As I write this post, I am in sunny (and hot!) Townsville with my husband – child-free. It’s the first real break I’ve had all year, and a few days in I started to feel this weird sensation.

It was like my brain was clear and I could breathe. I didn’t have a ‘to-do’ list and wasn’t thinking ‘what next?’ 

I then realised that I must have been feeling….relaxed! Oh, what a strange phenomenon!

This week is Women’s Health Week, (a happy coincidence), and I’m so thankful for this opportunity to take time away to refresh and re-vitalise myself. As a small business owner, wife, and mother to two young girls, I often push myself to my limits to squeeze every minute of productivity out of my day – whether it’s related to growing my business, servicing clients, entertaining or feeding the family, or doing housework. I feel that I cannot relax until I am physically and emotionally exhausted.

Only then, do I allow myself to put my feet up.

And this self-pressure to do ‘all the things’ is experienced by many other Australian women out there.

Are we over-committing ourselves?

Earlier in the week, I heard on the hire car radio about the Women’s Health Survey 2018 that was released this week.

The survey indicated that:

  • 66.9 per cent of women felt nervous, anxious or on edge on several days or more in the last four weeks
  • 46.1 per cent reported that a doctor or a psychologist had diagnosed them with depression or anxiety
  • 34.3 per cent of women reported that they didn’t get time to themselves on a weekly basis
  • 70.3 per cent reported doing at least two hours of exercise per week
  • 50.8 per cent described themselves as overweight or obese

Personally, I have found my anxiety levels rising recently, and I’ve struggled to find time for myself. Only last month did I manage to carve out two hours of my week to resume dance classes – and I haven’t yet been able to participate in these to the best of my ability due to constant colds and bouts of laryngitis.

This lack of immunity could be due to doing too much – but the truth is, relaxation doesn’t come naturally to me.

Time is the biggest barrier

As quoted by Jean Hailes for Women’s Health director Janet Michelmore to the ABC News“Women are trying to do too much or they think they’re expected to do so much.”

And this describes me 100%. I was just saying to a male friend the other day that I am a product of the feminist generations before me. I can now work and run a business – yet I still want to raise a family and be present with my kids. I’m stuck in this position of wanting it all – but struggling to find that balance. And even when I DO feel like I’ve got the balance right between work and family – I then realise that I’ve left myself only scraps of time here and there to do anything for me.

“I think women are great supporters and great nudgers of other people, and what we hope this survey will do and what Women’s Health Week will do is give women a gentle but firm nudge to take greater care of themselves,” continues Ms Michelmore.

“Take time to put yourself first, make sure you know about your health, know what the risks are and in fact appreciate that small changes have big rewards.”

After this holiday, I’m determined to schedule more regular intervals for timeout. I’m putting it out there so you can all keep me accountable!

What do you do to take care of yourself? I’d love to hear about it!

Keep on writing,

Leanne