Could lockdown spell the end of Rushing Woman Syndrome?

‘I don’t want it to take a health crisis to wake you up, to remind you, of how precious life is,’ said Dr Libby Weaver, a nutritional biochemist, as she finished her 2014 TEDx talk in Queenstown, New Zealand. 

Her words seem more poignant now, as families across the world have been torn apart by Covid-19, but back then she was speaking then about Rushing Woman Syndrome.

Dr Weaver coined the term and authored a book of the same name in 2011, and if you’re not a ‘rushing woman’, the chances are you know one. 

‘I was noticing an enormous change in women’s health, and it was a feeling that women had a pile of things on their to-do list, they had overflowing emails in their inboxes… It was as if there weren’t enough hours in the day,’ she tells ‘We couldn’t keep up with everything being asked of them or that they wanted to be part of.’

The juggling of everything on our to-do lists and neverending sense of urgency, she says, is leading to ‘relentless’ output of stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which come with myriad physical health issues, including problems with menstruation, menopause, energy levels and metabolism – though this is not a conclusive list. 

With many now forcibly on pause thanks to lockdown, some have an opportunity to see how they’ve been moving through life in fast-forward. A global pandemic was not the health crisis Dr Weaver meant in her talk, but it has definitely given some the opportunity to reevaluate.

Alexandra Wood, 39, is one of Savile Row’s first female tailors and juggles her business Alexandra Wood Menswear with caring for her three children, having started her company with just £1,000 maternity pay when her daughter was born. 

‘My eyes are everywhere,’ she tells us. ‘I’m dealing with all aspects of my business, while looking after the children so it’s full-on.’

Since restrictions meant her bricks and mortar store had to close its doors, she’s had the opportunity to reflect and find the positive. 

Alexandra explains: ‘I’ve had to really focus on the most beneficial use of my time and what will help me grow the business in this turbulent time. I started my business with a newborn and in a recession so where there’s a will, there’s a way.

‘I’ve always been someone who loves going at full speed ahead but I have realised that simple time with the children doing TikTok dances bring about a lot of joy. 

‘I will also make sure I have more time with the children and that will mean streamlining my business and doing things that only make a difference. The art of delegation started in lockdown and will absolutely continue.’

Caroline Johnson, 42, also started her business Cheerleader PR while on maternity leave with her second daughter and has been a rushing woman.

She says: ‘Most days and weeks my head would be struggling, trying to keep all the plates spinning. I’d see it with my friends too, especially those with their own businesses who often find it impossible to switch off.’

Lockdown has meant her husband has taken on more of the household duties while she works in the spare room. 

‘When I look at my typical day before lockdown I wonder how I kept up with myself and kept everything going,’ says Caroline. ‘I was exhausted a lot of the time and needed to recharge at weekends.

‘I wonder what I was doing it for and what I was trying to prove. But equally, I loved a lot of it and miss it.

‘Funnily enough, I find lockdown just as tiring in some ways. Maybe because it has different pressures.’

While Dr Weaver knows of women who share these experiences, lockdown has also shown us the other side of the coin.

She notes: ‘It can be such a gift to reflect and say “I was doing x, y, and z and I can see now, I don’t want or need to do that.”

‘But that requires a degree of privilege to have your basic needs met – food, clothing and shelter – to be able to do that.’

‘The other scenario is, I do know a number of women for whom everything has sped up and had more responsibility fall to them.’

Key workers like nurse Jamie-Louise Docherty, 28, know this reality all too well. A new mum to a one-year-old son, she’s not currently working with Covid-19 patients but is struggling with not seeing friends.

‘It feels like my support system is missing,’ Jamie-Louise says. ‘I am missing baby classes and meeting up with my mum friends.

‘All of our babies turned one in the last couple of months which we had lots of plans for so it’s just been adjusting to a series of disappointments.

‘But everything else is the same, and probably amplified being in the house so much more like I feel very on edge.

‘My brain is in so many places and it has never been more obvious.’

