8 Ways To Tackle Superwoman Syndrome!

Are you suffering from superwoman syndrome? Here are a few simple steps on how to drop the burden of being a superwoman! 

Are you suffering from superwoman syndrome? Here are a few simple steps on how to drop the burden of being a superwoman! 

Every evening, Aarti is clock-watching while she throws herself into a frenzy of activity. There is dinner to be prepared, job-related calls to be made, her daughter needs help with homework, and the plumber has to be called to fix the kitchen sink … the list is endless. And she feels constantly tired.

All she wants to do is curl up under the quilt and have a nap. But, she can’t. Aarti is forced to be a superwoman, and it’s taking a toll on her.

But, when her boss gives her a thumbs-up, a surge of new energy fills her. And, when her daughter gives her a hug for ‘being the best mother ever’, the world seems a wonderful place to be in. But is it?

The woman in the illustration above could be you. If you are trying hard to juggle a career, household chores, childcare responsibilities, a social life, and exercise, you are probably trying to be a superwoman. And, this is not good for either your mental or physical well-being.

When a woman is praised for being a superwoman by her husband and family, you wonder do they think the superwoman has 36 hours in a day as compared to the 24 hours others have. A superwoman does not need appreciation, she needs help and support.

What is superwoman syndrome?

The idea of a superwoman arose way back during the second-wave feminist movement in the 1960s and 1970s. The term ‘superwoman’ was formally coined in 1984 by the author of the book The Superwoman Syndrome, Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz.

In a bid to fulfil all socially defined roles, she ends up being overworked and overwhelmed. Constant anxiety and chronic fatigue may result.

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“I think trying to be a superwoman has its perils. Nobody should try to be one. Striving to be perfect could lead to depression. There could be marital conflict as the woman feels under-appreciated and stressed. The burden of caregiving of elders, which invariably falls on women, could cause immense stress. A woman may also be at conflict with herself. It is important for a woman to realize what is meaningful for her. And, also what she can realistically accomplish,” explains Dr Urmi Nanda Biswas, psychologist and academician who has a special interest in gender studies.

“First generation working women feel the pressure of being superwomen more because they are constrained by societal expectations to be good wives, mothers and daughters-in-law. If their child is not doing well at school or their in-laws are not happy, the women get blamed. At the same time, at the workplace, women have to work four times harder to be perceived to be as good as male counterparts. Younger women, in general, have more freedom and more support from their partners,” says Dr Biswas.

How to stop being a superwoman?

Breaking out of the superwoman syndrome is not easy! It takes time and conscious effort to shed the burdens and drop the expectations that have been piled upon you. Hence, don’t be afraid to disappoint some people in your life.

Here 8 simple ways to tackle superwoman syndrome!

Go easy on yourself

You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. You don’t have to carry all your burdens alone.

Expect others to be self-reliant

Instead of constantly trying to meet the needs of spouse and children, urge them to become self-reliant.

Learn to delegate

Share household responsibilities with your partner. Involve your older children in helping out with chores.

Take time out for yourself

Self-care should be a priority. Apart from following a healthy diet, exercising and getting sufficient sleep, make time for an occasional massage, going out for a coffee with friends, and sleep in during the weekends.

Cultivate hobbies

Revive old hobbies or take up new ones. Music, dancing, art, or a sport – anything you fancy. These can be excellent stress busters. Join a book club or movie club, which will also help you socialize with people having similar interests.

Learn to prioritize

Learn to say no. And, over-scheduling is a no-no. Just no! Over-scheduling causes stress, and stresses harms sleeping pattern! And bad sleep in the night ruins next day

Set realistic goals

Ditch perfectionism. Be kind to yourself. Perfectionism a mirage, the faster we let go, the happier we will be.

Stop comparisons

Don’t compare yourself to your peers who are more efficient than you, have cleaner homes, better marriages, or more sorted children.

We, women, want to have it all, but sometimes we set the bars too high for ourselves! It is okay to let go, and it is okay if you can’t achieve it all. It is always better to delay something today rather than wake up exhausted tomorrow!

Image Source: PRImagefctory, via Getty Images, free on CanvaPro

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About the Author

Aruna Raghuram

I am a freelance journalist and write on parenting, personalities, women’s issues, environment, and other social causes. read more...

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