Remember Wonder Woman? With the sassy red and blue outfit with the gold ropes to capture the evil enemy and save the day? Her hair always perfect, 0% body fat and she managed to overcome every problem by the end of the each show.
Why can’t every woman’s life be this way?
First of all, that was an hour TV show (then movie with Megan Fox) designed to entertain us. We never saw her paying bills, doing laundry or cooking and cleaning her home while checking her work emails. Second, Wonder Woman is a dangerous myth pressuring women to be Employee of the year, Rachel Ray’s competition in the kitchen all while managing our finances like Suze Orman and dressed like Kerry Washington. This is NOT reality.
Actually, this is a more accurate depiction of what most women end up looking like after a day at work.
If you find yourself tired on a daily basis, eating your feelings away, and snap at co-workers and your kids as your preferred mode of communication, it might be a good idea to take a timeout before it becomes a health concern. I’ll never forget my wakeup call years ago when my hair stylist tapped my shoulder with the edge of her comb after parting my hair. With a low voice, she whispers “whatever’s bothering you, deal with it!!” I was so stressed behind a relationship and work that patches of my hair started falling out. Oddly enough, I was more embarrassed that I was unable to hide my stress from her. We all need a friend who sees our cracks and calls us out when we are attempting to pull a wonder woman. More importantly, exhaustion is not a sign of success but proof you are doing too much alone and on your own.
- Ask for help. I know…what will people think? Honestly? That you’re human. This is hard because we are so used to pretending we have it all together. Here’s a suggestion. Once a day, start practicing by accepting an offer you normally turn down. Allow a neighbor to help you with your groceries. Accept your friend’s request to babysit if you need time alone. If a friend ask you are you okay…stop lying and tell the TRUTH. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
- Make it a priority to schedule ME time. Start with a 30-minute massage or a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood. Kids have summer vacation and your boss schedules time off…why can’t you? Your down time is essential to renewing your focus and having positive energy to give to others. I hear some of you saying, “I would but I just don’t have time.” Remember the saying, we make time for what we want. What we value we invest in. You’re worth taking care of. Do you agree?
- Practice saying no. Women feel guilty saying no because we are nurturers. We like to help. We like to contribute. But we can’t and shouldn’t try to do it all. I learned this the hard way after being diagnosed with Lupus. Part of the diagnosis is biological, but I believe the other connected to how I internalized stress and refused to admit I needed help. I’m still learning it’s okay to say no. More importantly, I realize that there are other people who actually want to help in carrying the load. Chrystal Evans Hurst said it best: Exhaustion is not next to Godliness. It just means you’re doing too much.
It’s hard asking for help because we as women buy into the idea we can have it all. So when we max out at 80%, we feel like we’ve failed. I still struggle with asking for help but I’m getting better each day. We can have it all, just not at the same time. And for that I’m thankful. It means I can take my sweet time and focus on this season of my life. And that I can stop putting my worth in what I do and focus more on who I am.
What will you do today to make yourself a priority? Please feel free to leave a comment and share with others!