19 June 2012

Are you a rushing woman?

I recently read the book Rushing Woman's Syndrome by Dr Libby Weaver, and the first thing it did was make me feel somewhat sad that this is truly a book for the times we live in.


However, there's not much we can do to stem the tide of technology and information flows that the rapid development of the world brings. It is the world we must find a way to live in. But in saying that, we have to find a way to embrace all that is good about this world right now now, without letting the daily rush grind us down and steal away our joy and our precious health.

There were a number of things that I could identify with in determining whether or not I fit the bill of a 'rushing woman'. From a comprehensive list of different scenarios, here were the few that rang home for me:
  • Loves coffee to the point that she feels deprived if she cannot get her daily fix and she tells herself she needs it for energy, to help her brain function, or so she can make her bowels move
  • Often feels tired but wired
  • Tends to crave sugar, particularly mid afternoon or evening (and while typing this post I had already eaten 2 bits of fudge and 2 chocolate biscuits)
  • Sleeps too little (often less than 7 hours)
  • Compromises sleep to get jobs done later at night (mmm yes that would be when I get most of my blogging in!)
  • Wants to speed when she drives, whether she needs to or not (always cutting it fine to get to work or to school!)
  • Wonders why everyone else drives so slow, whether they do or not (everyone does though!)
  • Whilst trying to achieve as much as possible in her day can catch herself checking her phone for emails or the Internet in the bathroom, at the traffic lights or late at night (totally guilty of this one)
  • Often has digestive system problems such as bloating or IBS (recently anyway)
The book goes on to talk about the impact of going through life constantly wired for adrenalin, and how this impacts on various areas of our health such as:
  • the nervous system
  • the endocrine system
  • the adrenal glands and stress hormones
  • ovaries and sex hormones
  • thyroid and thyroid hormones
  • pituitary gland
  • digestive system (not surprisingly I found this chapter particularly interesting)
  • emotions

The thing I liked about this book is that even though not all of it was relevant to me, I felt I could take away some really good, easy and simple things to put into practice.  For one, cutting back on caffeine is a no brainer. Despite the fact I only have one coffee a day, I do feel like I can't live without that one cup. After my recent stomach upsets, I've been taking a few health supplements like aloe vera juice and slippery elm before even reading the book but I'm now taking a probiotic called Inner Health Plus which seems to be having a positive effect too. And I'm starting my day with lemon juice in warm water to kick start my stomach acid into doing it's thing properly as well.

Everyone has asked me whether these digestive issues have been brought on by stress. And whilst I don't feel particularly mentally stressed at the moment (compared to other times in my life when I know I really have felt stressed), I know its my body that tends to collapse under the weight of too much rather than my mind.

Despite the fact that I try to leave work at work and not think about it after hours, there has been a lot going on there recently, in particular a restructure of the organisation for one that has had impacts on my team with 3 positions being made redundant and going from 6 people down to 4, as well as pretty big changes throughout the rest of the organisation too. At the moment, there are still so many unknowns, and the impacts for me are on all the finance systems and processes that need to change for the new restructure to work efficiently for the organisation going forward, and that is quite unsettling, especially as we are heading into the busiest time of the year anyway with the financial audit just around the corner. To top that off, we got news last week that the IRD (government tax department) want to come and do a full investigation of the company which is another massive resource draining project on top of it all. So yeah there are definite stresses there, even if I feel OK in my mind, I do think my recent health issues must be in part my body saying enough is enough.

I do know I try to do too much. Often trying to be too many things to too many people. Rushing from one thing to the next (remember this post: How My Other Half Lives) throughout the day. I'd never really given it much thought before now about the impact this could be having at the core of my body's well-being. But the recent spate of inexplicable health issues, and subsequently reading this book has really made me think about the effects of constantly being on the go, and not giving my body the opportunity to rest and be, to treat it as a temple and not to fill it with harmful (or not helpful) things and expect it to just keep going and going like an Energiser bunny.

If nothing else, reading this book has made me look at my life, evaluate, make some small but easy tweaks which will hopefully add up to a much wholer me.

Postscript: now I do think twice before pulling my phone out at the traffic lights. It doesn't mean I always stop myself altogether, but it does at least make me think. I've cut back on the coffee. I'm trying to get to bed earlier. Not always succeeding there either but for now it's enough that I'm conscious of it and trying to give my body the best chance it has at being well and staying well.

If this has resonated with you, the book is definitely worth a read. There are also some good articles where you can find out more here:

http://www.rushingwomanssyndrome.com/rushing-womans-syndrome/
http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/health/wellbeing/article/-/13124068/do-you-have-rushing-womans-syndrome/

Be good to your body, it's the only one you have!

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