published Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Baumgardner: Trying to tackle everything at once

By Julie Baumgardner

Work, carpool, laundry, grocery shopping, menu planning, PTA meeting, dinner with the in-laws, school festival, clean the house … the list of things that need time and attention seems endless.

Do you ever find yourself lying awake at night because your mind won’t shut down from thinking about what has to be done tomorrow?

Have you ever felt that trying to keep everything in your life together is like trying to hold a beach ball underwater and, if you let go, things are going to explode?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, the good news is: You are in the boat with a lot of other women. The bad news is: It isn’t a healthy place to be.

“I am seeing more and more women in my office who are experiencing stress at work and at home, relationship issues, peer pressure and a battle in their own mind about what it means to be healthy,” says psychologist Jan Sherbak.

When one area of life is out of balance, it impacts other areas such as physical and spiritual health.

“In spite of feeling like things are out of our control, the truth is there really is a lot women can do to feel more in control of their lives,” says counselor Jessica Jollie, owner of Yoga Landing. “Studies show that, when we exercise and have quiet time, whether it’s meditation or prayer, it impacts how we feel physically and how we respond mentally to all that we encounter throughout the day.”

If your life feels like it is reeling out of control, here are a few tips you might find helpful:

n Take five minutes to just breathe. Taking slow deep breaths can be very calming.

n Instead of leaving your “to do” list whirling around in your mind, write it down. Some women have a pad of paper on their nightstand so they can write down something that comes to them in the middle of the night instead of fretting about forgetting it by morning.

n Take a technology break and go for a short, brisk walk. Getting out in the fresh air can make a huge difference in your attitude.

If you are interested in learning more about balancing mind, body and spirit, consider coming to the Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute’s next luncheon on Oct. 9, when panelists Sherbak, Jollie and Dr. Vonda Ware will focus on this topic.

“This is a huge issue for women to tackle,” says Meg Brasel, nurse midwife and moderator of the panel discussion. “I see so much of this in my practice – women not thriving because they are overwhelmed. This doesn’t just impact the woman, it impacts everybody around her. Our goal at the luncheon is to give women tools to help them thrive at home and in the workplace.”

For more information about the luncheon, visit cwli.org.

Julie Baumgardner is president and CEO of First Things First. Contact her at julieb@firstthings.org.

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