Jamie is able to divide up household duties with her husband, though she sometimes feels that the mental load of remembering what needs doing falls to her. 

Dr Weaver says in homes like this, many women can end up doing ‘the frantic double shift’ – working hard in their careers only to pick up much of the household and parenting duties when at home with little rest.

‘Women have been, I guess, just gently alert all the time,’ she tells us. ‘We see so much more in our vision so much more that needs doing so I think biologically, we are a little bit predisposed to keep doing. It’s the compromise on our rest that’s enormously impacted on the way our nervous system is able to function. 

‘I think the shift has been a lot slower with men to pick up work, that’s not paid work, so around the house, looking after children, shopping, cleaning, all those other activities.’

Rather than pursuing balance, which can seem all too unattainable, Dr Weaver says it comes down to prioritising and adjusting our feelings on other people’s perceptions of us. 

‘I think what we do is we might rate ourselves or judge ourselves harshly for not being a good enough fill-in-the-blank,’ she explains. ‘Not a good enough colleague, not a good enough mother, daughter, sister, friend.

‘When we live forever in the service of others, which I think a lot of women do with real love in their heart – and my goodness, we need that – we need to be very comfortable saying no when we need to.’

Often rushing women describe needing others to perceive them as kind, thoughtful and selfless, which she says goes to show what a ‘beautiful place’ this desire to be all things to all people comes from. 

‘We’re so stressed, we think it’s all the people and the tasks and the situations and we stop catching a glimpse of the fact that it’s our responses to all of those things and the way we think about those things that makes those things stressful or not.’

For women who don’t have the luxury of dumping anything off their to-do lists, Dr Weaver says it’s all in the breath and finding the joy: ‘One of the things that science has shown that lowers stress hormones more effectively than just about anything is to extend the length of our exhalation.

‘A slow, long exhale activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is a branch of the autonomic nervous system, which is the opposite of fight and flight.’ 

She suggests putting your legs up the wall as you lie in bed with your arms stretched out and diaphragmatically breathing for 10 minutes. This is also good for mental clarity and can improve many bodily functions including sleep, digestion, circulation, lowering blood pressure and pulse.

As for finding what feels good, Dr Weaver says: ‘Joy gives us an irreplaceable depth of energy. Think what brings me joy and how, or what brings a smile to my face and how could I incorporate more moments of that? 

‘You might identify something that brings you joy, and it’s going to take an hour and you literally might not have an hour spare but you might have five minutes to yourself at this point or first thing in the morning or at the end of the day, and it’s a time for you to write in a journal or look out the window and watch what nature’s doing.

‘I live in Australia now but I was living in New Zealand when all of the dreadful earthquakes were happening in Christchurch. People didn’t have toilets that flushed for six months or more. 

‘Still to this day when I flush the toilet I think “I’m so thankful for this”. Those little things that are so simple and yet it’s so privileged that we have food and a warm bed. 

‘I hope in putting things into perspective there is a degree of slow down for women inside themselves and what they perceive they need to be happy and fulfilled. It’s often a lot simpler than we think it once was.’

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TV and Movies

The End of 'Agents of SHIELD' Could Launch Quake Into the Bigger MCU

The continuation of characters from ABC’s Agents of SHIELD is still a debatable topic on social media from MCU fans. With all the Marvel TV/streaming shows coming to an end and being deemed non-canon, continuing any of them into the MCU only grows more problematic. Some might say that was a hole Marvel probably wishes they never dug.

Some SHIELD characters would still make sense transitioning, though, considering their respective comic book storylines. One on the wish list is Quake, aka Daisy Johnson.

Fans wonder whether she can logically transition into the MCU with the same actress portraying her (Chloe Bennet). With her character being one of the most standout SHIELD characters, a good argument exists not to waste the opportunity.

Why was Daisy Johnson named Quake?

For those not attuned to Marvel comic book history, the name Quake came from Daisy Johnson realizing she had the ability to generate vibration waves. This enables her to create an effect similar to earthquakes.

