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Is Rushing Woman Syndrome Causing Your Anxiety?

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Happy Spurling - Regular Font

Kayla Lanier - Bold Font   


Hey y'all. Today we are talking about a very interesting topic. So Mom came across a book and the title is Rushing Woman Syndrome, the Impact of a Never Ending To-Do List. This book is written by Dr. Libby Weaver, who is a nutritional biochemist, and this is a very, very interesting book. Rushing Woman Syndrome is actually a name given for sympathetic nervous system dominance and the biochemical changes this drives into the body. And today we're gonna talk about how this relates to anxiety and hormone regulation.

The perceived need to rush, whether it shows or not, is changing women's health in a detrimental way. Sex hormone-based health issues such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, infertility, and debilitating menopause symptoms, not to mention exhaustion have never been greater. The truth is it is taking a toll on our bodies.

So the question is not if all our busyness is causing our health issues, because we know it is. But rather, why do we do it? This book for me just kind of opened up obvious questions. That I really hadn't thought about as far as our endless to-do list and all the tasks that we need to complete in a day, from laundry to housework, to our careers and our children and our relationships.

And as women, we do juggle a lot of different plates. And we have kind of done that all, I think, throughout history. But now we're in an unprecedented time where we not only do all those things, But we didn't trade that in for our careers or our responsibilities. Whether it's a stay-at-home mom that's part of a homeschool group that's trying to be everything for everybody and do all the stuff, or someone in a corporate world that's trying to rise to the top of the ladder and be the best at what they do, and then we come home and we maintain that other side of our life, which is managing our home and taking care of the people we love and trying to have fun things to do with our kids and just talking about, it's like...

Yeah, it's exhausting. And I think you can relate in a lot of ways to this, not to throw shade, but you were listening to a podcast and writing notes on this book and driving at the same time this evening.

I did stop in the middle of the road, however, there was a car coming and so...

Well at least you stopped, but...

I held them up for just a second, but it was a little side road, so it wasn't that bad. But in that moment when I told you, I was like, sorry, you can't read my notes I was driving. Not recommended by the way, but anyway.

Driving and writing at the same time.

And that's kind of where we are because. I love doing the podcast, but it's kind of one of those things where it's like another thing added to the list.

Right. I mean, you had just gotten off work and you're like, oh, we gotta come home, help with dinner, you know, spend some time with the family and then Kayla's coming over to record the podcast. It's just like a lot, you know? It's a lot that's compiled and overachievers. We, as women, we all are.

And I think that really hit on something. And Dr. Libby Weaver mentioned in her book a really profound statement that this actually addresses. Our deepest fear. So even though this is physically driven and we're dealing with anxiety and hormones, physiological issues with being a rushing woman, that the why that we do it is actually that deep within all of us, if we admit it, not just as women, but as humans, is this deep fear that I'm not enough, and as a result of that, I won't be loved.

I tried to process that and I thought, well, I don't know if that's really what it would be, because it seems like for some people, achieving is just what you thrive in, and I think there is a place for that. But then when you think about why are we so driven to push ourselves literally to the point of exhaustion, And also to the point of sickness where our health says, you can't do this anymore.

And that's often what I hear with clients is whether they're coming in for any kind of health issue. They're like, a lot of times I wanna lose weight so I can be healthy. But the truth is you have to be healthy before you can lose weight. Our health is suffering. As women, we have such a huge increase in thyroid cancer and hypothyroidism and autoimmune conditions that are really more prevalent, much more prevalent among women.

It's because we do live in this. Sympathetic nervous system dominance where our bodies literally are in fight or flight all the time. And although that's a great mechanism, if you're fleeing from a tiger, it doesn't work out very well when there's not a present danger. But yet we've created the stress that's made our body think we're not safe.

There's an emergency, there's something wrong. Then we just ignore it and keep pushing and going, and then. One day we have anxiety and then we want somebody to be able to tell us how to make it go away. But the way we got there was a whole life problem.

Right. It didn't just happen overnight.

Yeah. And getting out of that has to be a whole life solution where we really start to examine the things that we're doing to see is this really serving me? Or is it not serving me any longer? And if so, is it something that I can take off my plate since I have about a hundred plates and they're all full? I know at times I thought there isn't anything. Have you ever felt that way when somebody's like, well, you just need to take some things off. Make time for yourself.

And if your immediate response is, there's no way. I have no time then that's this problem and really why health issues I think are on the rise for women.

Yeah, and I think it's important to reflect on why you can't let certain things go that are clouding your schedule. You need to remember the reasons behind what drives that pressure, and you need to stop and think and take a couple hours and just meditate on that.

