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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. Women in leadership have a lot piling up.

Do you ever lie awake at night because your mind won’t shut down from thinking about all you have to do?

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

If you answered “yes” to these questions, you are in the boat with many other women. Unfortunately, this 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.

“Unfortunately, many of them are not handling the stress well. They find themselves depressed, feeling anxious, unable to quiet their mind and in general, miserable. In order to cope or dull the pain they use substances, food, obsessive focus on their body or simply withdraw from life, all of which interferes with the quality of their life.”

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 three tips you might find helpful:

  • Take five minutes to just breathe. Taking slow, deep breaths can be very calming.
  • 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.
  • Take a technology break and go for a short, brisk walk. Just getting out in the fresh air can make a huge difference in your ability to tackle a problem.

“This is a huge issue for women in leadership to tackle,” says Meg Brasel, a nurse midwife. “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 is to give women tools to help them thrive at home and in the workplace.”

Image from Unsplash.com

8 Ways to Manage Family Time

These tips can help you consider what's best for your family.

The beginning of the school year, for some, actually feels more like a new year. Families are getting acquainted with new schools, new teachers and new schedules, not to mention a buffet line of new opportunities for extracurricular activities. If parents aren’t careful, they will have kids involved in three different activities, going in opposite directions. As a result, learning to manage family time is now even harder.

How many times have you found yourself grabbing the kids from school, running by a fast-food place for dinner and heading out to practice with one child trying to finish homework in the car and the other throwing on their practice clothes? Many parents have resigned themselves to believing this is life as we know it and the goal is to survive.

Before your family life becomes a runaway train, consider what is best for your family when it comes to afterschool activities and the amount of time you spend together. Many loud voices will tell you all the things your child needs to participate in for future success. Certainly, extracurricular activities can make your child’s life richer, but they can also create additional stress and anxiety for the entire family.

When you rarely sit down for a meal together or have the opportunity to connect, relationships can suffer. Plus, trying to keep up can be exhausting. So, how much is too much?

Here are some suggestions from kidshealth.org to help you manage activities and family connectedness:

  • Set ground rules ahead of time. Plan on kids playing one sport per season or limit activities to two afternoons or evenings during the school week.
  • Know how much time things require. Does your child realize soccer practice is twice a week or more, right after school? Then there’s the weekly game. Will homework suffer?
  • Set priorities. School comes first. If kids have a hard time keeping up academically, they may need to drop an activity.
  • Know when to say no. If your child is already active but really wants to take on another activity, discuss what needs to be dropped to make room for something new.
  • Stay organized with a calendarDisplay it on the refrigerator so everybody can stay up-to-date. And if you find an empty space on the calendar, leave it alone! Everyone needs a chance to just do nothing.
  • Even if kids sign up for the season, let them miss one or two sessions. Sometimes hanging out on a beautiful day is more important than going to one more activity, even if you’ve already paid for it.
  • Try to balance activities for all of your kids — and yourself. It hardly seems fair to expend time and energy carting one kid to activities, leaving little time for another. Take time for yourself and spend time together as a family.
  • Create family moments. Plan a few dinners when everyone can be home at the same time.

As a parent, when you manage family time, it’s a precious commodity. And your children will grow up in the blink of an eye. Plan now to set your family priorities, avoid unnecessary activities and be intentional about spending time together as a family.