The difficulty of today’s times is the work-life balance is no longer a balance- it’s a constant integration. We continuously find ourselves diagnosed with ‘superhuman’ syndrome. The over-committed, stretched in every direction, burnout syndrome we find ourselves in as we juggle the weighty demands of work and home life. For women in particular this dual role is often heightened by expectations of being a financial contributor, sometimes-sole provider and primary caregiver. Yet for both genders the constant negotiations of where we spend our time, effort and energy is more often an exhausting compromise than well thought-out delegation.
The risk- Every superhero has its nemesis.
In this case, the downfall of superhuman’ness’ is that the constant need to achieve in all these areas is very difficult perhaps impossible to maintain.
The dangers being that people become overburdened with demands and expectations of others and this can lead to chronic stress, fatigue, burn out, depression and anxiety symptoms as they constantly feel as though they not fulfilling all these expectations adequately.
While some individuals are forced into the position of being superhuman, others may unknowingly strive for this title. There are a few key personality types that may be more susceptible to developing ‘superhuman’ syndrome: Are you one of them?
- Individuals driven by the need for perfection. Perfection in themselves and expected perfection in others.
- Personalities driven by success, the ‘I must win’ folk among us, for whom second place is seen as first last place.
- People motivated by being the ‘helper’, for whom saying ‘no’ is exceptionally difficult and laden with internal guilt
- Women and single parents whom are playing the dual role of provider and caregiver – occupational heroine and domestic goddess.
In the face of ever increasing demands for our time and resources we need to find workable solutions in order to be the most successful versions of ourselves.
So how do we overcome the syndrome?
Step 1: Develop self-awareness: This is a critical tool in overcoming superhuman syndrome. Without insight into what drives your behavior and motivates your decision making, you are unable to realize when you engaging in unhealthy activities that may very well lead to burnout.
Step 2. Learn how to say NO and be ok with it: It seems superhuman syndrome is often accompanied with “saying yes” to everything! Saying ‘no’ is often a difficult thing to do for some people but setting boundaries around expectations and the use of our time is incredibly important for mental well being AND leads to greater efficiency and holistic success.
When we able to say ‘no’ and stop ourselves from feeling guilty or that we failing – the expectations of others and those we place upon ourselves reduce and the ability to manage and balance our lives more effectively increases.
Step 3. Create ‘me’ time: Just 15 minutes in your day or one hour in your week – whatever is manageable, but actively carve it out. Use this time to do what you want to do – listen to a few of your favourite songs, go for a jog, sit mindfully in a quiet space in nature, journal, write a blog, punch a boxing bag- whatever it is, create the space in your day just for you, to refresh and recharge.
After all- the best version of yourself is not the exhausted over-committed person that superhuman syndrome has turned you into, is it?