It is often said these days that people are more stressed because we’re working longer hours, have 2 parents working, more single parent families, etc, etc. This despite all those labour saving devices. Well as I ‘forgot’ to floss my teeth one evening and the pangs of guilt set in (I could hear the tut of the hygienist) I thought about what my day might be like if I did all the things I’m ‘supposed’ to do. In no particular order these might be:
- Hygiene – brushing/flossing teeth, shower, hair, etc
- Eating – shopping for food, cooking decent food and eating slowly
- Sleep – getting a good 6-8 hours a night
- Relationships – spending quality time with family and friends
- Exercise – at least 3x week for an hour
- Self care – yoga/meditation/relaxation time
- Domestic duties – shopping, cleaning, laundry, garden, maintenance, bills, etc.
- Working – plus commute to work
I don’t even have children and I’ve sometimes wondered how to fit everything in. In my manic moments I’ve found myself trying to make dinner, wash up and hang up the washing all at the same time. And then of course I realise I’m not superhuman as something goes wrong and I end up taking longer than if I’d just concentrated on one thing at a time.
I’m guessing that we place more expectations on ourselves than used to be the case (although I don’t know anyone who lived in the C19th so I could easily be wrong here). Through a greater knowledge of how other people live their lives, as we know more about what’s important for our health, as parents worry about the best way to bring up children, and as tv programmes and advertising promote certain idyllic lifestyles (e.g. cookery and home programmes), we find ourselves thinking ‘I should/have to do that.’ No surprise that people feel anxious, stressed, disappointed, left out and angry about the unfairness of it all. And to compensate we want things that make us feel good, like chocolate, a bottle of wine, meals out, nice holidays, nice clothes… After all, what are we working so hard for?
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Email: alison @ growinginsights.co.uk
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