Mindful Q&A: Don’t Get Addicted to Busyness

In the first installment of Mindful's relationships Q&A series, Dr. Cheryl Fraser answers your questions about managing work and life.

Photo: Dollar Photo Club

Q: I’m a wife, mother, and bank manager and these days I feel like I am failing at all of it. I meditate each morning and do yoga, but I’m still tired, stressed, and cranky and I drop more balls than I catch. Why am I so lousy at having it all?

A: You can have it all, providing the “all” includes a nervous breakdown. Forget life-work balance. Whoever came up with that concept needs to straddle a see-saw for a few moments and discover that a balancing act is inherently precarious, exhausting, and impossible to maintain. Many female patients come to me for help with anxiety and exhaustion. They are wracked with guilt that they can’t find time to make homemade cupcakes for the school bake sale because they have a year-end report to write. Just like you, they are sleep deprived (yet find time for hours of junk television—hmm). They tell stories of their own mothers—women who baked and sewed, kept house and met their women friends for long lunches—speaking in the awed tones of a mythic storyteller.

I remind my patients that their moms did not wake up before dawn to hit the gym, or run three…