As we celebrate the global advancement of women on this International Women’s Day, I want to hold a space for women who may be experiencing burnout and the people who love them.
Women are at an increased risk for work and life-related burnout due to a disproportionate level of mental, emotional, and family/caregiving workload. Unfortunately, these inequalities are largely due to continued bias views on gender roles, differences in pay between women and men and the ever stressful “Strong Woman” Syndrome.
However, we must be quick to recognize that burnout is a not “a woman’s fault” but often a result of structural issues in a work environment and fragments in a social network.
Here are some tips on how to support a woman/sister/friend who may be experiencing burnout.
1. 𝗟𝗲𝘁 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘀𝗲𝗲 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗴𝗻𝗶𝘇𝗲 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗯𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗼𝘂𝘁
Often times people may wonder if there is something wrong or if it is just in their head; especially if those around them (at work, home, etc) seem to be operating normally. Let them know you have noticed changes in their mood, energy, etc and you are making yourself available to talk.
2. 𝗟𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗻 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗷𝘂𝗱𝗴𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁/𝗩𝗮𝗹𝗶𝗱𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗳𝗲𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀
Don’t minimize or dismiss her feelings as often people who are burned out feel very isolated or as if others do not understand what they are going through. Rather listen intently and make sure the conversation is focused on them. This will more than likely lead to them confiding in you.
3. 𝗛𝗲𝗹𝗽 𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗮𝘆𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗯𝗮𝘁 𝗯𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗼𝘂𝘁
This includes exploring the core reason they are burned out, examining the work or home situation, and discussing ways to approach an employer, family member or partner.
4. 𝗔𝘀𝗸 𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗽
Rather than assuming or even projecting your own ideas on how to make things easier, ask directly how you can provide support. Sometimes a listening ear is even more than enough
5. 𝗨𝗿𝗴𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗺 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝗲𝗲𝗸 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗳𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹/𝗺𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹 𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻
Symptoms of burnout like fatigue, irritability and difficulty sleeping may be signs of a more serious underlying medical or psychological issue (depression, hormone imbalances, etc). Encourage evaluation by a therapist/coach or physician as well.
6. 𝗢𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿 𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗶𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗶𝘁𝘆
No matter how dim a situation seems, burnout can be resolved, and quality of life can be improved. By offering a listening ear, providing small tokens of love (a card, flowers, a hug), sharing funny videos and memes you can remind women that they are not alone, and they are loved.
𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘀𝘂𝗽𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗯𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗼𝘂𝘁?