Women are more prone to burnout than men, new research suggests.
The research also revealed that along with not having enough authority at work, low self-esteem, difficulties balancing work and family life, and work encroaching on time spent on loved ones, can all lead to burnout in women.
Did it have to take a global pandemic to realize that we may want to work, be, love, and live differently than pre-COVID-19?
The question really is, how did we get here as women, and what signals were we ignoring in our bodies that were trying to tell us something?
The truth is it all started in the late 60s as we en masse entered the workforce where we found ourselves competing with men in a world that was built by men for men. Today, and probably for a long time, this isn’t serving any of us with 60 – 80 hour work weeks, long commutes, and wanting a partner a family and a life outside of work.
Here are 5 reasons why burnout could be worse for women
#1 The Biology Of Burnout
I know that women’s “hormones” have been used against them for centuries, but this shouldn’t have become a reason for us to ignore them or deny that they exist. And, what if they hold a bunch of secrets that have been telling us something for decades about how we need to be in life.
Simply put, our hormone cocktail is quite different than men’s, and that’s a good thing!
And what if, in understanding them better, us better, we could realize how to work with this unique feminine cocktail and not against it? What if they’re telling us how to live more successfully…more fully?
The work environment has been built on testosterone for decades. It’s burning us all out, but for women, it’s taking a devasting toll on our energy, our relationships, our dreams and, our sense of purpose.
#2 Being Overly Masculine
What this leads to is us becoming overly masculine.
Working like a man doesn’t work anymore, well, if you’re a woman.
Women naturally have 1/10 to 1/20 the amount of testosterone than men do.
On a day to day basis, the level of pushing, striving, and driving that women do in the corporate world to compete and succeed, pulls on our hormone system to, at the very least, “act” more masculine.
This is what I call being in “man-mode” in my coaching with women. We start to be, do, and act like men, but our hormone system and our feminine energy isn’t built for this constant do do do and work like a dog until you drop.
We’ve repressed out feminine power, believing that by being more masculine, we’ll get the raise, climb the ladder, and be seen as more credible.
Perhaps we need to revisit this ancient belief system, that we all seem to have unconsciously agreed with.
#3 Out-Breath Time
Women need spaciousness, we need gaps in between things. We need to breathe out after we’ve breathed in. But, our lives have become about filling in every single gap with something.
What if we….just….stopped.
Meditation is a great way to spend this time, as it not only takes us deeper into ourselves, our energy, our consciousness, but it brings stillness and peace inside of all of the noise and complexity of life.
In these gaps, this spaciousness reveals that our raw, innate feminine creativity gets a chance to breathe.
Our innate creativity also demands space around it to grow. Think about how a baby grows in our bodies for nine months. There’s wisdom in the timing of nature. And nature is very closely linked to our raw feminine power. You can’t rush things sometimes, even when everything around us insists to the contrary.
#4 Superwoman Will Die…Sooner
What if our power actually comes from our feminine energy, something that our female hormones might be pointing to?
This notion of superwoman is really a woman trying to prove herself still worthy of the job, the man, the promotion.
She’s really being like a man, and not like a woman at all.
A recent Harris Poll survey revealed that 48% of the women surveyed said their burnout is so extreme it keeps them up at night.
#5 Self Care
When our self-care signals are ignored, our needs for sleep, touch, quality time with our partner, kids, or community also suffer.
When we do this routinely, we’re eventually heading to burnout that may be hard to reverse.
The Harris Poll survey also reported that 63% of women say they feel like they’ve worked an entire day before even arriving at the office.
I know, because I was that woman in my 30s burning the candle at both ends and in the middle. It became such a habit to “push through” as if that was a good thing, the most righteous path as a busy, ambitious professional.
I certainly had no role models for self-care or taking time out for myself and away from my habitual man-mode of operating.
#6 Purpose And Desire
We burnout, too, when we’re not aligned with our purpose, when we’re doing what we “thought” was our purpose in life but was really based on conditioning and even the well-meaning guidance of parents or friends.
It could also be due to our education or even our religious or socio-economic background leaning us toward work that isn’t what we really want and isn’t who we really are.
But when we as women tap into our desires, we start getting plugged back into our power source, our feminine power source. This leads to longevity, creativity, growth, and rich enjoyment of our life, love, and relationships.