The alarm sounds loudly at 4am, you move your hand around, eyes shut, blindly searching for your phone. You are not ready to face the day. How did morning come so quickly? You finally locate your phone.
It is 4:30am now and your alarm sounds again. You drag yourself out of bed this time and head to the kitchen to prepare breakfast and packed lunches. You wake the kid(s) and settle down to breakfast. Eat. Sip your coffee.
You get into the shower. Peace. It’s your time. The few moments in the day when it’s just you, warm water washing away everything else. Then you rush to get dressed, get the kid(s) ready, grab all your stuff, shove the kid(s) into the car and tolerate the crazy morning traffic for the school drop-off. Traffic is slow and you have to endure the Disney Clubhouse soundtrack through it all. Finally your kid(s) is/are at school and its traffic again, only this time you are able to turn up the volume and Lemonade through the traffic. Thank you Beyoncé!
You get to work a few minutes late and dash inside to stomach your boring nine to five. After work you suffer through peak-hour traffic and arrive home to collapse on the couch before… “Mommy, mommy!”
Women are built to be super-human. Or at least that is what we are led to believe. Somehow we have to juggle a million tasks a day and do so impeccably or be left feeling like a failure. Be the best Mother, employee, wife, friend, the list goes on. Never say no. Always say yes, and add more to your already busy schedule. Never complain, always bite your tongue, and smile. Please don’t forget to smile. Look good and socialize – be healthy, smart, kind and put everyone before yourself – while finding time for yourself too. “It’s all about finding the balance,” they say.
Perhaps you would fall apart or die of boredom if you were less busy? But, maybe you wouldn’t. Maybe you would enjoy the free time. Find time to paint, finish the book you started months ago, meet up with your equally busy and exhausted friends… Sleep.
This is written for every tired woman. For every woman who stretches herself thin and still looks good doing it… And, even the ones who do not – those who look exhausted and in need of a holiday (like me). You are strong, you are beautiful, you are admired, you are greatly impacting the lives of many and I salute you.
I sent a survey around and got a few (five) responses (not many women have the time for surveys). But, as tiny as the sample group was, I immediately realised I was not alone in the craziness and that other women felt equally overwhelmed while trying to hold it all together. So, I decided that instead of focusing on the responses (come on – you can guess them), I thought it would be more valuable to provide some tips… Things which work for me (tried and tested) or which I imagine would work (I read and reflect a lot).
Liesl’s Tips for Being a Woman (and remaining sane doing it):
1) Get Enough Sleep (approximately 7 or 8 hours per night)
I know this isn’t always feasible as some women work more than one job or have a newborn that interrupts their sleep but, try and get as much sleep as you can. I have been struggling to sleep as my mind is busiest at night but, I implemented guided meditations before bed and have found it quiets my mind and allows me to sleep a lot better. Find what works for you but, sleep is crucial.
2) Do You (at least once a week)
It isn’t easy to find time for yourself but try and do at least one activity for yourself per week – that’s not selfish at all. Whether it’s a yoga or dance class, a weekly coffee date with a friend, a book club – anything you enjoy, which gives you time away from everything else.
3) Get Organized
Google calendar is life. Or a diary/planner – old school works too. I am most stressed when I remember something at the last minute or have to rush because I procrastinated. When everything is visible, clear and you have constant reminders about what is happening when, it brings calm to the storm.
4) Look Good
When you look good, you feel good. You may be rushed, but look after yourself and your appearance – that unexpected compliment may be just what you need on a crazy day.
5) Say “No”
It may come as a shock to some but, you are allowed to say no. If you are too busy, or you will not be able to manage, be honest with yourself and the other person. You can’t take on the world – you are only one woman. Be realistic about what you are able to do and do that well rather than taking on too much and giving less than your best.
None of these tips are very profound and I am pretty sure you have heard it all before but, hopefully this serves as a reminder that even super-woman needs to put herself first every now and then.
P.S. Please pass these very "original" tips on to every super woman you know.
CONTRIBUTING FROM WESTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA