In March of 2014, Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, collapsed and hit her head causing a broken cheekbone and a new understanding of her life. She reported that she had been working very long days, seven days a week.
She'd been running her company and raising two teenage daughters as a single mom at an unrelenting pace that led to chronic sleep deprivation and resulted in exhaustion. While most do not have her money or power, many can relate to her schedule.
Women tend to put themselves last in the grand scheme of life and do not take the time to relax, get good sleep, find happiness, and restore their vital force. Instead they choose to push ahead at a break-neck pace, throw back countless cups of caffeine, over-schedule and under-sleep.
It is important to understand that this is very detrimental for the health of everyone.
1) Sleep at least 7 hours. More if necessary and do not feel guilty about it. Sleep is restorative and helps with the recovery of cells and muscles. It allows for everything to rest and wake refreshed the next day.
Chronic sleep deprivation leads to chronic exhaustion, and potentially other negative symptoms such as weight gain and cognitive decline.
2) Write down your priorities then work to keep them at the forefront of your life at large. Obviously most people cannot up and quit their job in pursuit of carefree happiness. But consider whether or not you are saying “yes” to things that don’t fulfill you, and not making space in your life for those things that do.
3) Say “no” more often. Take a good hard look at how full your plate, and that of your family, has become. Learn to say "no" gracefully and without guilt or remorse.
If it is not critical, absolutely required, or something that would bring you bliss ... say no. It is okay to have more down time to recharge, connect and heal.
4) Seek help. Sometimes life can be overwhelming and a qualified counselor or life coach can make all the difference in the way that you approach your day and your obligations.
While friends and family mean well, having that trained neutral third party can be exactly the help you need to make or consider changes, work through problems, or learn coping mechanisms.
5) Find ways to cope with your stress. Stress can cause sleepless nights, headaches, skin problems, digestive issues, hair loss, menstrual irregularity, mood changes and more. Having an outlet allows your body the chance to relax. Focus on exercise, music, art, literature or journaling. Consider sporting events, religion, talking it out, or breathing/meditation exercises.
6) Make an appointment to get checked out by your health care provider. Please do not be like Ms. Huffington and end up with a broken cheekbone and stitches!
1. Brooks, M. More Stress Equals More Headaches. Web. 14 May, 2014. Retrieved from
2. Grant, A. Arianna Huffington on how to ‘Thrive.’ Web. 14 May, 2014. Retrieved from
3. Hand, G. In-Lab Study Links Sleep Deprivation to Weight Gain. Web. 14 May, 2014. Retrieved from
Reviewed May 15, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
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