Women’s Mental Health & The Pressure to do it All

How many times have you heard a friend talk about how overwhelmed she is? How tired, or stressed, or frustrated she is? Not during times of crisis or huge event, but just in her regular day to day life? How many times have YOU felt that way? 


As women, the pressure to DO ALL THE THINGS is a weight that lays heavy on our shoulders. Whether we placed those expectations on ourselves, or they were hung there by someone else, seldom matters. We live in a culture where, as women, we constantly feel like we have to give 100% in every area of our lives. Our relationships. Our children. Our jobs. Our homes. And the more balls we juggle, the better we look at it, so the more we acquire. For some, that juggling becomes their new normal. For others, the pressure causes them to crack. 


If you have children in your home, you’ve likely seen Disney’s Encanto. There’s a reason so many women resonate with the character of Luisa, the oldest sister who has been gifted super-human strength. We don’t just recognize her strength. We identify with the mounting pressure she feels to help and please not only her family, but her entire community. The more she shoulders, the more that’s expected of her, until she literally cannot hold it all. 


There’s a moment in the movie where she sings, “But wait, if I could shake, the crushing weight of expectations, would that free some room up for joy or relaxation, or simple pleasure?” (Full song and video can be found here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=X-NH1uUfr0U)


How many of us have had those moments? Where we realize that not only do we not have the time or space for joy and relaxation; we don’t even remember how to get there? I know I have. The feeling of failure if a single ball gets dropped is huge, and it’s real, and it’s a reality too many women are facing on a daily basis. If you’re doing well at work, what’s going on at home? If things are running smoothly at home, are you working hard enough? Will you miss the opportunity for promotion or advancement while you’re taking care of your little ones?


 If you’re succeeding in your marriage and with your kids, and knocking it out of the park professionally, what is happening to your friendships and personal lives? What has become of our hobbies, our free time, and the things we used to love spending time doing? How do we do it all? And more importantly, why do we think we have to? What happens when all of that pressure to be perfect is internalized?


Well, just like any pressure, if there’s no outlet for it, you eventually have an explosion. Picture a water balloon as yourself, and the water it’s being filled with as all of the things we feel we need to excel at. That project at work. Getting cupcakes baked for the school bake sale. Climbing the corporate ladder. Getting dinner on the table. Remembering every birthday. Keeping the whole family’s schedule in order, and keeping everyone on track. Sports practices. Date nights. Parent teacher conferences. Board meetings. The balloon fills and fills, but at some point, if you don’t shut the water off and tie off the balloon, the water is just going to continue to spill all over the place. Or, if you fill it too full before tying, it’s likely to burst as soon as you set it down.  


None of us expect all of that from each other. We’d never look at a girlfriend, or our sister or mother, and—seeing how much they’re doing—tell them that they should do better. Or more. That they’re not good enough. But we somehow expect the impossible from ourselves. When we see another woman stepping back from her job to spend more time at home with her children, we don’t think of her as less of an entrepreneur. And when another woman places her children in daycare or with a nanny so she can fulfill her dreams as a business owner or land a high powered position in her career, we support her. We encourage her. We cheer her on. 


Why can’t we do that for ourselves? Why do we allow ourselves to be crushed by the crippling anxiety that comes from the never ending search for balance? Why can’t we just stop spinning some of the plates for a season and enjoy what we’re doing in the moment?


For many, it’s because when the plates stop spinning, the self doubt creeps in. If we’re not doing all of it, all of the time, who are we disappointing? Who are we letting down? What will people think of us? And when the self doubt creeps in, often times, so does depression. Many of us are fueled by a sense of accomplishment that simply isn’t sustainable long term. 


Our focus this month is women’s mental health, and this is just the first step toward becoming healthier. Recognizing that we are trying to do too much. Admitting that we can’t possibly do it all. And understanding that we are NOT alone.

Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to dive into some solutions. How to know which faucets to turn off. Identifying WHEN to turn the faucet off. And figuring out what to do to replenish what we’ve already given, so that we can restore the energy and joy so that we can become, or continue being, who we want to be. This will also be a great opportunity to figuring out which areas of our lives really need our focus, and what those areas are where we can let go and take some of the pressure off.


If you are a woman who is questioning her own self worth based on the things you feel like you HAVE to accomplish, then this series is for you. If you’re a woman who has ever felt like you might be crushed under the weight of all of your responsibilities, then please, continue following our socials this month as we begin to cut away at the unhealthy pressure that continues to be placed on us by ourselves and others. And if you’re already at your breaking point, please contact us today to speak to a professional therapist about how we can help you manage the stress, and set realistic expectations and healthy boundaries for yourself moving forward. You can contact us at 813-563-1155, or email us at admin@wellnesspsychservices.com to set up your therapy intake. 


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Tampa, FL 33609

(813) 563-1155

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