I recently came across the term 'Rushing Woman's Syndrome' in a magazine. After reading the article I did a brief internet search for more information. I also put a hold on the book by the same name through my local library.
The term 'Rushing Woman's Syndrome' was coined by Dr Libby Weaver, an Australian nutritional biochemist. In 2012 she wrote the book by the same name. Dr Weaver said she was noticing an increasing number of women who consulted her were rushing all the time to get things done and were attempting to 'be all things to all people'. This was having detrimental effects on their health and Dr Weaver identified a link between this high and ongoing level of stress and problems with menstruation, infertility and menopause.
Many of Dr Weaver's female patients spoke of being 'tired but wired'. When people are under pressure they produce stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones are intended to provide a short term boost of energy for dealing with the threat or problem. When stress is ongoing, the parasympathetic nervous system does not get the chance to return the body to what should be its 'normal' state where it can rest and repair itself.
Being under ongoing stress can lead to additional problems including sleep deprivation, sugar cravings, weight management difficulties, indigestion, mood swings and impatience.
Sometimes women under pressure turn to alcohol, illegal drugs, large amounts of coffee or greater than recommended doses of prescription drugs to help them get by. These things cause further disruption to body processes.
Many women today are in paid employment and may be working long hours. They are often doing the bulk of the housework and child rearing. In some households a partner/spouse will be sharing these roles but the woman may feel guilty about this as she still holds traditional views and sees these as roles to be carried out by the woman. Sometimes women are critical of the way men perform child rearing or housework tasks and this can cause friction and further stress.
There are many single parent families with the mother in paid employment and doing all the housework and child care. She may have additional responsibilities or be the one members of her extended family turn to in times of trouble.
Some women are also caring for parents or other family members who are aging or have a disability. It is not unusual for a woman to have a big role in caring for grandchildren while their mother is at work or because the mother has health issues. There are those who have multiple caring roles which may involve people of different generations. It is not surprising women in these situations are always rushing and stressed.
On top of these factors, Dr Weaver thinks some women are constantly rushing to do it all because they feel they are not good enough and don't want to be criticised. They feel a need to serve others to earn their love and admiration.
I wonder if some women succumb to the pressure of trying 'to have it all' as portrayed in magazines and other media. A woman is no longer considered 'fulfilled' if she is a stay at home mum or family carer, even if that is what she actually wants to do. In addition, there can be immense financial pressures.
It is not surprising the health of many women is suffering as a result of modern lifestyles. I will discuss some of the suggestions Dr Weaver makes for dealing with this 21st century syndrome in Part 2.