About fifteen years ago someone asked me what I wanted for my birthday – I answered - three more of me. I felt I needed one of me to help manage my children and household duties, another one of me to go to work and pursue a career and another one to handle my responsibilities in church and the other me - just to do everything else in between.
I believe many women have convinced themselves that they need to be “Superwoman or Supermom”. They to be anything less would be unacceptable and deemed as a failure in this society. Unfortunately, as a result of buying into this myth many women have burned out or either compromised their health, mental stability and appearance. Additionally, many single and married moms have compromised their ability to sustain a healthy family and themselves in the midst of all the chaos.
Am I guilty? Yes, I too experienced burnout and I'm also guilty of taking on too many responsibilities that only added unnecessary pressure. It seem like the more I said I was exhausted and tired of being too busy, the more I added to my “To Do List”. As a result, I found myself becoming physically and mentally drained.
For the most part, I pride myself on being on point and on top of things. However, I realized I was beginning to forget things; and I noticed it was taking too much effort to remember my “To Do List” and keep all my commitments. My turn around point that slowed me down came in 2013. One cloudy day I will never forget, I was sitting in my pajamas working on the computer only to get a phone call asking - Where are you? - Are you on your way? The soon to be M.S Graduates from a prestigious college were waiting on me to review their resumes, conduct mock interviews and offer career advice. I gasped for air and was so, so embarrassed and apologetic. Words could not describe how badly I felt – “Not me forgetting” to do something I was so passionate about. I am the “The Do Right Woman” as Certified Image Consultant Lois Rochford shares.
Well, I apologized over and over again via email and by phone. Needless to say I was never invited back. What a wake-up call…. I knew I had to get a handle on things. I deliberately forced myself to slow down and reassess my approach to balancing my life. Am I still busy? A resounding yes! But I have learned to "Come Apart Before I Come Apart".
10 tips to help you Come Apart!!!
- Get rid of the guilt. You don’t have to be a superwoman or supermom. And don't let society or anyway make you feel differently. And please don’t measure yourself up to someone else’s capability. Every woman is physically, mentally and emotionally built differently; and we have different support systems. For eg. Not everyone has parents to babysit their children while they go back to school and work at the same time.
- Find things to make you laugh. As the saying goes “ A Merry Heart does good like a medicine”
- I used to hear this lady say “Come Apart – Before You Come Apart” – when you are burnt out you have to take time – be it 10 mins, 30 mins, 1 day or more –separate yourself for a while.
- Go out or take yourself out on a date or do something nice for yourself at your leisure (at least once a month if possible) – don’t make it another obligation though.
- Get a support system, like a friend or colleague to pull your coat when you are doing too much or that you can talk to and use as a shoulder to cry on. Shedding tears is healthy and adds strength to move on.
- Take up a hobby that makes you feel better or that you can pick back up to help you cope with being burnt out.
- Regroup, reevaluate and reassess what is more important in life, and which obligations are necessary and which can be trimmed or eliminated.
- Allow others to help you relieve some of your burden – it can be a child or spouse at home or colleagues at work or a just friend. The help can be long-term or just temporary but it may be the time you need to help you get through the burnt out period.
- Take a vacation or as the saying goes "staycation" but take some time away from the everyday demands in life and relax or just do something you like