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9 Unique Reasons Why Women Are Burning Out At An Alarming Rate

There are a complex web of factors contributing to the burnout epidemic among women.

Reasons Why Women Burnout - exhausted woman lying on street
Image : Oscar Keys - Unsplash

Understanding Why Women Burn Out

In our whirlwind of a world, it often feels like we're stuck on a perpetual hamster wheel, endlessly striving to meet the ever-expanding demands of work, family, and society.

Women are facing unprecedented levels of stress and burnout. It's a shocking truth that women bear the brunt of work-related stress and burnout, facing a 20% higher risk compared to men.

Many women find themselves at a crossroads, contemplating leaving the workforce altogether. It's not just about the high cost of childcare or the lack of flexible work arrangements; it's a disillusionment with the very essence of work today.

The precious moments with our families become fleeting, while feelings of being undervalued or undermined, especially in male-dominated environments, weigh heavily on our minds.

But let's dive deeper. What are some of the unique reasons more women are burning out?

1. The Impact of Capitalism on Burnout

Beyond the surface-level struggles lies a systemic issue: capitalism. This model thrives on extracting maximum value, treating humans as mere resources. It perpetuates a culture of inadequacy, fuelled by relentless marketing, and fosters toxic competition, particularly in corporate settings.

2. Self Care is Relegated to the Bottom of the List

When the system keeps us perpetually busy and distracted, when is there time for self care? In the midst of this chaos, women are still expected to prioritise everyone else's needs above their own, often neglecting their own well-being in the process.

3. The Myth of More and Never Being Enough

From a young age, many of us are taught or conditioned to believe that success and happiness come from working harder and achieving more.

The underlying message was that we were not enough. Then the media and marketing campaigns reinforced that idea, showing is that there were specific standards of beauty, or cultural expectations, and that we needed to strive for perfection to be worthy. We needed to attain a certain standard of beauty or usefulness to be loved and accepted.

This relentless pursuit of of never feeling enough leads to consuming more stuff we don't need, competing in environments not suited to us, unwelcome financial pressure, constant comparison and insecurity.

Many women have internalised the belief that they are not worthy of success or recognition. This phenomenon, known as Imposter Syndrome, is particularly prevalent among women who feel like frauds despite their accomplishments.

This sometimes shows itself especially when we're having low confidence moments and we start to downplay our achievements, attribute our success to luck or timing, and constantly second-guess ourselves. This pattern of thinking and behaving contributes to feelings of self-doubt and low self esteem.

4. Navigating Societal Expectations and Conditioning

Most of us are conditioned to behave a certain way to receive a specific reward or validation. When we grow into adults, we unwittingly keep following the same rules we grew up with as children.

"Speak when you’re spoken to", "play nice" , and "don’t rock the boat". This leads to us living unfulfilled lives, staying in bad marriages, accepting bad treatment from bosses, being taken advantage of by friends, and ultimately burning out due to perfectionism. This is known as the Good Girl Syndrome.

The pressure to live up to this ideal has been immense, leaving us often feeling inadequate and overwhelmed as we struggle to meet these unrealistic expectations.

5. The Pressure to "Have It All"

While feminism has made significant strides towards gender equality, it has also created an unnatural pressure for women to excel in all areas of life.

Some women may feel pressured to constantly prove themselves in male-dominated spaces or meet unrealistic standards of success, leading to chronic stress and self-doubt.

This unrealistic expectation has had a detrimental impact on our well-being.

6. The Double Shift and The Invisible Workload

Women often find themselves juggling multiple roles—the infamous "double shift" of professional and domestic duties—leaving them feeling overwhelmed and depleted. The strain of managing competing responsibilities has an impact on women's well-being.

On top of that, most women take responsibility for tasks like organising family schedules, coordinating appointments, dealing with kid's homework, managing the family to-do list and providing emotional support to family members. The invisible workload refers to the numerous tasks and responsibilities that often go unnoticed and unacknowledged, particularly within the realm of domestic and emotional labour.

It's difficult to quantify or recognise the full extent of these responsibilities, hence the term "invisible workload."

This imbalance can lead to feelings of exhaustion, stress, and overwhelm, particularly for women who are already juggling multiple roles and responsibilities in their personal and professional lives.

7. Recognising the Toll of Menopause

And just when you thought it couldn't get any harder, menopause enters the picture. It's like adding fuel to an already raging fire—physically, emotionally, and cognitively challenging, it can exacerbate feelings of frustration and inadequacy.

In addition, cognitive impacts like "brain fog" and memory difficulties exacerbate feelings of frustration and inadequacy. Alongside these challenges, women must navigate psychological adjustments, including coming to terms with the end of fertility and changes in identity.

The mid-life crisis is exactly the intersection where of hormones, stress and the re-evaluation of identity meet. This plays a role too in women asking, "is this all there is to my life?"

8. Addressing Structural Barriers and Inequalities

Despite progress, structural barriers and inequalities persist, making it difficult for women to balance work and family responsibilities. Discrimination, unequal pay, and limited support services only add to the burden.

9. The Culture Of Individualism

Modern society emphasises personal success and self-reliance, often neglecting the importance of community and collective well-being. This focus on individual achievement can lead to isolation and reluctance to seek help, exacerbating feelings of burnout.

So how do we counteract this all?

A woman praying or meditating - an antidote to why women burnout
Image : Ben White - Unsplash

Cultivating Resilience and Reclaiming Yourself

As you can see, the burnout epidemic among women is a symptom of larger systemic issues.

By addressing the root causes of burnout and empowering ourselves and each other, we can break free from the cycle of burnout and create a more sustainable and equitable future.

Recognising our inherent worth, questioning and resisting societal pressures, prioritising self-care, setting boundaries, and seeking support is key to combating burnout.

Are you ready to reclaim control of your life and combat burnout head-on?

Join me on a journey of empowerment and resilience. Through my Reclaim Your Energy, Reclaim Your Time, and Reclaim Your Dream programs, I offer practical solutions tailored to women in midlife who are feeling overwhelmed and lost.

Take the first step towards a life filled with balance, purpose, and well-being. Your journey to reclaiming your vitality starts now.

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