Is there such a thing as having it all?

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Dr Linda Friedland In The Media

As we get into the swing of the party season and upcoming festivities, our social calendars get busier, family and friend commitments explode, work is chaotic too with the end of the year approaching, and “you” time is getting less and less, maybe even non-existent.

The reality of “having it all”, as we have come to know it, is utterly exhausting, according to women’s wellness expert Dr Linda Friedland.

“We have prided ourselves in our capacity to do it all; raise a family, build a thriving career, maintain relationships and stay on top of it all. The reality is that something always gets sacrificed. It is neither work nor the children, but rather our energy that takes the brunt.”

“In truth, for most of us ‘having it all’ is not a philosophical debate because the majority of women who choose to have a family, most certainly need to work at the same time. 

“We should be asking another type of question entirely: ‘How can we possibly do it differently?’. It is not necessarily the combination of work commitments and family responsibilities that depletes us. It may be lack of flexibility in our work environment, insufficient childcare options and myriad other issues. But mostly it is the self-imposed unrealistic standards we set for ourselves that get in the way of achieving peace of mind.

Here are five tips to get on top of it

The reason we feel so frustrated much of the time is that the balance we are pursuing just doesn’t exist. So long as we are chasing an unattainable goal, there is no hope of getting close. What does work-life balance even mean? There is almost always more work, than family time or me-time. The prudence is in being super disciplined in establishing strong and effective lifestyle strategies and sufficient recovery time.

Working hard is essential, however, the need to persistently prove yourself and go beyond the call of duty is not. These common characteristics of executive women are both unnecessary and the classic cause of much of the burnout and breakdown experienced. Your time outside of the office should be spent on you and the people you care about. And don’t hesitate in asking for help either.

“Put your hand up and be bold and be courageous. Be prepared to back yourself, be prepared to have a go,” says Gail Kelly Is there such a thing as having it all? to women in Australia as one of her Seven Lessons for Life farewell speech when she retired as CEO of Westpac earlier this year. As women our lack of self -belief and the constant “self speak” of not being good enough is what may obstruct our path and exhaust us.

There is an antidote to fatigue and its impact on performance and competence. Not surprisingly, it’s rest. Get up from your desk and stretch your muscles. Take a short walk. The simplest way to recharge energy is by breathing, and learn to practice mindfulness and meditation.

In “having it all” neither work nor family are generally sacrificed, but rather your own needs. Ensure you structure some time for yourself to defuse your stress and recharge your energy, such as a regular massage. Keep well hydrated, exercise moderately and eat the most nourishing foods. Develop a healthy sleep strategy too.

This article was first published on Get It Magazine November Issue

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