I'm still working through it myself, but just like Dr. Weaver pointed out that our deepest fear is to not be enough. And honestly, I mean, I know we all feel that pressure every day, men and women alike. I know one of my favorite quotes is, don't light yourself on fire to keep others warm.


You know, and I think it's important to remember that, yes, it's good to be selfless, but I, how can you give anything if you have nothing left to give?

Wow, that's a very powerful quote.

I mean, it really struck me. I think I came across about a year ago, maybe a year and a half ago, and it just really hit home for me because it's true. I mean, yes, people will be impacted by the things you do, but a lot of people, they do not care if you're killing yourself to get up at 4:00 AM and just rush around and get so many things done before you even begin your actual day job.

It's not a bad thing to sleep in a little, and it's not a bad thing to leave the dishes in the sink at night.


It's the most liberating feeling, and you can make time, even though you have pressures from many different directions, you can create it.

Yeah, and that is what it comes down to, is that. We have to start recognizing that we were never designed at any other time in history to carry all of the stimulation that we do now.


Sitting in a car 10 years ago as opposed to now was a totally different story because we didn't have a phone to look at and check our email at the red light.


Or check a text or like a photo. All the things that we're doing now have literally overstimulated our nervous systems to the point that our bodies can't keep up. It's very unnatural to never have a moment to literally just be, to just sit. After starting this book, I started just recognizing how much when I go to a red light, I have this impulse moment where it's like, oh, check your phone. And never have we had to deal with that even when we had little kids and like, I had you guys and there's seven of you in the car. I'm checking my kids. But it's very different in how it stimulates the brain to what we do now, where we actually look at our phones.

Because there's really an emptiness that we have to fill, and we're very uncomfortable with free time.

Right. Any quietness in our mind. I mean, I'm very guilty of just trying to distract myself if I have any free time with Netflix and awesome little reels and that I'm just completely numbed and I don't have to think about anything.

I don't have to pursue any goals, you know? But I think it's cuz we're burned out too? It's just much easier to just hit play on a cool Facebook video, then to really sit and reflect on why are we rushing, you know, what are we striving for? What's our goals? I think it's important to just reflect on that.

Reflect on your why.

Right, and honestly to know. Oftentimes in practice with clients we're talking about how did you get to where you are with your anxiety, like when did it start? And oftentimes people don't have a day, like sometimes we do, like something significant happened in our health or a traumatic experience.

But most of the time it's been a gradual overflow of too much going on in your life. We wanna be able to have anxiety be gone, but still be able to juggle a hundred thousand different things at one time. And the truth is, we aren't created for that and so we're never gonna carry it well, and then looking at what it does to your body as far as hormone regulation, when the body gets a signal that there's an emergency all the time, we literally get up with that feeling. And I have a lot of women who can say when does the anxiety start? If you could pinpoint it. And they're like, as soon as my eyes open.


Because we're going to bed with it and that's why we don't sleep well is because our mind is really not in a safe place. And I think we have to learn to create space.


We get frustrated with our family or the people closest to us more often than not because there's too many things in our life. There's no room for anything else. And so that's how a mother can be frustrated, even though she's so glad to see her kids and pick 'em up from school, but actually be upset the minute they get in because they're stressing her out and it's not the kids and it's not her role as a mother. It's that there's no head space. There's no room.

I think the nervous system dominance being in that sympathetic nervous system situation, our breathing changes.

Oh yeah, it's like more shallow, we're not getting any deep belly breaths. We're just like breathing very shallow in our lungs and it's just...

Which creates anxiety and panic attacks and chest pain.

And you think you're having a stroke, so you Google it and you're not really having a stroke. You're just having another panic attack.

You Google it while you're sitting at the red light because there's time to do that, you know?

And I think this book really, spoke to me in not only just the clients and the women that I see in their heart. I see it every day and I've seen it through hundreds of clients, is they're not doing well and they don't feel good and they have no energy, and there's this anxiety they literally live with, and yet they don't know what's causing it.


And that's because there isn't a one thing. It's really, we've built our lives on a very false foundation that we're gonna be able to handle information at a rate that we never have before in history. if you think about the things that can keep us in this sympathetic nervous system state, our heart rate increases, our breathing becomes shallow. The adrenals produce cortisol because they're getting a message that there's something wrong. And we kind of know that deep down, but we just push through it. As women, we just keep doing everything the same. The definition of insanity. Doing everything right the same and expecting a different outcome.

I think we get really comfortable with that pressure and almost so that it becomes addictive, but years from this moment, I'm sure it wouldn't feel the same because your adrenaline will not stay consistent to what it is now. You know, adrenal fatigue is real, but I do feel that I'm very addicted to that high when I get up in the mornings, I like this mental checklist. I wait for my husband to roll outta the bed so I can make the bed, and that's very important to me, and then I just start cleaning up the house or doing whatever and then getting ready to go work out and just the pressure and like, I'll be gripping the steering wheel, driving to the gym just because I'm just wanna get it over with.


