Why Women Burnout more than men

Women head on the table in her hands

I get asked a lot why do women experience burnout more than men? It’s a great question that has been debated for years, but the answer is pretty simple: Women are conditioned to be caregivers and multitaskers. Let’s explore some of the reasons why women are more likely to feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities than men and therefore burnout at a faster rate.

Women are more likely to experience burnout than men.

Why is this? Well, the first reason has to do with our cultural expectations of women. As a society, we tend to view women as caregivers—whether it's for their children or their older parents or a sick friend. This can put an enormous amount of pressure on them to be everything for everyone all the time, and leaves little room for self-care.

According to a 2009 Gallup poll, 57% of working mothers said they always felt rushed compared with only 35% of fathers.

Then there's just plain old stress: Women tend to get stressed out, and some also add in a dose of anxiety where they are constantly worrying about their future, or their family members.  When they start feeling overwhelmed by their responsibilities and commitments in life (which often include caregiving), it doesn't take long before burnout can set in.

In my experience working with my clients, women have a tendency to deprioritise themselves in life.  They don’t allow themselves time to do activities for themselves that fill their hearts up and bring them happiness.  Because they’re too busy doing for everyone one else and hauling around feelings of not being good enough, worthy enough and feeling like a failure.

Another reason women experience burnout more than men is due to the fact that women take on more responsibility around the home, at work, and for their families. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Women's Association, women also take care of about two-thirds of all elderly family members.  I really relate to this as I’ve been responsible for my mum over the past six years, she’s in a dementia care unit but that doesn’t mean the workload is any less than if she was at home.

It's not easy being a fricken woman in this world! Among other things, you're expected to be an excellent employee, an excellent mother, partner or wife (or both), an excellent cook/cleaner/ housekeeper/nursemaid (depending on your role), and have a face that makes everyone you meet fall in love with you —all the while looking effortlessly beautiful while doing it all.

The Pressure to be perfect

From the moment we are born, women are expected to do everything perfectly. We must be perfect mothers, wives and friends; we must excel at our careers; and we must look beautiful every day of our lives—and so on and so forth until the end of time.

While men are rarely scrutinized for failing at any one of these roles (unless they're a politician), a woman who fails is often seen as unworthy of love or support by others in her life—and sometimes even by herself!

Career-first women aren’t selfish

Women are simply not as selfish men with their own time and boundaries.

That sounds a little strange, but hear me out. Women who prioritize their careers are often shamed for doing so. They’re accused of being “selfish” or “unfocused,” which is a big reason why more men are promoted and earn higher salaries than their female peers.

Now, I don’t think this has to do with the work ethic or intelligence of women who put their career first—rather, it has everything to do with societal expectations surrounding gender roles and stereotypes about what makes someone successful in life (which we'll talk about next).

Responsible for other people’s happiness

Ladies we often feel responsible for other people’s happiness, unlike our male folk.

As primary caretakers of children, family members, and friends. We worry about our parents having enough money to live on and our siblings getting along with each other. It’s common that we to take on responsibility for the wellbeing of our partners and spouses too—making sure that they feel loved and supported.

Ladies we also tend to take on the guilt when things don't go as planned or when something bad happens—even if it's not their fault at all! They blame themselves easily without realizing it because they don't want anyone else around them feeling bad about themselves either. This causes an inner conflict within them which leads them towards burnout faster than men do who aren't as prone towards taking responsibility for others' feelings or actions (unless they're leading someone somewhere).

Then there’s the guilt that comes with not being able to meet these expectations: You know that feeling right, like you know you’re not spending enough time on your own well-being can be completely overwhelming at times.

Limited support

OMG, the odds are stacked against you when it comes to support. You are more likely to wear a superwomen's cape and do it all than delegate out.  When it to a supportive network at work, you keep looking and searching to find there’s nothing…., all of this can lead to burnout.

If you have ever felt like your life was falling apart, there might be a reason for that. Women experience burnout more than men because they are constantly doing for others in all areas of their lives and feeling the pressure of perfectionism.

The good news is that there are things you can do to prevent this from happening. To avoid burning out or even being in a state of chronic stress, and overwhelm consider making some changes TODAY. 

I don’t mean jump in boots and all, it’s a start small process where you work yourself up to being ok with putting yourself first.  You deserve to live your best life, but that’s not possible when you tank is running near on empty. 

If you feel like you need extra support in making these changes, don't hesitate to reach out. Book in a time to chat with Hana or follow her on: Facebook  Instagram or LinkedIn

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