It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” ~Henry David Thoreau
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past forty years, it’s pretty evident that technology runs our lives. We’ve willingly submitted to our new master. Once you’ve put that into perspective, it won’t be hard to understand why we’re so busy all the time.
We’re connected to work and school 24-7, and with deadlines and the pressure to do our best all the time or we’ll be run over and left behind, who can turn away from their phones or laptops for hours at a time?
No one. Especially women who have to take care of the home, the kids, the husband, the chores, the errands, and work/career responsibilities.
That, in a nutshell is the “busy” disease. It’s serious and fatal when not taken seriously.
Sooner or later, the “busy” disease will make you very sick. When women are under a lot of stress for long periods of time, their bodies release great amounts of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol is good if it’s in moderate amounts because it’s what saves our lives if we’re ever in any danger of any sorts.
It’s a basic human reaction called the fight-or-flight response. When it’s constantly released in huge amounts, however, bad things start to happen both physically and psychologically. The most evident and crucial problem it creates is that it suppresses the immune system, leaving the body vulnerable for attacks of any kind, even chronic disease like heart disease.
Women are known for being the caregivers of the family. They rarely put their own needs and wants first. Taking a breather like sitting somewhere quiet and secluded for 10 minutes with no distractions seems like such a foreign idea. But when you rest, you give your body the chance to recuperate from the exhaustion of daily pressure.
You will have more energy, surprisingly enough. You also have more mental clarity and focus, rather than losing your edge when you rest which is the first idea that pops into everyone’s mind. More importantly, you have a better perspective on life and you don’t lose hope or feel helpless as easily.
Signs Of Exhaustion and Burnout
Pretty quickly, your body will let you know just how much it’s been trying to keep up with your constant buzzing back and forth. There are signs that start slowly. Sometimes women dismiss them as figments of their imagination, until they grow and manifest themselves as something far more dangerous than just a headache or a sore neck.
Some of the signs include:
- Poor concentration
- Anxiety and depression
- Change in eating habits
- Digestive problems
- Heart palpitations and lightheadedness
- Sleep problems and exhaustion
Richard Jolly, a London Business School professor and executive coach, says, “We're losing the ability to stand back and think, and to work smarter rather than harder. Technology often gets the blame, but technology isn’t really the culprit. It’s just that being ‘connected’ every minute of the night and day means people are easily distracted by minutiae instead of taking time to slow down a bit and ask the big, important questions.”
Women are at a greater risk to fall victim to the “busy” disease because they can’t seem to please everybody, even though they’re constantly trying their best to.
- If they know what they want and go for it, they seem like they’re aggressive. If they don’t, they’re not competitive enough.
- If they have children, people think they won’t be good at their job any longer. If they don’t have kids, then they’re heartless and not maternal enough.
- If they have empathy for others and stand up for equality then they’re complaining and making unnecessary hullabaloo. If they don’t, they come off as being uncaring and cold.
So either way they play it out, someone somewhere will make a woman feel like she’s not doing a good enough job.
What to do?
Well, the first thing to do is ignore them all. Then, draw a clear picture of what you want out of life, where you see yourself in 5 years with a concise, but clear, plan of how you’re going to get there.
Being assertive and having self-respect gives you the chance to create a better balance between your demands and priorities without running yourself too thin.