Women can have the job, the partner, the child and the side hustle… but do we risk negating female progression if we just don’t want to? The joys of the busy woman.
Does anyone else have a feeling that they are the friend who always turns down brunches, nights out and coffee mornings using the age-old excuse that you’re just simply “just SO busy right now”? Yeah, me too.
Perhaps you’ve had one of those days, weeks, or months where your to-do list is a never-ending scribe of tasks. The scheduled events on your Google calendar begin at 8:05am and have you marked down as busy until, well… eternity, spending 8-7, not 9-5 bending over backwards just to try and keep up with your own ambition. We’re constantly pulled from meeting to Zoom chat to project briefing to phone calls, squeezing emails, gym classes, healthy eating, socializing, 2 litres of water, 8 hours of sleep, family time and a healthy love life (optional) into 24 intense hours of the day. Being a modern woman living in a non-stop world means switching and changing between multiple different roles, with one condition: you’ve got to keep up.
The trappings of a busy woman
One of the most important and influential books I have read lately is Rushing Women’s Syndrome by Dr Libby Weaver. Within her years working as a women’s health practitioner, Dr Weaver began to notice that an overwhelming majority of her professional female clients lived busy non-stop lifestyles in which they ran from task to task, juggling multiple roles as they go. These high-flying women were at the top of their field, but at what cost to their wellbeing? Dr Weaver began to notice that chronically busy women often presented a series of health complaints, which included physical fatigue, menstrual conditions and hormonal imbalances.
These health complaints are often the result of a gradual, chronic release of stress hormones such as cortisol, which begin to negatively impact regular bodily functioning. You may not think that typical daily jobs and habits such as commuting, guzzling caffeine, working an additional hour or so every day, or falling short of 8 hours sleep for a few nights per week in favour of clearing your inbox would make a significant difference to your stress levels, but over time, these stressors begin to accumulate, leaving your mind and body fatigued. What’s more, the busy woman is at risk of psychological burnout, anxiety and work-related stress, which can result in the need to take time off.
Why so much pressure?
Call it feminism, call it the female revolution, call it whatever you like, but females are beginning to truly own it in the world of business. Never before have we been surrounded by as many inspiring, driven and motivated women on social media, whilst simultaneously being reminded of the need to “work harder” in order to reap success in our lives. We see women who have it all – the career, the volunteer position, part-time passion project on Etsy, the baby and the partner. And dammit, we want it. We take a look at these successful busy women and think to ourselves, wow, I wonder how she does it all? Being busy has become the new cool, and it seems we are scrambling our brains and throwing our bodies into a state of constant stress in order to get there. To keep up. To be, busy.
We don’t have to
I’m sure some women may think that any mentality shy of work work work is anti-feminist. Surely, we owe it to female empowerment to be as successful as we possibly can be? Whilst I couldn’t agree more, this endless weighting pressure we place on each other as women to be as successful and motivated as we possibly can at every minute of the day is… exhausting. There’s no doubt that women living in western society have great opportunities for both personal and professional development, and when we look around us at other regions of the world, we need to realise just how lucky we are to have such choices. However, this need to embody busy-ness in our lives must not come at the compromise of our own health and close relationships with others.
After all, when the work stops, do you have other areas of yourself that are as developed as your LinkedIn profile? Being the friend that always says no won’t leave you with many people to call upon in times of need. What’s the point in losing sleep to clear an inbox which will surely fill itself back up again within 24 hours? There’s a limit to what everyone and anyone can do, and realising these limits is your first step to leaving your busy, stressful and tiresome lifestyle of the busy woman behind. Here’s how.
If you feel like you have been devoting too much time to one area of your life lately, take a look at how you can re-address this balance, and gain a better sense of your own personal purpose, needs and happiness. Schedule in a reflection time for yourself every week to check in on your mental and physical health. In your downtime chat with friends or family, make time for meditation, journaling and contemplation.
Start saying no to extra work if your capacity has been reached, and be honest with yourself about how much time you need to complete tasks. Most of all, start to think about the pressure you put yourself under. Is it a healthy level, or do you feel like you are struggling to keep up? What small changes can you make to help yourself feel more in control and less rushed? Perhaps you need to have a social media cleanse, or a digital detox? How is your diet and overall health? Now more than ever is the time to prioritise your own wellbeing, without the need to look like a busy woman.
Sure, as women, we can do it all, but we don’t have to. And you know what, that’s perfectly brilliant in itself.
Take a look at Charlotte’s other inspiring pieces of work on the blog, too, like the power of self-reflection and 5 realistic morning routines for the best start and stay up to date on her social media.
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Charlotte is an author, editor and content creator, whose interests and work promote sustainable living, in every sense of the word. Charlotte is a marketer for ethical brands, author of a soon-to-be-published children's book, a regular contributor to the sustainability and plant-based publications, and is studying clinical psychology with the view to revolutionising women's holistic, natural and mental healthcare. Find Charlotte on Instagram: @charlottesophiewrites