Dear Rabbi Brody,
I'm the only Jewish female executive in my company (finance). If I always worked under pressure, then now - with the recessive economy and 1/3 of our staff laid off - I now work under phenomenal pressure. I can't sleep at night, thinking about whether I've made the right decisions for my clients and the best for my company. I'm afraid of sleeping pills, but I'm so tired and edgy lately. My boyfriend terminated our relationship, complaining that my career monopolizes my time and strength. Please give me some urgent advice. Signed, Baggy Eyes
Dear Baggy Eyes,
The rigors of your profession stress your brain yet shortchange your body. After work, change into your most comfortable walking clothes, and walk briskly for sixty minutes. Once you burn a few hundred calories exercising, you can eat whatever you like, but please, no junk food! Listen to your favorite instrumental mood music while taking a luxurious bath, and don't forget to add a cup of baking soda to your bath water. As bedtime approaches, curl up in bed with a glass of chamomile tea and your favorite book. I suggest you read The Garden of Emuna and The Trail to Tranquility. Soon, your eyelids will feel like barbells.
Now that you turn off the lights, don't be afraid of the recurring worries. Remember, the mind can move quickly from thought to thought, but can only focus on one thought at a time. If your brain acts like an undisciplined horse, remember that you hold the reins. Force the "horse" to go in the direction you choose. I suggest you make a nightly inventory of thanks. Begin by thanking the Almighty for each limb, organ and appendage of your body. Stop and think how difficult life would be without your eyesight, hearing, sense of smell, etc. Express your appreciation for each heartbeat and every breath. As your thanks progress from head to toe, before you reach your eighth rib, you'll be sound asleep with no pills.
As for losing your boyfriend, don't worry; someone more worthy is waiting for you. You've been spending the bulk of your time in the fast lane of a highly competitive, demanding, and dry men's world with little compassion, so you need to return some femininity to yourself. Commit to the mitzvah of lighting Shabbat candles every week, and immediate after lighting the candles, ask Hashem for whatever you want. Also, learn how to bake challas. If your apartment had the smell of fresh-baked challas on Friday afternoon, no man in his right mind will ever let you go. By the way, I've never seen a divorce in a family that eats home-baked challas.
Let G-d worry about Wall Street and the Chicago futures market. Once you've put forward your best effort, leave the anxiety in the office. If you stick to the above advice, within thirty days, Miss Baggy Eyes will look ten years younger. Blessings always, LB