However, she also has a lot of other amazing skills that never fall under the guise of a superpower. Her training under the SHIELD program with Nick Fury enabled her to create combat skills of the highest order. Part of this includes athletic skills going beyond what other human-like superheroes have.

Chloe Bennet made her version of Quake for Agents of SHIELD very memorable, including having one amazing action scene a Reddit user recently posted from the series. It was an example of how big the budget was for the show before being cut back.

What many never knew was executive producer Jed Whedon took two different storylines from the comic books to create the TV version of Quake everyone saw.

Quake became the center of attention for a while on ‘Agents of SHIELD’

To create a unique character for SHIELD, Whedon invented a major revelation not from the comic books: Quake/Daisy Johnson was an Inhuman. Marvel used this term as a stand-in for “Mutant”, but only because Fox owned the rights to the mutant/X-Men characters.

What this did is take Quake away from the comics so fans could enjoy some surprises about her. Initially, her name was known as Skye, not knowing her real birth name was Daisy. Kept intact was finding out her dad was the supervillain known as Mr. Hyde or Calvin Zabo.

At this point, Chloe Bennet also became critical of Agents of SHIELD because Marvel began focusing on the MCU more than their TV show properties. Who could blame her when her character was becoming so popular and the network/streaming shows began to flounder?

Said Bennet once about the matter: “I don’t know. People who make movies for Marvel, why don’t you acknowledge what happens on our show? Why don’t you guys go ask them that? ‘Cause they don’t seem to care!”

Did Chloe Bennet ruin any chance of her Quake crossing over to the MCU?

Any loyal viewer for Agents of SHIELD likely cheered Bennet on when criticizing her own employer over the above matter. She was right, though how MCU execs felt about her speaking out is another thing.

Despite fans wanting to see Quake cross over to the MCU movies, Bennet may not be involved after bravely griping about the lack of corporate support. In the comics, Quake ultimately becomes an Avenger, making it all the more feasible she should come back.

Other media analysts also delved into the reasons Quake should show up in an MCU movie. A notable reason is comic book accuracy, if also a chance to delve into the Secret Warriors plot of the comics, something Quake was involved in.

With Disney+ available, fans will no doubt lobby for Quake’s own series as well. Whether she comes back or not, having her back would, at best, help finally link Agents of SHIELD with the MCU as Bennet initially wanted.

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World News

Cops end car chase, find DOG behind wheel, owner 'was teaching animal'

Cops discover a PIT BULL behind the wheel of car after 100 mph chase – as owner says he was teaching the animal to drive

  • A 100 mph car chase near Seattle, Washington, Sunday ended when cops used spike strips to disable the vehicle and found a dog behind the wheel
  • The pit bull’s 51-year-old owner, who was arrested for the incident, claimed to Washington State troopers that he was teaching the dog to drive 
  • During the pursuit, troopers were shocked to see the animal in the driver’s seat and its owner steering and pushing the gas pedal from the passenger side.
  • The man, who is from Lakewood and was not identified, was allegedly under the influence of drugs and taken into custody
  • He was investigated for reckless endangerment, eluding police and driving under the influence 
  • The man was taken to a hospital before booking and his dog was left with an animal shelter. 

A man who was arrested after cops were lead on a 100 mph chase Sunday left his excuse for the incident to the dogs.

Washington State troopers who used spike strips to disable the vehicle and end the chase near Seattle said they found a pit bull behind the wheel.

The animal’s owner, Alberto Tito Alejandro, 51, claimed he was teaching the dog to drive, says State Trooper Heather Axtman.

Washington State Troopers who used spike strips to disable the vehicle and end the chase near Seattle said they found a pit bull behind the wheel. The animal’s owner, Alberto Tito Alejandro, 51, claimed he was teaching the dog to drive. Alejandro’s vehicle is pictured after the incident

During the pursuit, troopers were shocked to see the animal in the driver’s seat and Alejandro steering and pushing the gas pedal from the passenger side. 

Alejandro was taken to a hospital and later booked on multiple felonies including driving under the influence of drugs. 

