Super Woman Syndrome


Pradnya Mane
Clinical psychologist


After working in Hospital settings for 7 years, I recently started working with corporates as their Clinical psychologist. It’s disheartening to say that almost 99.10% of women around us or even us are suffering from something called ‘Super Woman syndrome’. It might not be a life-threatening condition but it is certainly peace threatening one!

So what is it exactly? Juggling with household, your career, in-laws expectations, children, husband’s wishes, society, and putting more and more effort for being a perfectionist in everything brings an ocean of anxiety. The idea that fulfilling all of your roles and responsibilities to perfection will lead to happiness and balance is definitely not realistic, nor should it be. Superwoman Syndrome happens when a woman neglects herself as she is seeking to “do it all” to perfection and stretching herself to make her the last on her priority list.

Social upbringing plays a vital role in its emergence. We all are now open to accept well-educated women who have achieved great roles in career and earning very well. But at the same time, society has its own say about what women should do, should say, should wear, should this and should that. There is a beautiful Marathi cinema called Umbaratha (उंबरठा) Starring marvelous Smita Patil. I urge you to watch this film that portrayed the dilemma a working married woman goes through.

Who is more vulnerable?
Typically mothers, wives, professionals, homemakers, sportswomen, leaders, community organizers, you, me, all of us!

What are the symptoms? Check if three or more are familiar with the following …
1. Irritability
2. Disturbed or excessive sleep
3. Nervousness
4. Self-doubt / Self-blaming
5. Anxiety
6. Pains and aches not physically explained
7. Inability to focus / concentrate
8. Muscle tension
9. Memory issues
10. Continuous feeling of unhappiness

When you are tackling a lot of things together, it is very common to feel stressed, anxious, and fatigued instead of feeling empowered or fulfilled. Accumulated stress opens the door to a plethora of health issues, specially all the autoimmune diseases.

What to be done?
First of all, just take away your cape and try to do the following

1. Take help
The first rule is you can not do everything by yourself. Accept it and ask for appropriate help. Speak to your family members, friends, colleagues, children, or a psychologist.

2. Set realistic goals
Try to set goals that are realistic and attainable. Please consider your wishes when setting a goal.

3. Take time for yourself
Make time for your favourite Childhood hobby, some art, some exercise in your daily routine.

4. वैराग्य
Vairagya does not mean being a hermit or monk. Vairagya is a concept in yoga which talks about surrendering. Whatever that is doable, do it. Perform your Dharma. But results are not in our hands. So, rather than taking stress, Let It Go!

5. Mindfulness
Be mindful of your activities. Are you doing something unwillingly? Note down. Are you doing something at the cost of your happiness? Note down. Sooner you will know how to make appropriate changes.

6. Keep perfectionism out of your life!
Let me tell you what my PNP ie Philosophical- Neurological- Psychological experience says … It says PERFECTION IS AN ILLUSION. Because you never really attain that feeling of everything is amazing when juggling with a lot of things and if you attain it somehow there will be no progress later. So being perfectionist which looks quite glossy in beginning becomes very tough with each passing day. It sometimes becomes extremely stressful and anxiety-provoking.

To recapitulate, thinking of yourself is not an act of selfishness. Self-care is important. When thinking about everyone’s happiness, don’t forget to make that face happy whom you see every day in the mirror. Because you can never pour into a mug if you are empty! Mind That! 🙂


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