Ah, when I was little I used to love making a headband and wristbands out of tin-foil and stickers to wrap around my forehead and wrists, so I could take on the role on Wonder Woman – woo hoo.
Come on, who did you pretend to be? Spill the beans!
Superhero to Super-Burnout
As I entered adulthood, people continued to call me Wonder Woman.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t for my long legs, tiny waist, and star-spangled shorts!! No, it was more of a reference to how much I managed to juggle at any one point in time, how much I was able to achieve, how I had the ability to keep pushing on through without ever slowing down.
I’ve been bought many Wonder Woman gifts in my time as a reflection of this. Pencil cases, compact mirrors, action figures, and posters. As I sit here in my office writing this I see the framed post on my wall and a little action figure over in the corner. They make me really smile and are a source of joy, although not for the same reasons they used to be.
To be honest, I did used to proudly wear my Wonder Woman status like a badge of honour. Recognition of all my hard-work, many long hours, and master juggling. That’s where my thought process was at – believing that to have it all I had to keep pushing on through and never stop.
Looking back, I was clearly brilliant at multi-tasking, working hard and pushing on through, I didn’t have the inclination or strategies for keeping my stress levels in check or to boost my resilience. Hence chronic stress, ill-health, and burnout reaching its peak in my late 30s. I can tell you, that was never in my plans!
My Wonder Woman reminders now give me the courage to live life in a different way – to avoid being the superhero that falls flat on her face in a pool of burnout. Rather to be the superhero role model that knows how to nourish herself in order to be able to serve others well.
Are You A Superhero?
You know, that person who juggles a hundred and one things, not just sure how you will pull it all off, but somehow just about getting there (there or thereabouts anyway).
Yes, you might be fighting off your umpteenth cold of the year, having zero patience for your relatives, spending your commute tutting at someone going slower than you, constantly multi-tasking, and collapsing into bed at night without as much as a “goodnight” to your other half. But it’s all worth it – you’ve kept everybody happy – phew!
Sound familiar? Honestly, I see and hear this story all the time. Yikes, I lived it for many years of my life. Once you’re living that way I know it’s hard to make change. Until you are forced to …
From One Superhero to Another
If you are the superhero to your colleagues, friends, and family, and you’re feeling the strain, then my top 3 starter tips would be:
- Check-in with yourself and allow yourself to understand how you are really feeling? Energised vs fatigued, full of vitality vs sluggish, sharp and focused vs forgetful and distracted, fulfilled vs worn down. Do this daily and simply get tuned in.
- Be increasingly conscious about what in your life brings you joy (and what drains the life out of you) and register it. Even better, write it down. Ask the same of your loved ones. You may just find that all those classes you bust a gut to get your children to doesn’t bring them joy either. Controversial, heh?!
- Do at least one thing every day that is just for you. Set the example to everyone around you that this is OK. Relish that time, whatever it is you choose to do. Experience how it nourishes you.
I explore this and so much more in my book ‘Have It All Without Burning Out’, but I hope that’s given you a brief insight and some food for thought. Find out more about the book here.
Now I know you’ll need to get back to it …. 3 deep breaths before you do. Take it easy.