From the play, Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare, comes the famous line, “Beware the Ides of March.” Julius didn’t really pay attention to the warning and so he was murdered on March 15th. Recently we have had our own ides day to worry about, the Ides of April. Now I am not talking about murder. I am referring to many peoples’ least favorite day of the year when they feel they are being tortured. Yep, April 15th, tax day. I am pretty sure that owing Uncle Sam money is painful. People often lament that they are being over-taxed.
So what does this have to do with anything? I want to share something about Over-Taxation, though not in relationship to the annual doomsday of April 15th. That is past, for this year at least. I hope everyone got their taxes in on time, and I hope you don’t owe Uncle Sam an arm and a leg, and the family cow.
Beyond financial demands, there are many factors that can tax your emotional, mental, and physical health. (What a play on words, eh?) Americans are busier than ever, even with all the labor saving devices we have. It seems to me that all those devices did save labor and time, but then that extra time has been filled in with everything from running the soccer team car pool, to working extra at the office, to taking on extra projects. All of these things are good, but we need to be aware that all of these demands can come at the cost of your health, and not just your physical health.
A packed schedule means stopping for fast food more often which in the long run will pack on more pounds. It also means cutting into your exercise schedule, or giving up your “me” time, or even trying to get by on less sleep. If we stay on that treadmill, like the test mice of Hans Selye during his study of stress, we will collapse from exhaustion. Bad news for us.
What to do to prevent over-taxing yourself into burnout? How about giving these suggestions a try?
Learn to say “no.” What? Say no? Impossible! For me, saying no has been close to impossible. I strive to be a superwoman – whatever that entails – and get all things done. My children will say otherwise, but I am a spineless whimp, and feel so guilty if I say no to something. I am afraid of letting people down, or have them thinking I am selfish, or proving that I can’t do it all, etc. You may have even had that refrain running through your head. I will tell you that now that I am older, I can’t keep up that superwoman thing any longer. I think I have used up all my energy. The intentions are there, but the body doesn’t cooperate.
To prevent that from happening to you, say ‘No.” Recent research has found that parents definitely feel the pressure of packed schedules. So far research shows that children don’t show signs of stress from having a packed schedule. Set rules for how many activities are appropriate for your family. Turn down invitations to all but one event for the weekend.
Be honest with others and let them know when you cannot take on an extra project or go somewhere. Maybe you know someone who would be able to take on these extra items. Make referrals.
Think ahead. Rather than ordering takeout or running through the drive through at the last minute, plan your meals. Schedule a time over the weekend to plan a menu and then make and freeze two or 3 meals for those days when you expect that you may be running late. Plan for healthy snacks at your work desk, like almonds or carrot sticks, and avoid the junk food in the vending machine. Keep a refillable water bottle handy. By doing these simple things you will avoid gaining weight and feel better.
Take some time to unwind. Take an evening walk with your spouse, and even include the children. You’ll unwind, have meaningful time together, and get some exercise in. You don’t have to walk miles to enjoy the benefits.
Remember, if you don’t take care of your health, no one else will. Have a peaceful day!