BWS! What is that? You may well ask. BWS or ‘Busy Women Syndrome’ is the blight of the modern woman everywhere.
It is heaped with lashings guilt, a dash of shame and its never ending. Anyway you look at it, BWS is BS because it is a mindset not a reality. Lets take a look.
Are you one of those women who feels guilty sitting down for 10min in the day to simply re-group and just BE; read a magazine or just take a load off for a moment?
How many of us wear our ‘busy ’ like a badge of honour to give meaning and value to our lives? Pressured by what we see in the press and on social media (cue: ‘the-oh-so- puuurfect-world-of-instagram’) to fill every waking moment with rushing around and being seen.
The message is loud and clear; If you are frantically busy and female (a Mother, Single or Attached) you have more value and are more meaningful when you are rushing around 24/7, bustling from one appointment or ‘important’ meeting to the next. There is an insidiously competitive element that permeates this behaviour, fuelled by social media.
NEWSFLASH LADIES: Its making us fat and sick!
Here’s what happens in the body when we’re hustling and rushing 24/7. Let’s imagine the following story:
You get up in the morning, skip breakfast (no time), drink 2 mugs of coffee “for energy” (or eat some processed breakfast cereal), and rush out the door.
At this point, here’s what happens:
- your blood pressure increase (the coffee),
- your blood sugar skyrockets (the coffee and/or the cereal/toast).
- insulin is released, and will do a good job of storing excess glucose as body fat.
- That’s #fat-gain-situation-number-1-of-the-day.
After a few hours, you feel you can’t concentrate on your work anymore, your blood sugar has plummeted, and I bet it’s 10.30am (hello, mid-morning hunger pang!).
It’s time for a break; coffee (again), maybe a muffin? You have a big day ahead with lots of work and you need energy.
- That’s #fat-gain-situation-number-2-of-the-day.
Back to work now. By 12:30pm your blood sugar has plummeted again and you need to eat your lunch. You haven’t gotten much done so far, you feel stressed and pressured, and you can’t be lingering here after 5pm because you need to pick up the kids and fix dinner.
So lunch needs to be quick. A sandwich, a bagel, a quick salad. Eaten at your desk in 10 minutes. And now you want something sweet…chocolate? A cookie?
- That’s #fat-gain-situation-number-3-of-the-day.
By now you may be feeling like you’ve been eating and sitting at your desk all day long. Your stomach is bloated, you feel fat and you feel guilty. You won’t be able to go to the gym today because there’s this project that needs your attention.
And by 3pm, your blood sugar has plummeted again and you feel like taking a nap. Your body is asking you for sugar. You eat some bread or high-carb food and here we go… you feel guilty, again.
- That’s #fat-gain-situation-number-4-of-the-day.
Guilt makes you feel stressed, and your body makes the hormone cortisol when it feels stressed.
Cortisol is your long-term stress hormone, unlike adrenalin, which is our short-term stress hormone. Cortisol also makes your body store fat through dysregulating your metabolism.
Note: that’s why coffee + bread/sugar/cereal is the perfect cocktail for gaining fat.
And your day goes on. This is Busy Woman Syndrome.
Stress, poor food choices, lack of mindfulness and an elevated nervous system creates an environment of too much adrenalin, cortisol and insulin, that leads to a fat-storage, self loathing, guilt and long term emotional and physical pain.
This disease of being “busy” (and let’s call it what it is, the dis-ease of being busy, when we are never at ease) is spiritually destructive to our health and wellbeing. It saps our ability to be fully present with those we love the most in our families, and keeps us from forming the kind of community that we all so desperately crave.
Since the 1950s, we have had so many new technological innovations that we thought (or were promised) would make our lives easier, faster, simpler. Yet, we have no more “free” or leisurely time today than we did decades ago.
For some of us, the “privileged” ones, the lines between work and home have become blurred. We are on our devices. All. The. Freaking. Time. Smart phones and laptops mean that there is no division between the office and home. When the kids are in bed, we are back online.
We need a different relationship to work, to technology and to this ‘Im so important and busy in my life please see I’m valuable’ crisis of Self. We know what we want: a meaningful life, a sense of community, a balanced existence. It’s not just about “leaning in” or faster iPhones. We want to be truly human.
“It takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a soldier to fight on a battlefield.”-W.B Yeates
It is time to take an honest look at the image we are trying to portray to the world and what in our own world we are busy running away from. Its time to get present, get quiet and take a more balanced approach to our health, our lifestyle and perhaps eradicate the meaningless noise in favour of what is really important. Only you will truly know what that is and how that presents in your reality.