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Successful working mothers > Work Life Imbalance > Rushing Woman’s Syndrome

Rushing Woman’s Syndrome

Reviewed by Cheryl Bowie

To say Rushing Women’s Syndrome has had an impact on NZ working women is somewhat of an understatement.  It seems wherever I go these days someone or other is mentioning the book or its author, Dr Libby Weaver.  In fact, at Professionelle we have noticed through our website analytics that this book is something our members regularly search for on our site!

Juggling and Rushing

I first heard of the book from a psychologist friend who told me as she read it that she regularly thought of me. I’m not sure that was a positive sign!  So I dutifully requested it for Christmas as my holiday reading.  The timing and the context could not have been more perfect.

I was in the midst of a challenging and often unrealistic project management contract and I was already starting to feel the “wheels wobbling” as they usually did at the end of a busy, demanding and juggle-filled year.  I was indeed a “rushing woman” and was thoroughly fed up with managing my own and my family’s respective lives and activities.  My life at that time was ruled by the calendar on my iPhone and the constant pressure of manically rushing from one part of my life to the other, always constantly feeling slightly behind the eight ball.

Physical Toll

Dr Libby Weaver delves into the science behind rushing and tells us about the impact this has on our health – physically, emotionally and mentally.  The book covers in depth how the body reacts to stress hormones, when we live in a constant state of “fight or flight.” It explains that we might have difficulty sleeping, losing weight and achieving emotional and mental equilibrium.

She talks of rushing women being “tired but wired” and this struck a chord. My sleep patterns have always been erratic, but had worsened dramatically as work demands increased, requiring complex and fast-paced problem solving.

Dr Weaver’s messages regarding the use of stimulants such as coffee to get going in the morning (and throughout the day) and then wine to wind down with again in the evening, are something I think many working women probably need to get real about.  We are often very good at finding reasons to drink too much of these stimulants, without looking at the underlying causes that drive us to feel we need them so badly.

If your health or the health of others close to you is something that is of concern to you and you’d like to find out about how other women have dealt with serious illness, we are offering an opportunity for working women to glean an insider’s view. In the next of our “Sharing Personal Stories” series you can learn what it is like to deal with a life-threatening illness and what you can do to proactively manage your health.


The impacts for rushing women vary. However, much of what was written impacted me so strongly that I felt compelled to make a series of rather dramatic changes in my life.  The biggest resulted in my leaving the current contract and taking a self-imposed 2 month break from paid work.  The results have been well worth it and I am happy to report I am now back working in a much calmer and happier state than when I started my time out.

Whilst at times the scientific detail in the book got a little dry for me, the key points were fascinating and Dr Libby had some good tips to share for getting a sense of balance back in our lives.  She also touched on some psychology and, whilst she doesn’t profess to be a psychologist, she has treated a number of women whose “rushing” can be driven from deeper psychological issues of fear of loss, needing to please, fear of not being accepted and putting everyone else’s needs above their own.

Key Messages

The key take outs for me were:

  • create space to reconnect with myself and reflect – mediation, yoga and other “alone” activities have all been welcomed back into my life with truly wonderful benefits.
  • to reduce my coffee intake – now down to one a day – yay!
  • to monitor my wine intake – easier said than done but I am no longer reaching for a glass of wine every night!
  • to take time out from working.
  • to remember there are many things I’m doing really well.

Overall “rushing” is going to be something that myself and many other women will always have in our lives.  Trying to manage a fulfilling career as a self-employed consultant, to support my children and manage their lives, manage my own life and key relationships all present a constant juggle for me.  However, reading this book has led to a valuable period of introspection and much needed time out and has allowed me to make some really positive changes. As Galia, our Professionelle co-founder is fond of saying – “it’s all about being better” – not about being good or perfect.  Next time you see me I do hope I look a little less rushed than I used to!

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