Imagine the scene if you will…. Its a quiet Wednesday afternoon and having decided to follow our own guidance on making time for R&R have taken myself off to my local spa for a spot of pampering. As I sat sipping my green mint tea flicking through the pages of a glossy magazine a headline caught my eye. “What Successful Women Are Doing Every Day”. I had a feeling that number one on the list wasn’t going to be read magazines and drink tea, but as a business owner I was intrigued to read on. Perhaps I would discover some hither too unknown wisdom that would help and inspire me to take The Body Retreat to the next level.
Despite the glossy pictures and enticing stories of being whisked around central London on the back of a motorbike, having a PA to book last minute flights to NYC, the glamour of the gorgeous clothes they wore and the effortless style with which they wore them….. there was a dark undercurrent that gave me a chill even wrapped up in my fluffy towelling robe.
The Dark Side of Success For Women
You see I recognised the tales of the long hours (obligatory if you want to get to the top and stay there), the climate of always being “on” (checking emails at every opportunity and making time at midnight to play catch up on the non urgent stuff) the cold hard reality of running on your adrenaline to keep up (if you stop it takes far too much energy to get momentum again).
The successful women being shadowed for a day in this article where also mothers, wives, daughters, sisters and friends…. but there was only a cursory mention of the successful multitasking of watching breakfast news in bed with hubby before sharing a car ride to school with the children. Otherwise the full day was all work. I was disappointed as I was hoping that in 2015 there would be something more of” life” in these successful women’s work/life equation.
Ive deliberately not used the term work life balance here as I feel that it is such an over worked phrase. What we are really looking at are work life choices. Many women will cry out that they have no choice but to work every hour that they can, in these precarious times when job security is low and the cost of living is high the pressure is on to keep afloat. There is no denying that. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a choice.
Do You Know How She Does It?
Do you remember the comedy “I don’t know how she does it” back in 2011.
The main character had become a victim of not making choices about her work life equation. A Wife, Mother and Business Woman she found herself buffeted and bruised by guilt, shame, ill health, lack of sleep, lack of sex until eventually it wears her down. Oh how we laughed at the tails and tribulations of her day to day life. Except that for many women this is a tale that is dangerously close to the mark.
There is a growing body of evidence that prioritising work over everything else is bad for your health both mentally and psychically. More and more women are being diagnosed with health conditions ranging from anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, pre-diabetes……every year the list seems to grow longer as the impact that negative stress has on health becomes clearer.
Whats R&R Got To Do With It?
The Body Retreat is built on 4 Pillars of Wellbeing, namely Behaviour, Nutrition, Exercise and R & R. Every week on retreat we discuss with our ladies the importance of balance across all four areas for their lives. The area that is always at the bottom of the list for them is R & R. Taking time out to rebalance, to have a massage, take a yoga class, read a good book in the bath…all of these actives are on the wish list but somehow never make it to the top of the priorities list for many busy women.
Most women are vey good at putting everyone and everything else higher up the priorities list than their own health and wellbeing, the women in the article certainly seemed to.
Its a little sad that roles models for what female business success looks like are still these “super women” who put life and health at the bottom of the priority list.
Thankfully the tide seems to be turning. Just last year Ariana Huffington published her book Thrive and has been championing sleep as a vitally important part of the health equation. Likewise at The Body Retreat we are seeing a shift in what women want from retreat and our Stress Reset Retreat is increasing in popularity. We are advocates that all women should be including R&R in their lives not as a matter of “nice to have” but rather prioritise it as “Need To Have”. Making time for themselves to rebalance and recuperate and in so doing make them stronger and healthier for life and buisness.
I know from personal experience that when you don’t have your health you don’t have anything. So I for one shall continue to make time to enjoy the occasional spa day without guilt of the spectre of the super business women who is jetting off building her super empire while I lounge and sip my tea. We all have to make and own our choices…I’m happy with mine.
What about you? Where does R&R come on your list?
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