The incident unfolded Sunday afternoon after police received calls about a driver hitting two vehicles in an area south of Seattle and then speeding away,

Axtman said the emergency services subsequently got multiple calls about a car traveling erratically at more than 100 miles per hours.

Axtman said that as officers gave chase, they got close to the vehicle — a 1996 Buick — and were shocked to see a pit bull in the driver’s seat and Alejandro steering and pushing the gas pedal from the passenger side.

The pursuit ended after police deployed spike strips and arrested the dog owner.

‘When we took him into custody… he admitted to our troopers that he was trying to teach his dog to drive,’ Axtman said.

‘I’ve been a trooper for almost 10 years and I’ve had a lot of excuses when I’ve arrested people or pulled people over, but I’ve never had an excuse that the dog was driving,’ she added, laughing.

Axtman said the female pit bull, which was not aggressive toward the arresting officers, had been placed in an animal shelter.

Police were led on a 100-mph chase in Washington that ended when the police deployed spike strips


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World News

Britain could soon see the end of individual funerals

Britain faces prospect of mass funerals if rising coronavirus death toll overwhelms undertaker, Wales’ Health Minister warns

  • Wales Health Minister Vaughan Gething said it was ‘one of the most difficult things we might have to face’
  • He agreed with a fellow assembly member there might be a ‘push towards cremation with memorial services in the months to come’
  • It came after a second person in Wales has died after testing positive for Covid-19, the country’s chief medical officer has said
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Britain could see the end of individual funerals if the rising coronavirus death toll overwhelms undertakers.

At the Welsh assembly’s health committee today, Health Minister Vaughan Gething said it was ‘one of the most difficult things we might have to face’, as reported by the BBC.

Mr Gething – who was questioned via video-link as he is currently self-isolating –  agreed with a fellow assembly member there might be a ‘push towards cremation with memorial services in the months to come’.

It came after a second person in Wales has died after testing positive for Covid-19, the country’s chief medical officer has said.

Dr Frank Atherton said the patient, who was being treated in Swansea, was 96 years old and had underlying health conditions.

A stock image of a coffin about to be lowered at a funeral service in a cemetery

On Tuesday, Dr Atherton: ‘I’m sorry to report that a second patient in Wales who tested positive for Covid-19 has sadly died.

‘I offer my sincere condolences to their family and friends and ask that their request for privacy is respected.

‘The patient, who had underlying health conditions, was 96 years old and was being treated at the Morriston Hospital.’

Mr Gething said he had self-isolated himself for 14 days after his son developed a cough.

He said he will continue to work from home to lead the Welsh NHS’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

In a video message posted on Twitter, Mr Gething said he was asking the public to self-isolate if anyone in their household developed a new cough or a high temperature.

‘I’m in that category as my son has a new wheezy cough, so I’m not going to be in the Assembly for the foreseeable,’ the Minister for Health and Social Services said.

Mr Gething said he had self-isolated himself for 14 days after his son developed a cough

‘I’m following the advice we’re asking the public to follow as well. The objective in all the advice we’re giving is to delay the spread of coronavirus and to give our health service the opportunity to help save more lives.’

Representative bodies from the funeral, crematoria and burial sector met officials at the Cabinet Office on Tuesday, where they highlighted the shortage of protective clothing and requested support as the situation develops.

Following the meeting, the attendees said bereaved friends and families should consider whether social distancing measures mean webcasting memorial services could become an option.

Among those involved were representatives from the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD), Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management and Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities.

Members of the Cremation Society and the Association of Private Cemeteries and Crematoria were also present.

A joint statement said: ‘The key outcome is that funerals should continue, as normally as possible, for now – but take into account all of the guidelines issued by government for minimising the risk of transmission.

‘This includes the need to protect at-risk groups, to avoid large gatherings of people, for good hand hygiene and the avoidance of unnecessary physical contact.

‘This is not only for the benefit of those attending funerals, it also supports the urgent need to protect funeral home, crematorium and cemetery employees, who need to remain healthy and able to support bereaved families at this critical time.’