I just wanna have a moment after the gym in the mornings, just 10 minutes, drink my coffee before I go to work. I have so much stress about finding time to relax, that it's not relaxing at all. And I think people throw themselves into like ice baths or whatever's trending or meditation app, and they miss the whole point.

And we really are addicted to even the responses that we get or the likes on our social media or people saying, I don't know how you do it all.

Right. Like, look at you. You work so hard.

Which just furthers that in us that maybe I am gonna be enough. I just need to do a little more.

They see me finally, you know I am gonna get that reward, the finish line. But no, nobody's holding any kind of reward. No one's not. No, don't even get it. No one's there.

We don't get a participation award at the end or anything. It's just the relationships that we form and mold are what we take with us, and that's it. I think about people who've had huge achievements in life and I think we should have goals and we have dreams and it's wonderful when you see somebody fulfill that.

But at the end of the day, all the people that we're trying to measure up to or be something in their eyes, they really don't think about us when they go to sleep. We're the ones that lay down with the same stress we got up with and we repeat it all over again. And even those good things like having an exercise routine because it's good for our health.

Yeah, it's good. It's supposed to be.

It becomes part of our list of never ending things that, well, now I've gotta exercise and I've gotta eat right, and I've gotta take time to meditate. I've gotta do all these things. And in the busyness of it all, we lose ourselves and our bodies are not gonna be fooled.

The thyroid conditions that are on the rise are tremendous, and the thyroid is often referred to as the canary in the coal mine, meaning that you're gonna see the thyroid react to high levels of stress often before we see any other body system do that. And it's really an alert system that's, Hey, something's not right here.


We live in a time where HPA axis dysfunction is so prevalent, and that's just basically where the hypos can't communicate to the pituitary gland the message of, We're okay. We don't need to keep making cortisol, tell the adrenals to shut it down for a few. That's a feedback system that if you were in danger, like somebody ran out in front of you in your car and you slammed on your brakes, we need that adrenaline rush to act and the cortisol comes in. But what's supposed to happen is then there's another message sent to the brain, or the pituitary sends it to the hypothesis and says, okay, we're good. We don't need that much adrenaline anymore. But when you live in a sympathetic nervous system state, you don't get that message.

So what happens is a feedback loop that's kind of stuck, it's like a broken record, and the body never got the memo that the danger passed because we're literally living where we're breathing shallow and we're not really taking any time, even when we try to exercise or work out, it's a list. It's something we've gotta do, and we have to change it because I don't think that we as humanity can continue to keep up with the pace that's set around us. And honestly, this is a new thing. Our genetics have never dealt with this kind of demands in our life. I honestly think that combined with, of course, environmental thing and industrialization, that's driving so many of our health problems.


And to really be able to stand back and say, wow, I do kind of live in this state of complete fight or flight, and how do we get our bodies to come down out of that? And a lot of it is basically learning that we do have another nervous system component, which is the parasympathetic, and that one is the rest and digest, where we actually take time away from this fight or flight and we're actually able to gear down.

And when our bodies are in the parasympathetic state, we're actually able to process things differently. We have space to deal with issues that come up and our body's healed during that time. And if you live in the other side of that, it's definitely the more dominant system. Easily because the parasympathetic is more of a gentleman like I wanna be in there, I wanna help you.


But this other system is taking over. And so we have to find a way to really switch gears with that and try to take time to say, okay, this is what I'm stuck in, the anxiety here, the hormone issues, the thyroid issues, but what can I actively do to change that?


And I think it's facing your behavioral issues with why do we do it?


And finding things that will benefit you.

I know with myself it was easier in the past to just binge to kind of cover up. Things that I was dealing with or stress or things that I wasn't achieving along with exercise addiction, that was another factor. Binging is, and can still be an issue for me, but that, and you know, just a lot of negativity and a lot of just dark thoughts and I was always throwing shade on myself for her not being enough.

And I feel like it's important to find something for you specifically that will enhance the parasympathetic system. Nervous, don't you say?

Yes. And I think we do. We have to be aware that, hey, this is a real issue and, and a good thing to think about with the addiction is that that's a real thing, is that we do often feel like we're ashamed or we're guilty for not being enough, even if it's the perception we have and no one else is putting it on us, which I think happens a lot, is that we see things as we are not as they are. And that whole thing is mindset change, where it's like, you know, if you never do anything else noteworthy in your life, because the Lord says we're enough we're enough, and so we don't have to be pulled by this lie that you have to do more and be more and achieve more, and be the most intelligent and the most outspoken, and just to be valued because in reality, the value that he gives to us is so much bigger than the value any person could ever give to us even ourselves.

