As I prepared to begin a program for the Wisconsin Health Information Management Association last week, I realized I’d be speaking while they were eating lunch.
“Don’t worry,” said one of the attendees, “we are great at multitasking.”
So true, women are great at juggling more than one thing — which incidentally was the topic of my program: Why Women Have Balls: Stress Management for Busy Women.
In fact, researchers recently discovered men and women worry about a different number of things each day. On average, daily stress concerns of:
Men = 3
(money, job & family)
Women = 12
12! That sounds about right!
Juggling is our power, but juggling poorly can greatly increase stress and may lead to illness.
How do you know if you are juggling too much?
- Do you sometimes feel you neglect important things because you are distracted by everything else you have to do?
- Do you forgo personal pleasures to get just one more thing done?
- Do you feel as if someone will soon find out you are just pretending to be this good?
One hidden source of stress can come from devices which are meant to help us be more efficient. There is a difference between staying connected and too much information.
- Does your cellphone feel like a convenience or a burden — intruding too often into your life?
- Is your Blackberry a tool or an addiction?
- Does watching television relax you or leave you feeling anxious and tense?
According to Dr. Joanne Cantor, Ph.D., an expert in the field of the effects of media on the brain, there are good reasons the daily barrage of electronic inputs leave us with jangled nerves and increased stress.
In other words, we aren’t just passively receiving all of those messages and images, our brains are figuring out how to become part of them.
Help yourself juggle well by controlling your electronic-induced stress — here are some suggestions:
Start and end the day quietly. Commit to spending the first 30 minutes and the last 30 minutes you are wake without electronic interruption. Read the paper, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, or talk with your spouse or partner. Keep the television and radio off. Turn off your cellphone, and walk past the computer without checking your e-mail or the news-sites.
Eating and electronics don’t mix. Try not to eat and text. Along with being rude to your dining companions, you are less likely to pay attention to what and how much you are eating. You body will digest what you eat more efficiently if you eat without interruption. We all know family dinner time is crucial part of child development. Social interaction is also an important part of stress management. Keep the television off and relate to those around you.
Take a break. Pause for ten minutes during the day and disconnect from the computer, phone, Blackberry, television, and all other electronic devices. Sit back, close your eyes and breathe deeply. Take a quick walk. Disengaging will clear your mind, allow your body and brain to quiet, and refocus your energy. If you can’t make it for ten minutes without your devices, start with five minutes build your way up to two ten-minute breaks per day.
Pay attention to the impact time-saving devices are having on your stress level and take steps to manage them (rather than them managing you)!
Wishing you low stress and great success!
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Eliz Greene is the Busy Woman’s Guide to a Health. Drawing on her experience surviving a massive heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins, struggling to lose the 80 pounds gained during her pregnancy, and her background as an adaptive movement specialist, Eliz developed simple strategies and tips to help other busy women be more active, eat better and manage your stress.
As the Director of the Embrace Your Heart Wellness Initiative, Eliz travels the country energizing and inspiring audiences in keynotes and workshops on women’s heart health. She writes one of the top 100 health and wellness blogs. Find more at www.EmbraceYourHeart.com.