Is Superwoman Syndrome Stressing You Out?
Once upon a time, I wanted to be a superwoman. I wanted to have all the answers, I wanted to be seen to be able to do everything and I wanted to be perfect
But then reality hit me, and it hit me hard! I didn’t have all the answers; trying to do everything was taking me to planet stress and burn out and as for being perfect… what the hell is that?!
So, what did I do? I started taking care of me and redesigned what Superwoman means to me because I meet lots of superwomen and they are not the sum of everything they do for everyone else whilst their health deteriorates. They are women to be valued, loved & honoured.
Fact is, as women we often play up to the superwoman role and then realise much further down the line what that truly means. By then, everyone around us has built a set of expectations and we busy ourselves with little if any regard for our health, trying to fulfil them all whilst wearing a smile.
There is no badge of honour when your health takes a downturn from this stress induced behaviour and the big question is, “Who will take care of the caretaker when the caretaker can no longer maintain the demands being made?”
And the health issues are real. The damage of constant stress cannot be swept aside with phrases of ‘we all get stressed, it’s normal’. Because normal stress and constant stress are not one and the same.
A Few Key Reminders About The Damage Stress Causes:
- When stressed your body releases an array of hormones, one of those being cortisol, a steroid hormone. Within a matter of minutes of releasing cortisol, you lose approx. 50% of your IQ. Imagine the quality of your decision making at this point.
- Cortisol destroys other hormones such as Estrogen & Testosterone and a symptom of that is weight gain.
- Stress is addictive!
So, whilst stress can help in short bursts to alert you something is not right, to save your life even, when it becomes your normal state, it literally can kill you, cutting off your body’s ability to self-care. Your body shifts from being in a state of ease (where it can grow, repair, relax) to dis-ease, where it is constantly fighting.
You Need To Be Able To:
- Identify Your Blind Spots: we all have them; and you can’t see what you don’t know is affecting your stress level (if stress has become your norm there is no way of you knowing what it is like to not feel stressed). With help, guidance & support you can begin to identify when your thinking, behaviours and emotions switch up a gear and ultimately this will help you make the right behavioural changes.
- Breathe: Use breathing to reset the body’s response to stress.
- Get Comfortable With Saying No: Sometimes NO is the right thing to say. No can mean:
- ‘Not right now’ – acknowledging your schedule is already at capacity
- ‘Not me’ – someone else is likely to be better placed/skilled to help with that
- ‘Not something I want to do’ – being honest
- Stop Making Their Emergency Yours: if someone has mismanaged their time to get something done and now ‘put it on you’ with a sense of urgency, manage their expectations by managing your answer. You are not everyone’s firefighter!
- Stop Over-Extending Self: at some point, the constant ‘yes, of course’ will stretch you beyond the limits of your time, physical wellbeing & mental capacity. It is your responsibility to set boundaries.
- Know what’s important right now: keep a master-list of all you have to do so you have a visual cue of what you have already committed to, how important it is to you & for you (rate the activities) and ensure they are in order of importance. That way you can see quickly if you have the time, capacity or the desire to do anything else.
And with all this in mind, I choose to redefine what it means to be a Superwoman:
Self-Care is the order of her day– she knows that when she looks after herself, she is helping everyone who looks to her, who needs her and who wants time with her. Only when she is in her best health state can you truly serve those that matter; she knows it and they see it.
Understands her strengths & weaknesses… and that’s okay. There are things she can do with her eyes closed and there are things that bring her out in a sweat, but she knows how to delegate and ask for the help she requires.
Perfectly Imperfect – she knows perfection isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and being busy trying to be perfect probably means she is not achieving the things she truly wants to. Perfect? Who cares!
Empathetic – she knows she doesn’t have to change her point of view to win people over. Instead, she focuses on putting herself in other people’s shoes so that she can see things as they do, not judging, not telling them they are right or wrong, just acknowledging there is more than one way to see things.
Rallies Others Independence – she understands everyone is here to experience life and grow, including her children. In knowing this, instead of doing for everyone, she encourages independent thinking and behaviours, building their ability to confidently do for self.
Worries less – she knows that worrying does not help, in fact, it hinders because like attracts like. Worrying is for those who are living in the past and she lives in the now!
Open To Learning – she realises that life is a journey; that her learning will continue for as long as she does! She will never have all the answers. Then again, she doesn’t need to.
Motivated To Make Considered Decisions – ‘Decisions get you into action’ and this superwoman knows that when she approaches decisions in a healthy, time & energy considered manner, she can commit to getting things done without any negative impact on her wellbeing
Authentic – ‘What you see is what you get’. This superwoman gets the job done on her terms. She remains true to who she is and no one can take that away. When she says yes or no, you know she means it.
Never Afraid To Ask For Help – She believes that admitting to her mistakes & failures and reaching out for help makes her stronger, not weaker; she is more respected and more trusted. She happily holds her hand up when she is wrong, ‘thanks’ those who are kind enough to correct her and expresses gratitude to those who help her.
And SUPERWOMAN knows she is enough. She doesn’t have to spend all her time ‘proving’ she is amazing by doing everything for everyone. She was born amazing…
Are you ready to drop your cape and put self-care first? If so, book your self-care check up call now! Book Me In Please