And learning to walk in that truth and say, you know what, I'm valuable because God says I'm valuable. Not because I achieve something. Those things are fine and it's great to have achievements, but they don't define who we are. And there's a crisis among women and men to really compare to other people to be enough to get to the place where we can be what somebody else perceives as good enough.

And in reality, we are already that and more because of what God did, not because of what I did.

Right. And it's important to lean into that because I mean, the same people that tear you down will also commend you and focusing on what the Lord thinks about you and who you are in him is the only thing that will ever truly help you just stop and just rest and appreciate what you've done so far and not true. Continue to rush.

Yeah, we don't even have time to enjoy our accomplishments because we've gotta get to the next best thing that we're going to do, or somebody's gonna think about us.

And it's exhausting really to live like that. It's literally terrifying.

And our bodies are saying, No more. We can't do this. And I think anytime we have a health issue come up, our body's trying to get our attention so that it can do the one thing that it wants to do, which is literally take care of us. Right? And so the very thing that drives addiction, whether it's exercise or food or any other kind of addiction, is the fact that we have opiate receptors in the brain that basically give us a dopamine release that okay, we're okay right now. Right. Which is why those things can be addictive. And we find ourselves trying to fill that spot and that's why we can eat a full meal and then leave the table and feel like we're hungry, but we don't know what we want we're looking for something...


To fill that spot.

I mean, it's always been in cherries for me.

Yeah, I mean, I can usually find something that I want, but being able to, you know, actually ask what is going on here?

I mean, yeah. And I do feel like that's very relatable for everyone, to be honest. I feel a little bit of an attachment anxiety, like even thinking about this because I really love my checklist.


I really love the constant just grind. I enjoy it. But it's one of those things, it's like your health is worth way more than any kind of accomplishment. So you can get done in the middle of the day.

It's heartbreaking to see all of us in a place where we're like, I can't really have any room for myself. And you feel like your life's falling apart around you. Your health is deteriorating and you still can't stop. And those are things where we really have to assess, okay, is this serving me? If it's not serving me anymore, can I let it go? And I know when cancer came into our family's life with my husband, I realized there were a lot of things I could let go that I really, at one time in the same conversation would've been like, there's nothing else that we can do. There's nothing we can let go of.

But when your health comes in place, you realize, you know what they're, that's not important anymore. The things become laser focused on what's really important, which is our health. Because it doesn't matter what we achieve. If somebody writes on our tombstone that we were the bomb and we did everything, you might read it and walk by, but you're not gonna impact a world like that.

I think the impact comes from relationships and if we want time to invest in that and even invest in ourselves, we're gonna have to let some things go. And a good takeaway from this is what I did for the last couple weeks since I've been reading that book. It's just made myself not check my phone at a red light, not look at it, pretend like it doesn't work, which would be a wonderful world.

See, that's awesome.

And I didn't realize how much of a habit it was, and I honestly didn't think I was someone who checked my phone that much. And then something else to do is to just say practical things of instead of coming home and rushing and doing and all this. Maybe I'm just gonna take 10 minutes to sit with myself and deal with the stress of the day and do some diaphragmatic breathing where you're actually taking a full breath that you will realize you didn't take all day long a lot of times.

It's like you forget to breathe.


Because literally, literally like, I think so.

And that's what, when you're in an emergency and you need to run, you're not breathing deeply. You're like, get the heck outta Dodge. That's what I'm doing, and that's how we live all day long. Yeah. And you feel like an elephant sitting on your chest.

You can't get a full breath in. And I hear ladies say that to me all the time and men, I feel like there's a weight on me that I can't get off. I think that they put it better than anybody, that there is a weight, but how much of the weight have we put on ourselves?


And it can come off.

It's just finding a way to move the things in life that really can be moved. It's just a great creative way to say, I'm gonna make some space in my life. And I'm gonna reassess the things that make me crazy. And honestly, sit down with a list and write down all the things that you have to get done in a day that you think you have to get done.

And then on the other side, write down the things that if your health fell apart, which of those things would you not be able to do?

Right. What matters?

And often you will find room. You'll find room in something. And it's a good thing for all of us to know that if we want to change our physical health, it has to start with our mindset about what's affecting us in every area of our life.

It's time to slow down. So I'm gonna leave you guys with a quote. Human behavior is the outermost expression of our inner beliefs. So just let y'all meditate on that and reflect on what you wanna do to unwind this week.

And we'd love to see some comments about how hard it was for you to not pick up your phone or to make some time for yourself...

But don't take notes while you're driving.

Don't take notes while you're driving.


Rushing Woman Syndrome by Dr. Libby Weaver -


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