Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Thu, Jul 13 2006

Women feel stress more than men? So they win? No. We're all losing here

I happen to work long hours sometimes, so the reports saying that men and women respond differently to long working hours caught my eye. If we look back at lifestyles sixty—eighty—a hundred years ago—people were busy, but the social outlets were more plentiful and leisure time was more relaxing. I often hear ministers preach on the evils of social dances, but at least when people went to community dances they interacted with other humans. Communities used to have big suppers where the people shared food and kept up with acquaintances. Church families held picnics and barn-raisings instead of writing checks to some unknown entities who dispatch the money to "the mission field". Now, there's nothing wrong with a mission field—as long as we don't ignore the overworked, stressed-out people right in our own community.

Kids went to school and then played tag or baseball with other neighborhood kids, and the kids who lived on farms helped take care of livestock. Now we put children on a career track almost before they leave the womb. They're driven from home to a baysitter's house, to school, to softball and swimming meets, and finally back home to have a bath and sleep. And the adults taking care of them, whether at home or at school or day care, are all exhausted from their own full schedule. People work feverishly 50 weeks a year and look forward all that time to vacation—often a four-day stay at a theme park where they have to plan which line to be in first so that they can experience all of the seventeen rides before they head home to work and look forward to the next break in a few months.

We're all stressed—men and women, young and old. Rather than start another debate about which gender has it tougher in life, this sort of study would be great if it sparked more interest in finding ways to ease the pressures on both men and women. I'd like to know more about ways we can all help one another through long, busy days. How do we maintain physical and emotional equilibrium? We're tending to live longer lives, but our quality of life seems to become spindly, like a flowering plant in the dog days of summer. If all we do is reach for more coffee, fries and a cupcake, and a cigarette, is it really worth it?

posted at: 19:21 | category: /Health and Fitness | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
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