Are You Paying the Price for Being a Superwoman?

“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”
—Henry David Thoreau

Sometimes it feels like we are living life at such a fast pace that we don’t even remember what it feels like to slow down.

We are super busy working, taking care of children, taking care of parents, shopping, running errands, looking for love, recovering from a past love, traveling, paying bills, staying up-to-date with world events, exercising, doing endless laundry, getting to the gym, going to school, reading, socializing, and keeping up with technology. We shuttle our kids to sports practices and music lessons and still find time to volunteer for community service projects. Boredom is not an option. We feel guilty saying, “NO."

Many of us get caught up in this pattern of overscheduling our families and ourselves. Your to-do list is your map. Your cell phone is your compass. We say we hate it yet we just keep doing it. We rarely give ourselves permission to sit down and reflect, think about our choices and our true desires, and schedule our lives with our dreams and long-term goals in mind.

Unless we get a thump on the head, usually in the form of illness or some other tragedy (like I did), it is the rare one among us that takes the time to look, notice, or analyze whether or not we need to be so busy or if we are simply using our busyness to avoid our real needs. So, we just keep going and going and going, getting more and more stressed along the way. Rather than slowing down, we turn to prescription drugs, wine, and food.

And, it is getting worse...

As we continue to advance technologically, we continue to find ways to be more “productive” than ever, while making ourselves more and more alone with our stress. As of this moment, we can be reached 24/7 by phone, email, snail mail, texts, pagers, and virtually through nearly every social media app including Facebook, Snapchat, Skype, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Waze, Pinterest, and more. And now, we can even be reached through our Apple watches!

What’s so sad is that, in a time when we can be reached in a million ways at any time of the day or night, in any location around the world, we are more disconnected from each other than ever. We used to have villages and communities to lean on, to be a part of, to share our experiences with, to celebrate the good times with and to help us get through the hard times. But today, as families move farther away from each other and we all get busier and busier, we become more reliant on doing it all ourselves. As we feel more and more pressure to be perfect, we often don’t feel secure enough in our insecurities to open up and truly share with one another.

Superwomen are created ... and they beget superwomen.

Some people look like they just work hard, then turn it off and play hard, but for most of us, we can't rest until the work is done and, of course, when you’re a superwoman, the work is never done. Since the work is never done, we are experiencing a huge deficit in rest, joy, pleasure, and fun.

So, instead, we think about food.

All of the time.

An obsession is born.

Take a few minutes and think about what is keeping you busy in your life. Is it satisfying or draining? Now, do the same for your stress.

Find out about upcoming programs with Lisa Lewtan at Kripalu.

Excerpted with permission from Busy, Stressed, and Food Obsessed, © 2015, by Lisa Lewtan.

Lisa Lewtan is a health and lifestyle coach, founder of Healthy, Happy, and Hip, and award-winning author of Busy, Stressed, and Food Obsessed.

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