Is Your Life Running You Ragged?

You take care of your kids, your parents, your job, your home -- but what about yourself?

By Sherry Rauh
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

"Me time" is a distant memory for Kate Wiley. Most days she can barely catch her breath between caring for her 18-month-old son, working, and studying to become a dietitian. "Housework, spending time with my son, a date night with my husband, working, schoolwork -- the list goes on. There are weeks when I feel like I am running at 110% with no time to stop," Wiley tells WebMD. "The house isn't clean, I have too many things to do for my internship, and I want to spend time with my child -- quality time where we get to sit and read or cuddle or play. There doesn't seem to be enough time for it all."

If this sounds like your life, you're in good company. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most parents with children younger than 18 work outside the home, including a majority of mothers with infants and toddlers. It's no surprise that working moms and dads, particularly those with additional responsibilities such as caring for an aging parent, find it difficult to make time for themselves. Activities that contribute to health, such as preparing nutritious meals, exercising, and pursuing hobbies tend to become elusive goals if they make the list at all.

"The last thing on my list is time for me," Wiley says, "and the lack of downtime often makes me feel overwhelmed and ready to crack."

Almost everyone feels overwhelmed on occasion, but how do you know if your life is chronically out of balance? Prominent personal coach Laura Berman Fortgang tells WebMD, "You know it's time to make a change when misery and stress outweigh joy on a daily basis for two weeks or more."