It said families should assess each funeral individually and consider whether the social distancing measures might mean small numbers of people, organising a service at a later date or alternatives such as webcasting.


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The end of the ‘whoosh’? Historic Fairfield factory set for redevelopment

It’s been a Fairfield landmark for generations, with a mysterious "whoosh" sound from its machines echoing across nearby parks.

Now a $105 million development, including five multi-storey towers, is planned for the historic Porta Timber factory site in Melbourne's north-east.

Developers have applied to the City of Yarra to build 334 new dwellings at the 1.1-hectare Heidelberg Road site which Porta has occupied since 1921 and borders the vast parkland near the Yarra River.

Porta Timber has operated from Fairfield since 1921.Credit:Chris Hopkins

Consultants on behalf of Porta Investments Pty Ltd – whose director John Pizzey is the factory’s managing director – have applied to build towers ranging from six to 13 storeys.

Porta Timber is one of Melbourne’s oldest businesses, having started in 1868 as a bellows manufacturer in Little Lonsdale Street. It is still run by the same family and is known for its brick tower chimney with the word Porta on it, and a manufacturing process that emits a whooshing sound.

The firm now supplies timber products, mouldings and custom moulding services to the home improvement, building, trade and commercial sectors.

Landmark: the brick chimney at Porta Timber in Heidelberg Road, Fairfield.Credit:Chris Hopkins

According to the City of Yarra, the developers estimated the project cost at $105 million and have applied for a change of use from commercial to mixed use and for a reduction in car parking.

The brick factory's facade and the chimney are covered by a heritage overlay in the Yarra Planning Scheme but the rest of the factory has been identified as a strategic redevelopment site.

If an applicant wants to demolish or alter a building protected by a heritage overlay, they must apply for a permit from the council, and members of the public can object.

The site has also been recommended for a heritage overlay on the Heritage Council of Victoria’s Victorian Heritage Database. The database lists the Porta factory as being of local historical and aesthetic or architectural significance.

The development application will be advertised on the City of Yarra website from March 16 and a public information session will be held on March 31 at the Richmond Town Hall.

A council decision is expected about the middle of the year. The application seeks to remove all buildings on site except for one building and the chimney stack. It is not known whether the factory operations would move elsewhere.

President of the Alphington Fairfield Appropriate Development Association, Todd Perry, said he was concerned apartment towers would block out views of the iconic chimney.

He was also concerned that the current council height limit guidelines along Heidelberg Road of seven stories would be exceeded at VCAT, as was the case for a building at the nearby Amcor paper mill redevelopment, which was granted permission for 17 stories.

He was also concerned about public space and wind-tunnel issues at the Porta site.

A spokesman for Porta did not wish to comment.

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Ed Sheeran May End His Self-Imposed Break For One of His Music Idols

Musician Ed Sheeran has been taking one of his breaks from music and social media since Dec. 2019. Not much has been heard from him, as he promised.

However, it seems he may be taking a break from his break for the sake of one of his music idols.

Sheeran’s latest break

At the final stop of his Divide tour in August, the Shape of You singer let his fans know he was ready to take a break from the grind of writing music, recording, and touring.

“As you may or not know, I’ve been on the Divide tour for over two years now and this is the last day of the whole thing,” he told the crowd in Ipswich, England, according to The Sun. “There is something very bittersweet about it.”

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Brb x

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“I love that you guys are here and we are ending it in Ipswich,” he continued. “This is my last gig for probably 18 months.”

Then in December, Sheeran announced on Instagram, a post which has been his last one, that he would be taking another break from music and social media.

“Hello all. Gonna go on another break again,” he said. “The Divide era and tour changed my life in so many ways, but now it’s all over it’s time to go out and see some more of the world.”

David Gray’s ‘White Ladder’ and its 20th anniversary

One of Sheeran’s musical inspirations is English singer-songwriter, David Gray, who has been described as a cross between a British Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. Gray is both folksy and musically innovative.

