Breaking the Silence: Understanding Burnout in Women
In today’s fast-paced world, women often find themselves juggling multiple roles and responsibilities. From balancing careers, family life, social obligations, and personal aspirations, the pressure can sometimes become overwhelming. As a result, burnout, a state of chronic physical and emotional exhaustion, has become an all-too-common phenomenon among women. If this describes you, you are not alone. There are well established unique challenges that contribute to burnout in women. This burnout has specific impacts on our lives, and there are practical strategies which we can implement for either prevention and recovery. Ive just finished leading a Burnout to Blossom retreat where almost 600 hundred women registered, just over 100 turned up live, many more watched the session replays and connected with the retreat resources. This is our context – we are busy, fragmented and as women we are often deeply socialised to put our own needs to the back of the line over and over again. My understanding of this reality is deepening with every opportunity I have to support a woman to prevent or recover from burnout and return to her own inner calm. This was the first retreat though that I not only consciously welcomed in the part time participants and those who caught our session replays, but I also held in awareness and acknowledged in our community each time we gathered those who had intended to participate but did not make it.
Burnout is real. We can prevent it and recover from it. I write this to encourage any woman who is concerned about burnout to know that you are not alone and you can recover. Burnout is not a moral judgement. Burnout simply means that you have been carrying too much stress for too long. This is solvable. Stay with me. Read on. Identify whee you are at, and then take some action.
Burnout – The Silent Epidemic:
Burnout knows no boundaries, affecting people from all walks of life. However, we know from recent research that women are particularly susceptible due to various societal, cultural, and personal factors. Society’s expectations of women to excel in both professional and domestic spheres, commonly known as the “double shift,” often places an immense burden on their shoulders. The relentless pursuit of perfection in multiple domains can gradually chip away at their physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
- Work-related pressures: The demanding nature of work, long hours, excessive workload, and a lack of recognition or opportunities for growth can take a toll on women’s mental health. The persistent gender inequalities and glass ceilings prevalent in many industries only add to the stress.
- Caregiver roles: Women often assume the primary caregiving responsibilities for children, aging parents, or other family members. The emotional and physical demands of caring for others, coupled with societal expectations, can lead to self-neglect and emotional exhaustion.
- Societal expectations: The societal expectations placed on women to be nurturing, self-sacrificing, and successful in all areas of life can be overwhelming. Balancing personal desires, relationships, and social commitments with external pressures can create a sense of being constantly stretched thin.
Recognising the Signs
Recognising the signs of burnout is crucial for early intervention. Women experiencing burnout may exhibit a range of symptoms, including chronic fatigue, insomnia, irritability, reduced concentration, loss of interest, feelings of detachment, and physical ailments such as headaches or stomachaches. It is important not to dismiss these symptoms as mere signs of stress but rather as indicators of a deeper problem that requires attention.
Taking Control and Seeking Support:
- Prioritise self-care: Make self-care a non-negotiable aspect of your routine. Set aside time for activities that bring you joy, relaxation, and replenishment. Engage in exercise, mindfulness practices, hobbies, or spending quality time with loved ones.
- Establish boundaries: Learn to say no and set clear boundaries in both personal and professional domains. Delegate tasks, seek support from family and friends, and communicate your needs effectively. Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup.
- Seek support networks: Connect with like-minded women who understand your struggles. Whether it’s through support groups, online communities, or mentorship programs, building a support network can provide validation, guidance, and a sense of belonging.
- Challenge societal norms: Challenge societal expectations and redefine success on your own terms. Embrace the idea that balance, self-compassion, and personal growth are more important than meeting unrealistic standards set by others.
Taking action to return to your own inner calm.
Burnout in women is an alarming issue that deserves attention and action. By understanding the unique challenges women face and acknowledging the signs of burnout, we can begin to address the issue effectively. It’s time to break the silence surrounding burnout in women and create supportive environments that value their well-being. Together, we can empower women to prioritise real self-care, and mental health, redefine success, and so lead lives that are truly fulfilling.
Foundational to redressing the prevalence of burnout in amazing, kind, committed women in all walks of life is Remembering that real self-care is not selfish—it is an essential step towards a healthier and happier life.
Burnout to Blossom
You can be supported on your own pathway from Burnout to Blossoming by joining me and other amazing women who are done with the cult of busy, hustle culture and the exhaustion of 21st century always on culture in a simple, supportive, evidence based pathway home to calm with Blossom.
Book a burnout to blossom consult with me here