The Superwoman Syndrome

September 15, 2009

You’ve probably seen this before…your mother, your sister, your friend, or possibly yourself-

She appears to have it all together- balancing motherhood, career, and housekeeping.  She’s a good daughter, friend, and wife.  She cares for everyone else and makes THEM her priority.  She does it ALL without blinking an eye.  From the outside, she may appear like some kind of superwoman. 

I see these kind of women weekly in my office –  Some are caring for ailing parents; some are caring for a child in need; Some are overworked and wanting to please their boss; Some are attempting to do all of these things.  But, they all have similar characteristics- they neglect their own self care while trying to uphold their “selfless” status.   Eventually it all catches up with them, and suddenly they realize that their own health is suffering and they need to get help.

One of my clients gained 50 pounds after the birth of her son- She gave up her exercise regime and ignored her own hunger in order to tend to her family and work needs. By the end of the day, when all of her duties were done, she would overeat and fall asleep . She also stopped doing things that gave her pleasure like going to the movies and spending time with her husband.

Healthy eating, exercising, and finding time for relaxation are all ways of caring for oneself.  In order to help my clients break the “selfless” cycle and to gain control over their health, I teach them to practice self-nurturing activities. This may include taking a walk, listening to music, taking a bath, or preparing a healthy meal.

It’s different for everyone, but, everyone needs to practice self nurturing regularly in order to live each day vibrantly and healthfully.

Eventually these women realize that if they don’t take care of themselves, they won’t be around to take care of those that they love and who love them most.

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