Does Superwoman Even Exist? (Superman, if you’re a bloke!)
Well I certainly can’t lay claim to having any super powers, but then I don’t claim to be Superwoman! I do my best to be everything to everyone who is important in my life; a good mum, a good wife, daughter, friend, sister……but I know there are times I fall short. Life tends to get in the way; work, family, timetables, deadlines, house stuff, and when my children were younger it was school stuff, homework, after school stuff…..lots of stuff!!
On one of my FB posts I talked about how we react to stress. It could be that you turn to comfort food, or you may get tense muscles in your neck or shoulders or your jaw. It could be that you get tearful or you get irritable with your family or colleagues. It could be that you become very negative. You might hit the alcohol more than you know is probably good for you or you might feel the need to start smoking again or to increase the number you smoke as you try to feel more relaxed. Another way you might react is when you ‘go in on yourself’ where you don’t want to socialise with friends, you don’t want to meet up for that drink and you just want to be by yourself.
On another FB post I talked about recognising your stressors (what triggers your stress). Is it getting the kids out the door in the morning, is it the commute to work, is it the deluge of emails that come through your inbox? Is it the colleague who wears you down, the list of ‘to do’ items in your notebook or phone? Whatever it is, once you recognise that it is a trigger then you can begin to deal with it.
I am human and I am someone who gets overwhelmed when I have a lot on my plate. Before my coaching training I don’t think I handled it very well. I wasn’t as aware as I am now. I couldn’t see the wood for the trees if you like. But I do now and here are some techniques that help me:
- I cut back on what I’m doing. I look at my diary and pare it down if I can. What meeting can you miss? What can you delegate? Where can you give yourself a break and say ‘actually, I’m going to bow out of this to give myself some space and time.’ I had a client who was a full time working woman who had many commitments outside of work. During our session we did a simple exercise to see which area of her life she could focus on removing some of the stress.When I first suggested this she wouldn’t entertain the idea that she could change anything as she was committed to so many things and had to be there. In our next session she told me that she had thought about it again and agreed to drop a couple of commitments for a few weeks to give her time ‘to breathe’. Where can you cut back?
- If I have a meeting with a client somewhere, I check my directions (even with Sat Nav!) and I leave earlier than I need to take account of traffic jams. I am happy to sit in my car and read through notes etc than feel panicked that I am going to be late. Even when I hit traffic, I’m calm, I know I’m not going to be late as I’ve left in plenty of time. And even if I am I don’t stress….I recognise that a traffic jam is out of my control…there’s nothing I can do and stressing certainly isn’t going to help.
- Sleep. This is a biggy! There are so many scientific studies out there to show us what happens when we get insufficient sleep. It affects our immune system, our judgement and our mood. They say between 7-9 hours. This is a real trigger for me. As my family can testify, I need my sleep! I can be grumpy, unfocused and lack energy when I’m tired…and if the sleeplessness lasts for any length of time, my mood can tumble. I take great care to have enough sleep and for me this is between 7 and 8 hours.
- Exercise. When I work at well-being days in large companies and organisations and I’m talking about Resilience, the biggest thing that comes up when people say how they deal well with pressure is that they exercise! They go to the gym, they run, they walk (by themselves or with their dog), they cycle, they walk to work/go out and walk at lunchtime. We know that exercise releases endorphins (the feel-good hormones) and has a host of other health benefits. I do a 20 minute walk before work in the morning and it sets me up for the work day ahead. What could you do if you don’t already?
- Relaxation Techniques. Whether it’s Pilates, Yoga, meditations, deep breathing etc the important point here is that you are in a calm, relaxed state and your mind is in the moment, focusing on your body rather than any worries or stresses in your head.
- It’s good to talk. Yes, that old chestnut! Whether it’s the girls, your mates, a work colleague, EAP, family or someone on the end of the phone. It helps to connect, to have support. Talking can bring you clarity and a different perspective. Use whoever you feel comfortable with as a sounding board for what’s going on in your head. Journaling is also a great way to get stresses out in the open and gain some emotional relief. Buy yourself a beautiful notebook or just use your laptop or phone. Whatever works.
So, don’t feel the need to be Superwoman! She’s a myth. We do what we can to have a balanced life where we work hard but also have the time for self-care and enjoying what and who we have in our life.
“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”
If Stress affects you and you feel that my Address the Stress package would help, send me a message to arrange a chat to see how I can help.