The historic health care bill that is now on its way to the Senate is like one hand clapping. It does not tackle some of the key questions that we all need to ask ourselves concerning health and wellness.
Women, in key roles both at home and at work, make vital policy decisions about how time and energy are best used. One question that comes up over and over in our “Total Leadership Connections” program concerns the frustration of not enough time and ultimately leads to issues around burnout and what to do about it.
While health care reform can hopefully make it better to get what we need from our physicians, hospitals and insurers, we need a clear vision about what it means to be and stay healthy. There is an interesting article in Fast Company (March 22) that shows how technology can help us in this area.
However, what we really need to think about and to take the lead with, concerns stress and life style. We all need to “practice safe stress”. We women are great at multi-tasking. We can clean a baby’s bottom, get lunch boxes packed, write memos to our team, and have the car serviced without giving it all much thought.
However, when it comes to taking time for a quiet moment, a walk in the woods, a non-essential chat with a friend, even just window shopping, most of us fall short. There is a tendency to put off self care till, well till that tomorrow that rarely comes.
There are behavior patterns that we have all inherited from our families or the culture we were born into that are deeply programmed parts of our lives. The ‘pleaser’ pattern is one that causes many of us to put off our own wants and needs till another day. Learning to say ‘no’ works. Then there are those of us who are ‘martyrs’ and take on everyone else’s problems with a yearning to make them happy, at our own expense.
‘Pleasers’ who learn to practice safe stress become ‘truth tellers’. They are no longer willing to say ‘yes’ to be popular. ‘Martyrs’ who transform their behavior become integrators who can get whole teams (or their family) to share the load so everyone can have a part in helping take that very heavy rock to the top of the hill.
Health care at its core means doing what we can all do to make our lives as balanced as possible; we need to find the healthy stress zone where many of the ailments of our weary world can be eliminated. Then health care can be for the most serious illnesses and we can all say ‘no’ to excessive tension and anxiety.