One of my co-workers suggested I read the book Burnout, The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski. This book focuses on the expectations put on women, doing everything and doing everything well, giving and giving more. It goes into detail about how women manage emotions, deal with stress, expectations, body image, and most importantly it gives tools to learn how to complete the stress cycle. I would suggest this book if you are looking for more balance in your life and less stress.
The book also talks about Human Giver Syndrome which I had never heard of before, I was very curious about it and thought maybe you would be too. One of the authors of the book. Amelia, defines it as “Human giver syndrome (HGS) is the false, contagious belief that women have a moral obligation to be pretty, happy, calm, generous, and attentive to the needs of others. With HGS, if a giver falls short in any way, she may be punished or even go so far as to punish herself.” Does that sound familiar?
It’s said that the reason most women experience burnout (and always feel tired) is due to emotionally holding space for others, while putting their own feelings and wants aside to keep everyone else happy. In the book it states that the reason so many people feel this way is because society links “womanhood” with caring, giving and nurturing. Woman are expected to be the “good girl” and be there for their friends, family, and kids even if that means putting their own needs/wants on the back burner.
When we are tired or get frustrated we turn it inward like we have done something wrong. Why am I exhausted? Why do my kids frustrate me? Why am I not good enough?
We need to stop believe that we need to be all things to everyone, we need to stop believing self-care is selfish. We need to learn that we matter too. Being a good friend, wife, and mother does not come from giving everything we have to others and becoming invisible to ourselves.
You are allowed to set boundaries, you are allowed to have alone time, you are allowed to be tired, you are allowed to focus on YOU. This actually makes you a better person and a better friend, wife, and mother.
I know for some this seems impossible so I would encourage you to take small steps in setting boundaries, it could be something as simple as you want a relaxing weekend and then your friend invites you to do something, say “That sounds fun but I am going to relax this weekend and have some me time. “ I promise you a friend is not going to be mad at you for that. Once you do it a few times it does get easier.
Steps you can take:
- Setting Limits- It is okay to say no. You want to make sure your schedule and what you commit to is actually what you want to do and is manageable.
- Find your own ways to take a break- I find it works best if I schedule my breaks (down time) I know that may sound crazy but with work, starting a business, two busy kids in sports it’s the only way I can ensure I get downtown. Your body and your mind will tell you “you need a break” listen to it and take it.
- What other people think if you is none of your business! A lot of people especially women tend to put too much weight into what others will think… what will so and so think if I don’t go to that party, if I don’t volunteer at that school event, if my kids don’t have the over the top birthday party. Guess what … it does not matter, what matters is what YOU want to do, what makes you happy.
- Stay Healthy- Yup, there it is again that overall health thing LOL. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, moving your body every day, eating healthy food, meditating. All of these things will not only give you the energy you need every day but will center you and create some balance.
- Finishing the Stress Cycle- This is what the book Burnout is all about, let yourself feel the emotions, cry if you have to, make sure you have emotional connections.
If you think you may have human giver syndrome (I think if you are a woman, you do LOL) I highly suggest you check out this book Burnout!