While some people are not convinced that there should be a day dedicated to thinking about women and our role in the world, the more I do the work I do, the more convinced I become of the need for it.
The vast majority of the clients who come to me for Burnout Recovery coaching are women. Some may argue (and I may agree) that this is because women are more comfortable with showing vulnerability and seeking help. And it is also true that women bear some responsibilities and burdens that men do not; burdens that make them very susceptible to exhaustion and burnout.
The Burden of Responsibility
Women have a whole lot of roles and responsibilities to fulfil; we are mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, friends, carers. We work, both in and outside of the home. We play active roles in our communities. Of course, men also play multiple roles, but it seems to me that my female clients are expected – by themselves just as much as by others – to play more roles than my male clients are.
The constant juggling of expectations, roles and responsibilities is very, very tiring.
The Burden of Patriarchy
Being a woman in a Man’s World (even though it isn’t nearly as exclusionary or Manly as it once was) is a lot to bear. We have to fight to prove ourselves, to be heard, to be taken seriously. We and our knowledge and ideas are often overlooked, patronised or mansplained to.
Keeping our tempers while fighting to be heard is very, very tiring.
The Burden of Vulnerability
Women are vulnerable. We are vulnerable to emotional and physical abuse and attack. We are vulnerable to exploitation. We are constantly on guard; looking over our shoulders to check that we are safe and being injected with a surge of adrenaline whenever we fear that we may not be.
The struggle to stay safe, both in and out of our own homes, is very, very tiring.
Women get overwhelmed because we are overburdened. And we add to our societal burdens by taking on more than we can manage, by saying yes instead of no, and by not asking for sorely-needed help.
Which is why, I believe, so many of my burnout clients are women.
We need to support ourselves and each other to feel less overwhelmed and exploited. We need to put down those of our burdens that it is possible to put down; we have enough to bear without adding unnecessary obligations. We need to give ourselves a break.
How can you lighten your load this month? I’d love to hear your ideas.