After many years as a counselor and coach working mostly with women, I’m convinced there’s a direct link between time scarcity and anxiety.
I’ve seen it get worse over the years. I’ve talked with hundreds of women who feel overwhelmed by multiple roles and responsibilities. And I’ve been in the grips of it myself.
Too often women feel like they’re consuming a cocktail blended from time scarcity and anxiety.
Hardly a week goes by without one of my clients talking about it. Maybe you’ve felt it too…
- You try to stay on top of things by mentally rehearsing your seemingly endless to-do list.
- The tape runs continuously in your head, sometimes without you being aware of it.
- You feel constant worry and almost dread that you’re not going to be able to keep up.
- There’s limited satisfaction in finishing because there’s always something else to do.
- The emotional and physical exhaustion that goes along with it is overwhelming.
Here’s what I want you to know: It’s not an illusion.
You didn’t bring on the time scarcity and anxiety paradigm because you’re not doing enough. Or because your mindset is wrong. Or your coping skills are flawed.
While it’s true that women are twice as likely as men to experience anxiety, time scarcity is probably a very real player in that. In fact, there’s more and more evidence to suggest that time scarcity increases anxiety, stress and worry, and affects overall well-being.
It’s a complicated subject with a lot of moving parts, more than I can explore here. But if you’d like to dive deeper, skip on down to the bottom of the page for a list of topics you can google. Or read this article.
Personally, I’m trying to peel away the layers.
Because most women have another feeling somewhere underneath the anxiety about time scarcity. Not surprisingly, it’s a deep feeling of yearning.
Yearning for more time, especially time for themselves.
Time to renew, enjoy a hobby, be with people they care about, do something fun. Or simply escape for awhile.
I know quite a few wise women who are trying to shift this.
These women have made a commitment to shift the paradigm of time scarcity and anxiety in their lives.
And they’ve seen that their efforts to take back some of their time have not only lessened their worries and anxiety, but also opened them up to new insights and feelings of ease and contentment.
So I’ve been calling in their wisdom about this. Because we could all use some empowerment here, right?
Nine Lessons From Wise Women: Unhooking From Time Scarcity and Anxiety
- Ask for help. Sometimes, you have to insist on it. Because at this point, tons of research shows that many women are still responsible for much of the burden of “home” work.
- Define success on your own terms, not by what society or family tells you about how you should live your life.
- Cut yourself slack in the doing of maintenance tasks. Pull back from comparing your life to an unreachable standard of perfection.
- Boldly take time for yourself, rather than trying to find time or make time (which is pretty much impossible these days). Do this even though you may feel some guilt and others may judge you for it.
- Implement some structure, planning and organization into your life, but not obsessively so. Learn to creatively batch things things together to get them done faster and with less stress.
- Plan ahead for your leisure time and fun time too. Reap the rewards that joyful anticipation of future events brings: more happiness in the now.
- Give time to people and things you care about. That could mean anything from cooking a special meal for a loved one to volunteering for a cause you believe in. (Ironically, studies show that giving time in this way actually brings on feelings of “time affluence.”)
- Work on being in the present and limit multitasking. Really look into people’s eyes. Make sure the phone doesn’t come out in the restaurant. Stop taking work to your kids’ soccer games.
- And finally, make an effort to say “no” more often.
What wisdom can you take from this?
What one thing feels right for you? Whatever it is, that’s the very best place to start.
Want to know more about this topic? Google any of these phrases: emotional labor, time famine, busy trap, gender role expectations, hurry sickness, leisure deficit, time affluence, anxiety and technology.
Managing anxiety associated with obligatory chores is emotional labor. –Arlie Hochschild
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