News: You Can Do, Too

Women learn to do more -- for themselves and others

Mar 12, 2003 at 2:06 pm

The "Can Do" woman is a career woman, a mother, a daughter and a caretaker.

Speaking of Women's Health has designated 2003 the Year of the "Can Do" Woman, trying to remind her to focus not just on the needs of others, but on her own needs and health as well.

Speaking of Women's Health is a nonprofit agency that began as a one-day conference in Cincinnati in 1996 but has gone national.

Tickets for the national conference at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center through Sunday are sold out. The event focuses on balance among family, community, career and self.

"Women are so busy taking care of other people they don't spend enough time taking care of themselves," says Alissa Cone, spokeswoman for Speaking of Women's Health. "We really reach a diverse group of women. That's why we have so many options for women to choose from when they come to our conferences. You leave motivated and wanting to be healthier."

Balancing Act

One of the challenges of being a "Can Do" woman is finding the time and energy to complete the tasks that you need and want to do.

"Balance is a huge issue for women because we're responsible for so much," Cone says.

Speaking of Women's Health tries to focus on mind, body and spirit, according to Cone.

"We are dedicated to the whole woman," she says.

Besides a focus on health, the conference touches on the subjects of personal safety, car care and financial health.

"Speaking of Women's Health is about saving lives through education," the organization's Web site says. "It's about empowering women to make informed decisions and inspiring them in a fun, pampering environment. ... Speaking of Women's Health offers women the opportunity to step away from their hurried everyday lives and focus on taking care of themselves and rejuvenating their spirit."

Today there are conferences in more than 30 cities across the country, according to Cone.

Christine Cashen, who calls herself an "energizing expert," will share humorous anecdotes and timesaving tips at the conference. The title of her presentation is, "Yes You Can — Get What You Want With What You've Got."

"This program is for all of us who have to do more with less," Cashen says.

Today, she says, almost all of us are doing more with less — less patience, fewer co-workers and fewer resources. Cashen offers creative ideas to get more done in less time and encourages women to use humor to reduce stress.

One simple tip is to turn off the sound notification on your e-mail. Then you won't be tempted to run to the computer at its every beep only to find your mailbox full of spam.

"It just seduces your time away," Cashen says.

Cashen suggests handling e-mail in one sitting, scheduling time for it during the day rather than dealing with messages as they arrive.

Another tip is to be assertive when you talk to others.

"Say what you mean, mean what you say and don't be mean when you say it," Cashen says. "We want to work well with others."

However, she says, people who irritate us are everywhere. The trick is to approach them in a way that's effective.

The idea of doing more with less leaves many feeling fatigued. Cashen says that when you ask people how they are, many answer that they're tired.

"We're all tired," she says. "Cry me a river. But why?"

In some cases, it's because the person is trying to do everything perfectly. An example, Cashen says, is the person who spends a large part of her day rearranging dirty dishes in a dishwasher when it really doesn't need to be done.

"You can let some things go," she says. "If dishes are askew, that's okay."

It's good to ask for help and be specific about your needs, but sometimes it makes sense to meet them yourself.

If you crave romance in your life, Cashen says, create it alone. Make a candlelight dinner and put a date with yourself into your planner.

Including yourself in your busy day is often easier said than done, but these small things can make all the difference, according to Cashen.

"Put yourself in your schedule," she says. "You've got everybody else in there."

The Speaking of Women's Health Web offers a free newsletter with more ideas for creating a balanced and healthful lifestyle. Visit