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  • Writer's pictureEvelyn Ball

Purposeful Thriving: A Holistic Guide for Women Warriors

Updated: Jan 1

For women who are ambitious, enthusiastic, caring, and creative, burnout has become all too familiar. It is a silent fog that creeps in, leaving us mentally confused, emotionally drained, and physically exhausted. On our quest for a happy family and successful career, we often neglect our own spirit, which emanates from stillness, calm, peace...internal presence. Our own Self becomes obscured. How can we pause, reflect, reassess, and actively engage in some simple additions to our routine for reclaiming all of who we are?

Let's explore the multifaceted aspects of burnout, then address the unique needs of creative and driven, working women, and how we can infuse spirit and clarity back into our lives. This includes mothers, of course, with or without an additional job outside of the work of raising a family and sustaining a home environment.

Dysfunctional Suffering

Our minds, tasked with logging and organizing our experiences, become over-burdened with constant mental activity. Working women have the added pressure of being expected to excel in multiple roles at home, in society, and in the workforce. The mental load we carry is often enormous, and we do it because we want to, and we can, and others love us for it! Eventually, however, in order to prioritze keeping all the balls in the air, meaningful parts of us get exiled. We begin to isolate parts of ourselves in order to prioritize what is deemed critical for survival, losing our core essence in the process.

How can we bring our Self-soul back on track? A holistic balance approach to well-being necessitates that women take personal power back in a variety of ways. We need to pause between mental demands and cultivate mindful awareness of our whole Selves, nurturing the communication between, and integration of, body, mind, and spirit. How to start? Stretching, meditating, deep breathing, walking, dancing, singing, playing, journaling, rocking, or simply taking off our shoes and mindfully feeling the ground beneath our feet, can give our mind-body the much needed opportunity to re-energize and begin to de-invent ourSelves.

De-inventing YourSelf

That's right, we live most of our lives as an invention of society's, culture's and our family of origin's expectations. We follow a recipe, an unwritten contract, very real and powerful. Without a careful examination of this recipe and the ingredients that it is made of, we will continue to have a bad taste in our mouths, and be left chronically unsatisfied.

This false "self" has been created over generations, and we have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to unbuild it so that we can restore the qualities, love, and wisdom we carry inside, and connect to, and access, our intrinsic and authentic way of engaging with the world. To de-invent ourselves is to peel the skin of society's invention-of-us back, and begin to reveal who is really in there...who we really are.

Emotional Depletion

Let's back up a bit. What's the big deal? Well, the emotional cost of burnout can be intense and long lasting. Attempting to balance the demands of career, kids, finances, romantic relationships, friendships, family, and personal needs can result in ovewhelm, irritability, depression, unhealthy eating, lack of physical activity, guilt, identity crisis, self medicating, resentment, anxiety, and disease. Each of these creates a domino effect, in which we sink deeper into confusion and powerlessness.

Purposeful Self-care needs to be prioritized. It is not some luxury only afforded to us after retirement. It is a must. It is critical for us to identify the cycle of burnout and reach deeply inside ourselves to reclaim the woman, the human, and the spirit we recognize but have long lost, before it becomes chronic. We must engage in purposeful selfcare before we lose our family, marriage, or our health. Purposeful self-care isn't about watching Netflix or simply getting a massage. It's about de-inventing, reconnecting, and re-authenticating every facet of our existence and our experience.

Is absolute comfort worth the dysfunction it can cause?

It is well understood that life is full of discomfort and pain. It is understood, expected, and feared. Most, to a greater or lesser degree, seek to avoid discomfort and suffering through many sorts of distractions and quick fixes. This is one of the factors that can get us on this path to burnout. Hyper focused on minimizing discomfort, we make choices that postpone tough decisions, we stay quiet when we want to speak up, and we scroll our tears and fears away rather than acknowledging and expressing them. Pretty soon, we become bottled up, paralyzed, with too long of a laundry list of grievances to share any at all.

It is unnecessary and unproductive to seek discomfort out, to purposely push ourselves towards intense discomfort in order to pressure ourselves into balance. No need, as discomfort will come wihtout any effort on our part, for it is at every turn. However, what we can do is the opposite: relax our effort to seek comfort so passionately. Accept the discomfort that comes from cold hands, wihtout fervently searching for our cozy gloves. Accept and welcome the discomfort of colder water, when the temperature fluctuates as we shower, and accept and welcome the discomfort of stillness/boredom when waiting in line and our phones are out of reach. Leave it out of reach, and..just stand there. Look for these opportunities, catch them and welcome them, daily and regularly, then notice how their presence can engage and heighten your internal presence.

Mutlifaceted and Balanced

Holistic, purposeful Self-care is about addressing each area of need and achieving balance in all aspects of who we can be. It's about building resilience, awareness, abundance, flexibility, and freedom in every aspect of our health, including an ability to weather discomfort, and even welcome it. It requires embracing physical, emotional, mental, and sensual health, nurturing emotional intelligence, activating cognitive clarity, and enhancing the relationship within ourselves and the relationships with those we care about.

A holistic approach helps you succeed personally and professionally, helping you develop stronger and more connected relationships as well as more successful career outcomes. It consists of daily, personalized practices, fostering self-reflection, sensual awareness, and internal exploration, identifying and naming fears as well as intrinsic strengths, encouraging community-building and strengthening connections, nourishing physical robustness, the confidence needed for implementing healthy boundaries, creative expression, mindfulness, breathing awareness, energy optimization, and physical, emotional, and erotic energy and vigor.

