or regular solution to stress. Not least because however good it makes you feel in the moment, it’s actually a depressant, and is only likely to exacerbate the problem.
So taking time out for positive relaxation includes things like deep breaths, going for a walk, and having time away from the computer screen. Detox breaks for mind, body and soul do way more than simply offer you green smoothies, it’s about finding the time to simply stop and look after yourself on a reasonably regular basis.
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