The Exhaustion of Trying to Have it All
by Julie Clinton
Stress drains us as few things can.
Stress is not only depleting. It is painful. There is a literal ache that comes with exhaustion that is not resolved. I have a friend who has told me on several occasions that she can only go for twenty hours and about twenty minutes before her entire body begins to hurt, from the top of her head to her toes. She says, “This is a signal that I’ve gone way past the end.” I’m not sure I could go twenty hours.
The cure for stress is not all that complicated. A person generally has to do one of these things:
• Remove something from life’s agenda.
• Remove a responsibility from life’s demands.
• Decide that perfection is not possible, completion is admirable, and self-forgiveness is required.
For decades we have been told that as women we can have it all. Not long ago a woman said to me, “I’m in my sixties now and I’ve learned that a woman can have it all . . . just not all at the same time.” By “all,” most refer to a career, a family, and personal fulfillment.
Those who seek to have it all nearly always find themselves cutting corners in one area of life in order to accommodate another. Balance is critical and very difficult to establish and sustain. The balancing act seems to have a built-in exhaustion factor.
The need for balance in life includes relaxation. High-energy days require sleep. Creativity requires relaxed time for daydreaming. Intense relationships seem to require more personal time for processing, evaluating, and nurturing than casual acquaintances.
We often see the need for balance when one of the opposites of a whole—such as rest and productivity—falls below the level that is sufficient. Sleep-deprived people are less productive and often more accident-prone, which can lead to an injury that results in no productivity!
The sad fact is that women who pursue it “all” tend to shortchange themselves. They give to husbands and children and careers, and then find nothing left over to fuel their own souls. They’ve forgotten what they’ve heard on every airline flight: “Put on your own oxygen mask before you attempt to help someone seated next to you”!
Excerpted from Bounce Back by Julie Clinton © 2014. Published by Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., Brentwood, TN. Used by permission. Tell us what you thought of this excerpt on Twitter: #BounceBack @WorthyPub
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