Do it all, have it all! Every day we are bombarded with messages convincing us that, with a little help from technology, we can take on the world all by our lonesome. The cold, hard truth: It’s not the healthiest way to live. In the name of wellness (and
AFEW WEEKS AGO, THE LITTLE
glass spin plate in our microwave oven suddenly stopped spinning. I headed straight to Google, watched a fourminute YouTube video and – voila! – after a quick trip to Home Depot, it was going in circles again. Not long after, I was having some friends over for dinner and downloaded The New York
Times cooking app just so that I could wow my guests with the silkiest, most Instagram-worthy cherry cheesecake ever to grace a dinner-party dessert plate.
Speaking of going in circles, these days, it’s not enough to pack a nutritious, colour-coordinated kid’s lunch featuring all four food groups or to perfect the most awkward inverted yoga pose ever; you then need to post the triumphant results on Facebook to prove to the world that, yes indeed, mission accomplished.
“Our generation has gotten stuck in a backlash to our mothers’ rejection of the idea of the domestic goddess,” says Katrina Onstad, author of The Weekend Effect: The Life-Changing Benefits of Taking Time Off and Challenging the Cult of Overwork. (She seems to recall that her mother owned an apron with “Screw Housework” scrawled on the front.) Onstad says that the pressure to be amazing at everything – from navigating careers to raising kids to making flawless floral arrangements – really took hold with Martha Stewart and the cult of aspirational domesticity that she inspired. And thanks to social media and the power of Google, it’s showing no signs of abating. “The Internet has amplified the message that you can’t just have it all; you can do it all,” says Onstad.
But all this perfection comes at a price. The Canadian Mental Health Association reports that 58 percent of Canadians feel completely overwhelmed by all their roles and obligations, while Statistics Canada says that women are more likely than men to report that most days are “quite a bit” or “extremely” stressful. (And that’s probably an understatement at best.)
Onstad says that the stress resulting from that drive to do it all has huge implications, from increasing our risk of heart disease to creating a sense of social isolation. “Burnout is real,” she says. And boy, are we burned out. That’s why it’s time to stop, re-evaluate and recognize that, yes, we have a problem. And it doesn’t have to be this way. In just five simple steps, you can re-evaluate your goals, scrap your lengthy to-do lists and get a grip on what matters most to you.