Do You Have Rushing Woman’s Syndrome?

How often do you feel that your day moves from one urgent task to another? Regardless of circumstances – whether it’s full-time work, parenting, caregiving, studying, running a household, or a combination of these – most people schedule their days to the max, trying to squeeze it all in.

We know we’re busy, we know it might be helpful to slow down, and we convince ourselves if we can just get ‘one more thing’ done, life will feel more manageable. One more email, one more deadline met, one more drop-off, one more party, one more ‘yes, when we mean no’, one more project. One more thing. 

A decade ago, I wrote a book called Rushing: Woman’s Syndrome (which is only a book title, not an actual medical diagnosis) about a trending escalation of women’s health challenges due to the momentous increase in the pace of everyday living. Ten years on and the rush now seems to be accepted, expected almost. We are entirely capable, of course. Yet what I encourage you to deeply appreciate, is that we have never before in the history of our species, asked our bodies to live like this. And some bodies are rebelling with a host of symptoms in response to what’s being asked of them – a way of life that for too many is driven by the constant, relentless production of stress hormones.

While some items on the to-do list will have a genuine deadline, most of what we set ourself to do in a day is based on what we perceive we ‘should’ be achieving or what we think will help others to see us in a favourable light, although that can initially feel untrue or a little confronting. The truth is, it is possible to live a full and busy life without the rush AND it is possible to choose a slower pace if that feels better for your health and your lifestyle, which is something I help women get to the heart of in my online course Overcoming Rushing Woman’s Syndrome. 

If you’re in the grips of the rush or if the pace at which you are living is not working for you, your body will be signalling to you that it desires change. Here are five signs that might be familiar to you. 

1. You feel tired yet wired, more often than not. 

Are you constantly one step ahead or behind yourself at any given moment, always feeling a bit frantic, with thoughts that race and jump from task to task? Maybe coffee is your best friend, and you feel like you ‘need’ it before your brain will function properly. The adrenaline that each cup you drink produces can make everything feel urgent. In reality, only two of your 200 tasks might require your prompt attention, yet you zoom through your day feeling like there aren’t enough hours. By the time you sit down at the end of the day (if you allow yourself to), you feel fatigued but also wired from the busy day. You may want alcohol to help you wind down. 

2. Sleep is either a struggle to achieve or restless. 

Anxiousness and stress (along with caffeine), and the consequent stress hormones they foster, can greatly impact on your body’s ability to fall into a deep restful sleep. Your body thinks it is doing you a big favour by preventing restorative sleep. The biochemistry of the rush means that your body perceives you are in perpetual physical danger. You aren’t, of course, but your body doesn’t know the difference between what you believe to be true and what is actually true and so it keeps you in a semi-alert state through the night to keep you safe. 

3. You’re afraid of letting anyone down. 

A rushing woman tries to be all things to all people, puts herself at the bottom of her own priority list and has a hard time saying ‘no’. She does this because she cares deeply. Yet, if she were to pause and reflect on what is truly driving it, she would see it is also because she has tied her worth to a sense of being ‘needed’. Deep down (buried far beneath her conscious thoughts), she worries that, if she were to stop being the kind, competent, caring woman who goes out of her way to help the people in her life, they will stop loving her.  

4. You laugh less than you used to. 

Who has time for the things that bring them joy? A rushing woman feels the weight of responsibility, duty and achievement pressing heavily on her shoulders. She can’t relax until she gets everything done and it’s never all ‘done’. She may feel as though she has lost touch with what brings her joy although it’s more likely that she’s simply lost sight of the fact that joy comes from allowing herself to have what she already has instead of always looking ahead and reaching for what’s next.

5. Your body is asking you to listen to it.

Our bodies don’t have a voice and so they communicate to us via symptoms to let us know what isn’t working. This starts off as a whisper and gets louder unless we make changes. A rushing woman’s body may be quietly nudging or blaring symptoms to get her attention, depending on where she is in her journey. This could be anything from IBS, bloating or other digestive complaints to recurring headaches, monthly menstrual challenges or a rocky transition through menopause, thyroid symptoms (sometimes despite normal blood test results), anxiousness, sleep struggles, unexplained weight gain, persistent fatigue or brain fog. We’ve come to accept that poor energy, niggling symptoms and irritated or anxious head spaces are just part of modern living. They’re not. And you have a choice. 

If something in your heart is calling to you to make a change, start by asking yourself: how do I want to live? Then start taking steps – large or small – towards that. If this way of living resonates with you, I encourage you to join my Overcoming Rushing Woman’s Syndrome course where I guide you through the true impact of the rush – so you better understand your unique body – as well as offer you practical steps to overcome it for good. 

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