Today’s modern woman wears multiple hats: wife, mother, employee, entrepreneur, etc. just to name a few. To complicate matters, within each of these roles lie multifaceted responsibilities that can require transformation of those responsibilities within a moments notice. Boundaries can become blurred or non existent while expectations remain high to meet the challenges.
Long gone are women solely responsible for fulfilling the duties only within the boundaries of maintaining her household (please believe that is not an easy feat either). So the expectations remain high, the boundaries are blurred, and the responsibilities become insurmountable, what does today’s modern woman do?
Characteristics Of A SuperWoman
She takes on the characteristics of a SUPERwoman...she becomes everything to everyone, all the time...she becomes the problem solver, the mediator, the negotiator, the networker, the doctor, the lawyer, the teacher, advocator, the nurse, the teacher, and the list goes on. If I have not named your profession, trust me this list is not an exhaustive list new occupations, expectations, and responsibilities are added daily, often times without SUPERwoman’s permission or at best she is reluctant to say “NO” . If by chance she does say “NO” it is often not without guilt (a side effect of the woman pleaser mentality, that is another blog subject for another time).
There is just one small problem SUPERwoman is everything to everyone BUT herself. After she is finished saving the day by meeting the needs of all those that she encounters daily there is little, if any room to nurture herself, and replenish her power source. She is left with an empty reservoir as she stands alert and ready to respond to her next summons for help. So when does SUPERwoman STOP the rollercoaster and get off to respond to her own needs?
Signs And Symptoms Related to SuperWoman Syndrome
Unfortunately, many times its after a warning sign that includes stress related induced illnesses like heart disease, digestive disorders, autoimmune diseases, sleeping disorders, and depression. Wait, depression? Yes, depression...many women suffer from depression more often than men. Is it possible to be depressed frequently when we are engrossed in supporting and serving others?
Shouldn’t we as SUPERwoman find fulfillment in serving others? How is it possible that each year women suffer from an equal amount of heart attacks as men according to the American Heart Association? Doesn’t our SUPERwoman status make us invincible to these diseases and disorders?
Surely our love, devotion, and servitude to those that we faithfully serve in the execution of our SUPERwomanly duties should be justification to ward off pesky illness, and diseases that threaten our mission as SUPERwomen?
But the statistics say so otherwise! For example, suicide rates for women between the ages of 45-54 were the highest among females in 2017 according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Women die at alarming rates from heart attacks each year at more than 200,000 or five times as many as women with breast cancer, according to the Center for Disease Control. Globally, women are disabled by depression and anxiety more than men including major depression according to the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience.
It stands to reason that while we are busy saving everyone else that we as SUPERwomen are missing the mark, and falling short as it relates to saving ourselves from preventable illnesses that are stress related. By the way the statistics are higher for women of color, we die at more alarming rates than the general population, and we tend to get medical attention later (we ignore the warning signs longer).
So what can we do to change some of these statistics to become better equipped in taking care of ourselves while serving others?
4 tips for the modern woman to care for herself FIRST!
1. First, be honest with yourself...There is no SUPERwoman, Wonder Woman, or other SUPERhumans! There now that that has been resolved let’s get really honest to determine the true motivation for saying yes, when we really may want to, or need to say “NO”. Sometimes we say YES simply because we don’t want to offend others, disappoint others, we want to be liked by others, or we are afraid that others may reject us. It is OK to say “NO” without apologies, without explanation, and without guilt!
Practice saying “NO” in the mirror, or writing it in your journal. Get comfortable with “NO” it may save your life.
2. Learning to hear the cry of your voice screaming for help requires time being silent. Yes, it is necessary to STOP putting out fires for others… hang up the cape, and save yourself!
Begin to honestly question your motivation for saying YES to everyone, and essentially saying NO to yourself.
3. Let’s face it we all get 24 hours in each day...if we pack it with projects there is NO time leftover for self-care! In fact, 1,440 minutes isn’t a whole lot of time when you think about. it. My point is that we will not get added minutes, hours, or days...time is precious, and limited! One of the best things that we can do as WONDERFUL women living SUPER lives is to make a daily decision to spend quality time with ourselves everyday BEFORE serving others.
Praying in the mornings, journaling, meditating, and exercising are all healthy tools for replenishing our reservoir, before beginning to serve others.
4. Listen to the warning signs...your body is calling you! It is a scientific fact that our bodies cannot live in a constant fight or flight state. All the stress of being everything to everyone at all times, is a lot of pressure for anyone. Minor aches and pains, extended moments of feeling blue, and feelings of constant exhaustion can be from more than flying through the skies and saving a damsel in distress!
Schedule a doctors appointment, learn the warning signs for heart disease, lose a little weight, but most important STOP ignoring your own cry for help. You deserve your service, dedication, and loyalty to live your best life!
Written by: Coach Tanya R. Bankston