His iconic and career-defining album, White Ladder, is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year and the 51-year-old is celebrating it big with a massive arena tour. He’ll be performing the album, in its entirety, accompanied by the same musicians with whom he recorded the album in his bedroom in 1999, using the same equipment heard on the album.

“It’s an album that came from nowhere to steal the hearts of millions all over the world, completely transforming my life in the process,” Gray said in a statement. “Twenty years on and it feels like White Ladder is just as alive for people now as it was back then.”

Sheeran’s breaking his break for David Gray

One of the people whose heart White Ladder stole was Ed Sheeran’s.

As part of the promotional blitz Gray is orchestrating for White Ladder‘s anniversary, he’s asking his fans to record a brief White Ladder story of what the album meant to them. Musician John Mayer has recorded his, and so have Carly Rae Jepsen and U2’s Adam Clayton.

Sheeran came off his break to record his White Ladder story in support of Gray’s milestone year.

The 29-year-old superstar said in his story about the twenty-year old album, “White Ladder, for me, was an album that really molded me as an artist and as a music fan. I remember I was on a family holiday and I always remember so clearly, my dad had been given White Ladder by my godmother, and we had it in the car.”

“And I remember the drums for ‘Please Forgive Me’ and the first piano chord and thinking, ‘Oh, this is unlike anything I’ve ever heard before.’ “

“I just think it’s a fantastic album and so happy that I’ve been asked to add to the twenty-year celebration.”

Sheeran recorded his video statement from the recording studio where he’s working on new music.

Will Sheeran join David Gray in concert?

For his part, Gray was moved by Sheeran’s remembrance of the special part his album has played in his fellow Englishman’s life. Speaking with Forbes this month, Gray teased that Sheeran may join him for a show or two of his tour.

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“Ed Sheeran has done a beautiful video piece talking about White Ladder and what it means to him. It was a big record for Ed, so, you know, there’s talk that he might come along and something might happen. So watch this space.”

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I feel stuck in a rut and end up drinking a whole bottle of wine every night – The Sun

DEAR DEIDRE: I’M in the habit of having my first glass of wine when I get in from work and I sometimes end up drinking the whole bottle.

Life is full-on with kids aged eight and six, while me and my husband both work. We’re 36.

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He’s a prison officer and works evenings and weekends, so I have the kids most of the time.

I work in an office but feel too tired at the end of the day to do anything but sit on the sofa.

I run the home pretty much on my own because of my husband’s hours.

I feel stuck in a rut. I know wine isn’t the answer but I struggle to get myself out.

DEIDRE SAYS: It is a great first step that you have recognised a problem.

Stop the wine habit – it drains energy and your children will pick up on the way it makes you unavailable to them.

Instead, think of something fun you can all do together in the evenings – maybe a game, swimming, going to the park.

But also tell your husband you need to reassess priorities or your marriage won’t survive.

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TV and Movies

‘Hawaii Five-0’ to Wrap Up After 10 Seasons

In a statement about the series’ ending, CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl gushes, ‘We cannot be prouder of its quality, longevity and are thankful for the passionate fan-devotion it inspired.’

AceShowbiz -The “Hawaii Five-0” reboot is set to wrap for good at the end of its current 10th season.

The hit crime drama series, starring Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan as task force partners Steve McGarrett and Danny Williams, will conclude with a two-hour finale in April, reports Deadline.

Kelly Kahl, President of CBS Entertainment, which produces the show, says, “It’s never easy to say goodbye to a hit franchise that carried on the legacy of the original with such distinction while establishing its own signature style.”

“From episode one, ‘Hawaii Five-0’ has been a huge success for us… We cannot be prouder of its quality, longevity and are thankful for the passionate fan-devotion it inspired.”

Developed by Peter M. Lenkov, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci, the series was launched in 2010 as a re-imagining of Leonard Freeman’s classic police procedural, “Hawaii Five-O”, which originally aired for 12 seasons until 1980 with Jack Lord as McGarrett and James MacArthur as Williams.

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