“The Price of Being a Woman: A Look at Self-Care and Ways to Avoid Burnout
Written by Michelle Fletcher, Northwestern New York District: May 22, 2015
It’s no secret that women are not strangers to hard work. In many arenas, we are the world’s adhesive. Hand-made by God, we are warm nurturing creatures that cultivate life into its greatest potential. But, with that rewarding purpose is an equally demanding responsibility - not just to the people and institutions to which we are obligated, but more importantly, to ourselves. We often overlooked ourselves which leaves us deprived of the very care and attention we freely give to others.
According to a Forbes article, “a growing number of young women who seem to “have it all” are burning out at work before they reach 30.” This is primarily attributed to the fact that women are more likely to sacrifice self-care for what may appear to be a long-term gain and secondly, men are more likely to engage in activities that help their personal wellbeing such as exercise, thus negating burnout. As a result of these unhealthy choices, there is an increasing trend of women experiencing “physical shutdown.”
One millennial described this experience as an inability to balance all of her responsibilities and a lack of self-care causing her to faint and become excessively fatigued. While there was no alarming medical condition, doctors recommended a healthy dosage of rest, lots of water and a regular exercise regimen for starters. Essentially, making healthier lifestyle choices versus goal-oriented health kicks are more rewarding. For example, getting in shape for the biggest of the social event of the summer may shed a couple of pounds but will soon be forgotten once the goal is met.
The most important tip to remember is that self-care is an intentional lifestyle. No millennial woman, with all of her responsibilities and goals, just happens to have a spare hour to go to the gym or even a few extra dollars to buy organic foods. These are decisions that must be planned into your daily schedule and budget in order to avoid burnout. With the proper amount rest, water, exercise, a balanced diet and intimacy with the Father, you will find that you are physically equipped to take on those frequent 16-hour days, which often seem unbearable.
While this is certainly easier said than done, we must consider the physical demand we put on our bodies. We want to perform on our jobs, have energy to enjoy our family, engage in weekly worship, work on long-term projects and complete all of the other necessary tasks. We have to drive to and from our various destinations, pick up groceries and help with homework all in one day and do all of them well. Yet, we suffer from malnourishment, an inadequate amount of rest and dehydration which will either negatively affect our attitudes and hence our performance, or when in extreme deprivation, result in a burnout which can even lead to hospitalization.
As the nucleus of our homes, churches and so many other places that we visit, it is essential that we have the energy and strength to fulfill our obligations. If we believe God has entrusted us to care for humanity, whether it be children, spouses, friends, mentees or a congregation, how much more should we care for ourselves so that we are coherent enough to hear God concerning those he has entrusted us with. Since God communes with us, we must be mindful to keep an environment that is conducive for His presence such as stillness, agility, peace and discernment; all attributes that can be negatively affected if a woman chooses to not participate in self-care. One thing’s for sure, a cranky woman whose tired and depleted is unable to do her best at the tasks God has given her goal.
Self-care is not a guilty pleasure nor is it an excuse to indulge in vanity but rather, it is a necessity that sustains a woman’s individual wellness so that she can enrich the lives of others.