I don't know who needs to hear this but, you are not (and should not be) the end-all-be-all solution to everyone's problems. Burnout is a real issue among women, and it often stems from overcompensating, over-performing, and overextending yourself until you finally give zero F's and become over it.
I recently came across a term that made me do a double-take on my own life: overfunctioning. According to the experts at Psychology Today, overfunctioning happens when you go above and beyond to control a situation and other's perceptions and feelings around it. You try to become the hero who will do anything to make sure that all is well, even if it means putting yourself last or not getting what you truly want.
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A study found that 70 percent of working women have experienced burnout since the start of the pandemic. In addition to being "Zoomed" to death, women have to deal with household and care-giving responsibilities, educational pursuits, and other commitments that put them in overfunctioning mode.
Here's what overfunctioning looks like:
- Excessive people-pleasing to avoid disappointing others
- Avoiding saying "no"
- Setting goals for other people without their permission
- Taking on more responsibilities even when you are not asked
- Enabling bad behaviors in others
- Always talking and never listening to others
- Giving unsolicited advice
- Feeling like a victim when others do not recognize your efforts
As an overfunctioner, your anxiety is the driver of your actions because in your mind, if you are not in control of everything, something has to go wrong eventually. You may argue that overfunctioning is "just how it is" or "just the way you are," but it's actually a response to anxiety related to things that honestly have nothing to do with you.
Here's the thing: For so long, we've heard the narrative of being a "strong Black woman." We have to be tough, resilient, independent, and ready to take on life without a flinch because that is what we were taught to do. However, we have to be conscious enough to understand when we follow generational or societal trends by default or subscribe to the need to constantly be in control at all times.
Whatever your reason, take time to understand the emotional, physical, and mental toll overfunctioning can take on your life. "Doing the most" gives you an illusion of being in control when, in reality, you are losing control of yourself.
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If you're overfunctioning, understand this:
- You don't always have to be the bigger person if it's to your own mental and physical detriment.
- You don't always have to give people, work, and situations every bit of your being.
- You don't always have to find a solution just because someone comes to you with a problem.
- You don't always have to be a helicopter wife, girlfriend, parent, or friend, trying to stop others from learning from their own mistakes.
You are ultimately responsible for yourself and how you react and respond to life.
You will find better peace of mind knowing that you can eliminate burnout when you stay and operate within your lane and live a life where you can let your hair down and let others do the same, live life, and learn for themselves.
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