Reclaiming You:

1. Know YourSelf

"To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom," Socrates. Begin by taking an inventory of your life. When was the last time you laughed, and what triggered that? When was the last time you felt pleasure, real, intense pleasure, and what brought that on? When was the last time you felt heard and seen, and who with, and how did that take place? What about your daily...What is a typical day like, and what is missing? Taking inventory can occur every day, just 5 minutes a day can achieve this.

Grab a notebook, write some key things down. You can journal or simply jot down what comes up as you consider these, and other similar, questions. Doodle if words don't come to mind. Taking inventory means noticing and listening. To begin to be and feel heard and seen, we need to hear and see ourSelves first. If you don't have time for this, do it anyway, just for one day, then another. You can motivate yourself into a journaling routine this way. Write what you notice in every area of your life. Then congratulate yourself. You are on the right track.

2. Begin to Recover

How do we begin to recover? The primary time when our bodies and minds recover is when we are asleep. This recovery is a non-negotiable area. It can feel and seem uncontrollable, to fall asleep or to push through until all duties are completed and all work is done. Learning to say 'no' and setting clear boundaries around our sleep needs is essential.

Establishing limits on work hours, commitments, and even social engagements ensures that personal well-being remains a priority. So, get into your bed at least 30 minutes earlier than the night before. Put your phone in a drawer and pick up a book, any book, even one you read to your kids when they were 3. And/or, close your eyes and notice where you have tension, lying in bed...Become aware of how you are able to identify the tension.

Then, imagine what that part of your body would be like if the tension was gone. How would you identify the lack of tension? Answer that question and imagine that part of your body being and feeling that lack-of-tension the next day. Imagine moving through your next day with that feeling. Then surrender to sleep, and welcome your body to do its repair work.

3. Grow from Within

Take 5 minutes a day to breathe and notice your inhale and exhale. Don't have 5 minutes? In that case, take 20. When 20 is too much, change to only 5 minutes a day. This is like the story of the man who lived in a small house with his family and went to see a wise woman due to his overwhelm. The house was so small he was irritated by his children and wife who shared it with him. The wise woman prescribed that he bring a dog into the home. As this became more overwhelming and irritating for the man, he returned to the wise woman. Each time she prescribed that he bring more animals into his home, sheep, chickens, and cows...until there was standing room only. At that point she prescribed a return to the 4 of them, the nuclear family, in the house.

The man enjoyed the peace and quiet so much and felt the space in the home as a relief, enjoying his wife and children in ways he never had before. Five minutes of breathing awareness can be squeezed in during a lunch break, before brushing teeth, or while parked in a lot before getting out to begin work or to walk into a store. So, 5 minutes, and if you don't have 5 then take 20 minutes out of your busy day. Only after trying 20 can you return to only 5 minutes. Then 5 minutes will likely feel absolutely possible compared to the 20 minute alternative. (Ha)

4. Energize Your Body

Holistic health requires muscle strengthening and increasing lung capacity. A proper workout is not always doable. If you can't or won't take long walks, hikes, gym classes, or a strengthening routine, it's okay. Instead, look for opportunities to move your body. While cooking, hold onto the counter and lift a leg to the side. Repeat 20 times and switch legs. Lean toward the counter and bend your elbows, then push a way for a counter push up. Repeat 20 times. When you go anywhere at all in town, avoid "people-movers" of all sorts, escalators, elevators, take-out windows...Instead, walk through the lot to your store, walk up the stairs as much as possible, and park to go inside to order food. Count how many opportunities you took to energize your body, that body that you need, desperately, until the day you die, and then try to count more opportunities to move the next day.

Energy comes from what we feed our bodies, both figuratively and literally. Counting calories or following a specific diet is certainly your choice, yet I suggest a much simpler way to enrich our instrument. Eating in a smaller window of time, eating real, clean foods, focusing on what our gut, the "second brain," needs and including that everyday, and limiting the amount of unnecessary and detrimental products we ingest, can be followed by being aware of how we are thinking about what is "food," what we're buying at the market, what we're choosing on a menu, and what we are cooking or putting together in our own kitchen.

5. Respect YourSelf

We only have the one body that takes us everywhere we go. Why do we abuse it so? We take our body and mind for granted. Body and mind do take daily effort if they are to give us optimal access to what life has to offer. Remember that journal you started with... Let it be your best friend. You can write in it now, and anytime you need your best friend, yourSelf.

Closing - Holistic Well-being as a Way of Life

True well-being is an ongoing journey rather than a destination. Working women must recognize that achieving balance doesn't mean sacrificing success, but it does mean taking stock, becoming aware, and reframing and re-ordering priorities. Balance comes after some negotiation, whether on a two-sided scale or in your life choices. Balance is about integrating personal and professional desires in a way that promotes a fulfilling and sustainable life.

In conclusion, navigating the challenges of burnout requires a holistic approach that addresses the physical, emotional, and mental dimensions of well-being. By embracing and building a nourishing routine, and honoring who we are, working women can not only combat burnout but also thrive in both their professional and personal spheres.

Your well-being is not a luxury – it's the cornerstone of a successful and fulfilling life.

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