OF GRAVE CON­CERN

A NEW BOOK LOOKS AT VAR­I­OUS ROLES MOD­ERN WOMEN TRY TO JUG­GLE AND PON­DERS WHETHER OUR DE­SIRE TO ‘DO IT ALL’ IS SLOWLY KILLING US

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | ADVICE - WORDS: JAN­ICE JOHANESEN

WORK dead­lines, school pick-ups, home­work, din­ner, af­ter-school ac­tiv­i­ties, fam­ily is­sues... is it all too much?

Are Aus­tralian women work­ing be­yond what should be re­quired of them?

Once upon a time, it was con­sid­ered nor­mal for women to stay at home and care for the chil­dren.

Now it’s con­sid­ered a priv­i­lege.

Women now have the op­por­tu­nity to work in their dream jobs and are em­pow­ered to use their skills.

How­ever, this doesn’t mean that their do­mes­tic du­ties have dwin­dled.

Women sim­ply per­form an amaz­ing jug­gling act: han­dling work pres­sures, run­ning the home, and car­ing for fam­ily and friends.

But it does raise the ques­tion: are mod­ern women work­ing their way to an early grave?

Stress-man­aga­ment ex­pert and per­for­mance coach Laura Pic­cardi has re­leased her new book Un­faked – Life Is So Much Eas­ier When You Just Show Up.

The book is based on her own ex­pe­ri­ences as a work­ing woman.

She said she had ex­pe­ri­enced first-hand the ef­fects that a driven mind­set and lifestyle could have on the body.

“I’d worked my butt off for years to reach my ca­reer and busi­ness goals, think­ing I’d be happy when I achieved them,” she said.

“But in re­al­ity, I was ex­hausted, un­healthy and ex­tremely un­happy.”

It took a cat­alytic life event to change Laura’s life.

Af­ter that, she said she learned to change her mind­set and calm her body down from within.

When she started a coach­ing busi­ness, she re­alised many peo­ple were go­ing through the same thing.

Her book is based on a fic­tional char­ac­ter, ‘Deb’, who strug­gles with is­sues such as im­poster syn­drome (lack of self-be­lief and con­fi­dence), per­fec­tion­ism, weight-loss strug­gles, bloat­ing, anx­i­ety, fa­tigue and re­la­tion­ship chal­lenges.

Re­search shows that work­ing women of­ten try to main­tain an un­re­al­is­tic im­age of be­ing a ‘su­per­woman’ when they are ac­tu­ally ex­hausted and not re­ally cop­ing.

Sun­shine Coast Busi­ness Coun­cil chair­woman Sandy Zubrinich agrees, but only to a point. She said she thought mod­ern life was de­mand­ing on all parts of life – and not just for women.

“It’s more com­plex for women be­cause they seem to have the pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­ity of jug­gling re­la­tion­ships with their ca­reer, their health and the home,” she said.

“Whether it’s so­ci­ety or women are choos­ing to do it – are women able to re­lin­quish some of this role, or is it so in­grained that they still keep do­ing it?”

Sandy said em­ploy­ees were now more ac­ces­si­ble through tech­nol­ogy, and it could be that this com­mu­ni­ca­tion ac­ces­si­bil­ity had taken over our lives.

“It’s im­por­tant that we let our em­ploy­ers know we are not ac­ces­si­ble out­side of work times,” she said.

Healthdi­rect Aus­tralia re­ports workre­lated stress not only im­pacts fam­ily life, but also is re­lated to heart dis­ease, obe­sity and other life-re­lated ill­nesses.

Stud­ies have found women place fam­ily needs and job re­spon­si­bil­ity first, be­fore their own health.

That leads to a lack of ex­er­cise, poor eat­ing habits and con­sum­ing al­co­hol to cope with stress.

Univer­sity of the Sun­shine Coast lec­turer in psy­chol­ogy Pru­dence Mil­lear said peo­ple had al­ways been busy and that was not a new phe­nom­e­non.

How­ever, Dr Mil­lear said women needed to think about how they bal­anced all their roles.

“A study a few years ago showed that it comes to about the same amount of time worked for women and men,” she said.

“Both are busy, but they do dif­fer­ent things.”

Dr Mil­lear said it was mainly women who had chil­dren un­der the age of 14 who were un­der the pump with work and home re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

“You can say this is ter­ri­ble, but you can stream­line things and try to be more or­gan­ised,” she said.

“Let hus­bands and chil­dren help around the home.”

Dr Mil­lear said women tended to be ma­ter­nal gate­keep­ers, be­cause they felt other peo­ple could not do the job well enough.

“It’s a real strug­gle to let go of how we would like things done,” she said.

“Cel­e­brate your part­ner’s or chil­dren’s ef­forts.

“Through ex­pe­ri­ence, they’ll get much bet­ter at it.

“You’re not a bad mother or women if you share the load.”

PHOTO: POIKE

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.