Workin’ Gals
Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes

I’m worried. About us. Let’s take look at some facts and statistics on women*:

  • 51.1% of high blood pressure deaths (i.e. the silent killer) are women. (American Heart Association)
  • One in three women will have breast cancer. (American Cancer Society)
  • Women are two times more likely to have depression than men. (Anxiety & Depression Association of America)
  • Alcoholism in women is on the rise. (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism)

*Note, all of these statistics are worse for women of color.

Clearly our style of living is not doing us any favors. The big question always seems to be: “Is there such a thing as work/life balance?” As a culture that remains stuck in valuing and prioritizing work, we will never fully achieve work/life balance unless something changes.

In 2017, a “right to disconnect” law went into effect in France. The law made it illegal to send or respond to email during off hours. The purpose was to make sure employees are fairly paid for work, that their time off is protected and to prevent burnout. Can you imagine how different your life would be if you had no contact with work outside of business hours?

Over the years, I have done my share of working to the point of sickness. I used to run a fundraising campaign that would raise a million dollars in three weeks. Six months prior to the kickoff involved a lot of heavy-duty planning. By the time the campaign launched, I was exhausted and sure enough, I would get sick the week after it ended.

If you are an entrepreneur or own your own business, you are told that you need to give your life to your business. I did that a few times with SheTaxi. At one point my body was so messed up that I literally could not sleep. I was exhausted and a mess. My doctor instructed me to only focus on getting well, because I couldn’t afford to get any sicker. When she said that to me, I was secretly relieved. I had my “pass” to step away from the business for a while.

As much as technology helps us, it also hurts us. I found it ironic when I worked for a national health organization with strategies in place to improve the health of women, yet I would be learning about the plan while sitting at my desk eating lunch on a video call. We also had initiatives to encourage employers to increase physical activity for their employees. Once again, we weren’t practicing what we preached. The irony was not lost on us, yet nothing changed.

This past week I had a few meetings around town and forgot my phone at home. When I realized it, I was panic stricken. Eventually I came to accept that I didn’t have it and nothing earth-shattering was going to happen. Over the next three hours, being phoneless was awesome. I was so present that you would have thought it was my birthday. (Wink!) Being present, without the distraction of the phone, was truly a gift.

The statistics listed previously are a result of our lifestyle. We bring this on ourselves. It is up to YOU, ME, ALL OF US to change the narrative, establish boundaries, follow through and be consistent. Your life (literally) depends on it. 

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

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About Author

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Peggy is a mission-driven leader, entrepreneur, social explorer and advocate for all things moving women forward. She is currently employed with the American Cancer Society and is the founder of SheTaxi.

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