Last week I saw a patient whose main complaint was stress and fatigue. After a long discussion about her lifestyle and schedule, I finally asked her the following questions:
“ Do you have a laptop?”
“Yes.” She replied.
“How often do you charge the battery?”
“Every night.” She replied.
“And a cell phone?”
“Yes, I charge that every night too.”
“So, if you charge your electronics every day, when do you re-charge you?”
Unfortunately, she couldn’t answer. She didn’t know. She shrugged and started to cry.
I’m noticing a concerning trend amongst women and it’s that we are putting so much pressure on ourselves to accomplish a million things and more everyday despite our health. I find that I have to tell patients I can’t make the day longer, I can’t magically produce a personal assistant, and I can’t stop time but I can encourage them to make a list of priorities and put themselves in the top five.
Being busy and having a packed schedule can really affect your stress hormones leading to poor sleep, fatigue, weight gain, anxiety, and feelings of beig overwhelmed. I ask patients, what do you do for you? Where is your happy place?
Please take the time to help those feelings of stress, being overwhelmed, and anxiety by doing exercise, yoga, reading, talking with friends, journaling, scrapbooking, walking your dog, taking a class, taking a bath, or whatever it takes to bring it down a notch for awhile. Talk with your family about setting priorities and eliminate those things you really don’t care about (but committed to anyway out of guilt or whatever). Practice setting clear boundaries and start doing things for you. Your health will thank you.