Organic Valley has just launched a new campaign, “Real Morning Report”, detailing the busy woman’s typical morning routine, while asserting that we ladies actually have no time at all for the airy fairy business of sunrise yoga, journaling, or meditating over our artisanal kombucha cups. Before you give this post a read, I suggest watching the 90 second commercial so you too can have the opportunity to gleefully exclaim “this is awesome!”, which I also did for a hot second before giving the messaging further thought.
At the time of writing this blog, I’ve been receiving an increasing number of inquiries from working women- many of them mothers- who are burned out and physically ill, with concerns ranging from depression and anxiety, adrenal fatigue, thyroid and hormonal issues, and excessive weight gain. A few fellow business owners have recently admitted that the stress of their lives has taken a significant toll on their bodies and energy levels, which I can definitely relate to. And, my decade of burning the candle at both ends may have also caught up to me as I now contend with a suboptimal thyroid.
Studies show that women are more deeply impacted by stress on a physical and emotional level in comparison to men, due to our body chemistry and our hard-wired impulse reactions. We’re more likely to try and negotiate or “fix” a stressful situation, whereas men respond with fight or flight. And, as more of us make the decision to have it all- kids, marriage, the high-flying career, as well as an enviable hobby or two- stress-related conditions are skyrocketing, including depression, suicide and substance abuse. In the US, women are reporting higher levels of stress at work; in Singapore, the situation is likely similar. From my view as a therapist and coach to many brilliant and successful women, I can tell you that what we’re doing is not serving us. It’s not working for our bodies, our mental health, our families, and our happiness. My best guess is that we’re putting so much pressure on ourselves to taste those golden carrots that we’ve forgotten how to feed our intuition and thereby tap into what we truly need. So, why the hell are we celebrating doing more of what is harming us?
Organic Valley is right. Most women won’t have time for a morning routine that allows them to reflect and nurture themselves… unless they actually make it a top priority in their lives. However, what would happen if we stopped feeding the beast? What if we reclaimed our power to draw hard boundaries, say “No,” and care for ourselves instead of buying into the idea that, in order to succeed, we have to completely sacrifice our own needs? And on that note, why must we continuously subscribe to one definition of success anyway- that success is managing an outwardly perfect family, gaining career notoriety, and skipping breakfast most mornings? I’m sure a few of you reading this would like to push me off a ledge right now. “What do you know about real life- you’re a coach!” you may be thinking. Or, “just shut up, you don’t have kids- you have no idea!” Yeah yeah, you’re not the first. But, the fact is, I used to be that lady in the Organic Valley commercial, the one running to my corporate job in Rockefeller Center, eating my first meal of the day at noon- a deli sandwich and chips- behind my computer, feeling crappy and tired most of the time. And yes, you’re correctamundo- I don’t have kids, and I'm not going to pretend to understand all the complexities involved in raising babies. However, most of the women I work with do, as do many of my friends, and the biggest difference I see between the moms who set their alarm clocks a half an hour earlier so they can do their yoga and the ones who don’t is CHOICE & PRIORITIES.
I’m going to guess that most of you reading this are privileged enough to be able to design life as you see fit, to some extent. In Singapore, some of us have the massive bonus of live-in helpers to assist with the cooking, the housecleaning and the childcare. I could still be that lady in the Organic Valley commercial- completely harried, running to the office with a third cup of coffee in hand, pouring all my free time into wine o’clock. But, I made a really tough series of choices. I quit drinking. I got off my anti-depressants. I quit my job. And, I took a long, hard look at the difference between the life I desired having and the one I had been living. While my husband was supportive, I did not have a family I could rely on. I had hefty student loan debt. And, I carried all of the emotional baggage of a woman who operated in survival mode. With tough decisions, came a morning routine. When I began my health & recovery journey, I started journaling each morning, and running. For those first few months, I skipped a lot of days, slept in. But, eventually, my morning routine became a practice, a version of which still directs most of my days- not all, but most- six and a half years later.
Let’s not pit women against each other in regard to their choices. Just because some chick makes time for her tea ceremony or downward dogs in the morning does not mean that she is any better or worse than the one racing frantically to work, extra strength espresso in hand. It just means that she has different priorities, and that she’s designed another way of being. If you’re cheering on this brilliant commercial while simultaneously feeling drained, depressed and unfulfilled, I ask you to simply take a look at your own priorities, without judgement. What are you running toward… or away from? And, what will it take for you to actually make the time to honor yourself?
p.s. and yes, dry shampoo IS one of the best inventions ever.
What's your take? Have you tried to carve out a morning routine? Do you feel like this Organic Valley commercial is on the mark... or completely misses the point? Leave your thoughts in the comments section- as always, I'd love to hear from you. Did you love this post? If so, do share!