Last weekend, I had the pleasure of speaking to a lovely group of ladies about the affect stress can have on our bodies and the many demands we have placed on us as women. With our partners, children, ageing parents, work, pets and friends all wanting a ‘piece’ of us, we often get pulled in many directions.
A few years ago, my husband was under considerable stress at work and was travelling overseas nearly every week; I was managing three children, rushing to and from their schools and various social activities and clubs; I was also working, managing the demands of the home whilst at the same time attempting to feed them nutritious home cooked food (shame on me if I attempted a night of ready meals!) and then of course, not forgetting to walk the dog!
I had no time to myself and I rarely went out with my friends as this usually coincided with my children’s activities or if it didn’t, I just didn’t have the energy to go.
I wasn’t unique, this is a common theme that resonates with many women, we ladies are officially ‘Superwomen’ or at least we try to be.
I hadn’t realised that trying to be superwoman was having a huge impact on my health and in particular, my mental wellbeing. I became a bit of a mad women, screeching at everyone at the smallest thing, I lost hours of time that I couldn’t account for or remember what I had done and couldn’t concentrate on anything for very long. I felt immense anger without any rational reason. I found I was wide awake at night and couldn’t get to sleep but then found it almost impossible to wake up and had to drag myself out of bed in the morning. At one point I was so worried I asked my husband if he thought I was having a breakdown. Thankfully I wasn’t, I was just completely physically and mentally exhausted and also suffering from hormonal imbalance.
I was certainly in a bit of a mess and knew that I needed some help. The first thing I had to do was think more about myself and my own health and wellbeing and that meant I had to start to put myself first. As a ‘giver’ I thought this was a very selfish thing to do and it made me feel very uncomfortable. But as it was pointed out to me, I needed to do this because If I didn’t look after myself, then I couldn’t do the same for others.
Did Life become all about me, me me! No not quite, I still continued doing the usually family things but started to gradually introduce small changes. I said ‘no’ a little more often to my children and family, I delegated household chores to my children and also to my partner. I took some time out each day to do something for myself; I started to walk regularly with a friend, took up Yoga and scheduled some me time, such as taking a relaxing bath, doing my nails, meeting a friend for coffee. When I was invited out with my girlfriends on my son’s football club night and I said yes, this was when I finally accepted that I was as important as my son and it was OK for him to miss one week of his activities, so that I could do mine.
That was a real turning point for me. Today, I continue to regularly schedule some ‘me time’ into my day, this is particularly important at the moment as I am going through the menopause. I eat foods that are good for helping with stress, I take regular exercise, I try and get to bed before 11pm and I focus on things I can change, rather than worrying about things that I cant. I have finally found balance in life and this has not only had a impact on my health and wellbeing but also has had a positive effect on my family too.
For more information about how we can help you to improve your health and wellbeing through our Mood, Energy, Stress and Sleep (M.E.S.S) hormone balancing programme please get in touch