It is something almost every woman has in common – not enough hours in the day. But what is making us rush everything?
Nutrition specialist and weight loss expert Libby Weaver says the feeling of constantly rushing is only getting worse for women.
“Never before in my work have I witnessed so many females in a mad rush to do everything and be all things to all people,” she said.
“Never before have I seen the extent of reproductive system problems that I now see.
“Women are wired. Many of them are tired too. Tired yet wired. And this relentless urgency, this perception that there is not enough time, combined with a to-do list that is never all crossed off is having such significant health consequences for women.”
'Rushing women syndrome'
This feeling is described by Libby as “Rushing Women Syndrome”. It is how she describes women who, whether they have two things to do in a day or 200, feel stressed out and are constantly in a rush. If you feel like you are never on top of things, this applies to you. Libby says it is an easy pattern to fall into.
“Someone with the syndrome feels like she is in an urgent rush to do it all. She is wound up like a top running herself ragged in a daily battle to keep up. She very rarely feels like she wins and gets on top of things. She feels like there is always so much to do,” Libby explains.
“She often answers 'so busy' or 'stressed' when you ask her how she is. It is not unusual for her to feel overwhelmed and she often has poor short-term memory.”
Why do women feel this way?
Libby says a combination of things contribute to the syndrome. Firstly, our workload – both professionally and at home – has increased.
“Not so long ago, women began doing what had historically been their fathers’ jobs, while maintaining their mothers’ responsibilities,” she says.
“What has transpired for many women is a frantic double shift.
“Women do the same jobs now as men and they do them equally well, but all the time women are carrying around information that won’t seem to leave them alone. I have heard countless women say they don’t know how to say no.”
Libby believes we need to start saying no more in order to reduce the pressure we put on ourselves to make everyone happy.
"I think we have lost touch with nature and ourselves in the madness of the rush," she says.
Why it is affecting your health
Women who are stressed run the risk of developing a number of health issues including infertility, debilitating menopause, exhaustion, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating and impaired thyroid function.
"Never before have we had so much stress in our lives, whether the stress is perceived or real, the body responds in the same manner," she explains.
She says it is the two branches of our nervous system that cope with this stress: the parasympathetic and the sympathetic. The sympathetic is responsible for the fight or flight response and is usually activated when there is a physical threat to your life. She says that our body reacts to having too many things to do as a threat.
"Our biochemistry is ancient and although there are no longer animals jumping out at us, we may have numerous deadlines on the same day, a number of missed phone calls and 100 emails to answer, children to pick up and grocery shopping to do, all before heading home," she says.
"Our bodies respond as though this is a physical threat to our lives, our heart rate increases, pupils dilate and adrenaline surges.
"The world we live in encourages this urgency and our bodies suffer because of it. We are constantly accessible whether this is via emails, mobile phones, or responding to the latest update on social media sites."
How to slow down
Libby says it is time to "slow down" in order to escape the "rushing women syndrome". Here are her tips for taking things back to basics.
Dr Libby was in Australia speaking at the USANA Health Sciences Asia Pacific Convention.
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