It’s that big exhale you take after sitting yourself at the steering wheel. It’s the pressure that builds when you count how many minutes you’ve got left until you need to run out the door. It’s the gradual tension that builds in your neck… in that same hard-to-reach spot. That’s your energy levels talking – and it’s not saying nice stuff.
For me, my energy (vibes, feelings, mojo; call it how ever you feel it) is a very, very important indicator of my health. As a general rule I think about my overall health in terms of a transaction – energy in, energy out. Whether it’s food, movement, social gatherings, housework, work-work or just quiet moments to myself. All are moments in time that either replenish or diminish my energy levels. The key I’ve found to managing my overall health and wellbeing is committing to an awareness of my body’s energy and honouring what it needs. Admittedly I get the ‘honouring’ part mixed up a bit.
I don’t think I need a scientific statement here to say that as women, we tend to be in a rush to do everything and be everything to all people. And when we rush we tend to get less connected to the way we feel and more connected to what we’re chasing. Or rather, the perceived need that we must chase at all.
In a bookmark worthy article over at The Whole Daily, Dr Libby Weaver author of Rushing Woman’s Syndrome (and one of Australasia’s leading nutrition specialists and weight loss experts) put what I’ve been trying to grapple with about my energy levels for years into a nice and simple, here’s-why-this-really-happens, tidy little sentence:
“Not that long ago in human history women were given the opportunity to do what had traditionally been their father’s jobs, while maintaining what were traditionally their mother’s responsibilities and what has unfolded for too many women is a frantic double shift, of working day and night, with very little if any rest.”
In short – we can’t do everything yet we feel like we must. And pronto!
A Mumma’s day often transitions from work-lady to home-lady; both are jobs. So we’re wired, 24×7, to get things done as quickly as possible usually with the goal to feel ‘complete’, ‘done’ or may be even just ‘free’ to have damn rest? As Dr Weaver explains, in the evolution of her book, she had never before witnessed so many females in a rush to do everything and be all things to all people.
Enter the Rushing Woman.
In my last few weeks at work I was determined to beat this buzz. I found myself
making a new revisiting the previous week’s goal every Sunday: ‘No rushing, no striving – just flow’. But in the Monday morning after the night before of washing dishes, folding laundry, bathing baby, balancing books, paying bills, phone calls from it takes-half-an-hour-to-say-‘Hi’ relatives – truthfully – I was left uninspired by my Sunday mantra.
So I ask myself: ‘What am I doing wrong?’, ‘How can I be so clear on an intention only to be over-run by an intense feeling of overwhelm and lost time?’
If you’re gelling with these scenarios (and before you fly into another session of scolding yourself for what you didn’t get done today) take a moment to think about how you’re using your Third Space.
Let’s park the idea that we should probably focus on letting go of the hellish to-do lists altogether – sometimes our list of non-negotiables fall within one day. And here’s a concept that can help any lady rushing through it.
I first stumbled across leading educator and researcher in human performance, Dr Andrew Fraser, a few years back. His work on (or more appropriately in) the Third Space featured in an article in Madison Magazine a few years back. The concept stuck with me. Here was a whole ‘nother space in time I wasn’t using!
While I’m not advocating (and I am in fact guilty of) giving into a need to set and conquer a ridiculous list of tasks each day maybe we can use the Third Space to manage the huge amount of energy this type of rushing woman syndrome? After all, as Dr Fraser points out, it’s not what we do that matters. But what we do between what we do that counts.
So here’s a couple of Third Spaces to try to help with the transition between your different roles and environment. It’s all with the intent to help you find time and space to manage that precious energy resource that is you.
Your AM Moments:
- The kettle or smoothie ‘stand-off’: Rather than run away after flicking the switch use this time to stop to stand still and gather your thoughts for the first part of your day ahead.
- The car ride to calm: No radio, no music and 6 deep breathes will help with a reset (best served up after the school drop-off). Perfect for the transition from home-lady to work-lady.
- Toilet Time-Out: You gotta go at some point. Use the time at the basin mirror to take in your mornings mishaps and what you don’t want to carry forward into the arvo.
Your PM Moments:
- Let it go lunch time: Do yourself a favor; never deny yourself a lunch break and use the walk to get it or eat it as a time to reset. The 3pm munchies will thank you.
- Mindfulness Mailbox: Pause just for a second before you go inside the house. Head over to the mail box and ponder your way back before making you way inside to start back at your home role.
- Karma charge up: More of a mindfullness reminder before bed and great lead in to a meditation. Charge your phone, charge your mind. Resist the urge to scroll over to Facebook, phone down and eyes closed with a focus on reflecting on the day, resting the mind and resetting for tomorrow.