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March 26, 2014
by Rosemary Fromson, MPCP, RPC, CCPCPR

Professional Women and Burnout

March 26, 2014 02:55 by Rosemary Fromson, MPCP, RPC, CCPCPR

Burning the candle at both ends

Hello my female cohorts!  Have you ever found yourself so tired that even a vacation didn't ground you?  Well, know you are in good company.

Women tend to strive more for excellence; to prove themselves.  Not that men don't feel they need to prove themselves, but women have an extra push to show that they are smart, knowledgeable, capable, and able to handle just about anything and everything.  Research shows that women are still not as "committed" as men.  Women are often referred to as bossy when they are actually being assertive.

Women were the nurturers, the ones who stayed home and took care of the children and the familial home.  They were nurses, transportation experts, teachers, coaches, lovers, disciplinarians, cleaners, bakers, cooks, gardeners, and social secretaries.  Along came the 60's and "we burned our bras and we burned our dinners. And we burned our candles at both ends, And we've had some children.." (Lyrics K.T. Oslin).

Professional women tend to still burn the candle at both ends.  As we continue to strive for equality in the workforce, we also continue to be the main caretakers of the familial home.  Yes I know times are changing and there are some men who stay home, but let's face it, it is not the norm.  There are more women who work and take care of the home than men do.  

Why the push to be the best at everything we do?  

Have you ever examined the way you were raised?  Was your mom the stay at home and taking in or doing whatever work she could to help out.  What were the set of tenants that you lived your life by?  What era did you grow up in?  Were your parents from the depression era?  Were you from the era where it was important for the males in the family to have the education and you were to find a husband?  Is it cultural?  Were you raised before the women's movement happened?

Because of all the above, we may push ourselves harder than we really need to.  It is okay to take time to process things, you don't have know the answers on the spot.  It is okay to take lunch and breaks, as a matter of fact taking that time will actually make you more productive.  Close your door and take 5 minutes to just breathe and perhaps do a one minute meditation.  You will thank yourself for the self-care when you are able to be cognitively present.

I know that I was a divorced mother of two by the time I was 24.  I worked 2 jobs and went to night school.  Although I may have role modeled determination, I also left my children to be latch key kids and grow up with babysitters.  Why did I strive so hard?  Because in my case I was in an abusive marriage and I set out to prove that I wasn't "useless, fat, and ugly".  I wanted people to be proud of me; my children, my parents, and I wanted to show that deadbeat that I WAS somebody.

That drive never left me.  I didn't realize how tired I was until I quit working two jobs and started to travel more.  I absolutely love what I do for a living; being in the helping field.  I also know that I AM valuable and I require time to recharge.

Take care of yourself first

So women, if you don't take the time to look after yourself how do you expect to help look after others.  The analogy I use with my clients is the airplane analogy:  If you are on a plane with a child and the oxygen masks drop you are to put yours on first so that you will be capable of helping out your child.  If not you may faint and your child will be left without help and could die.  You MUST take care of yourself first.

Boundaries, and balance in life are essential and especially for those professional excellence seekers.  You don't have to be perfect, you just have to be the best you that you can be.  Happy in yourself will be happy in the lives of those around you.

It is important that we remember we are women and we are already excellent. Please nurture yourself because the world needs you.  Be kind to yourself.  Love, Love, Love!

About the Author

Rosemary Fromson Rosemary Fromson, MPCC, RPC,

My practice involves client centered counselling. One size DOES NOT fit all. "Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent. - Marilyn vos Savant:.

Rosemary Fromson has a clinical practice in Abbotsford, BC

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