Women were never designed to live like race car drivers, but here we are ambitiously taking on the world like superwomen. After decades of women's oppression, its no surprise that we flew like a bat out of hell into our careers with a sense of determination to achieve what we were told was not possible for us! Our ancestors would be proud, except for the fact that slowly but surely women are burning out in record numbers. Depression affects double the amount of women as men, and 80% of auto-immune disease is found in women! These are not healthy statistics ladies, and we need to start making a collective change.
I will admit, all my life I've been competing for the same recognition and opportunities that men get, not even realizing I had been shaming my own womanhood. By age 24 I had basically become a man with breasts and long hair. I had completely disassociated myself with femininity because I perceived it to be a weakness in my pursuit of achievement. But how can we expect to be taken seriously in our careers if we ourselves are the ones shaming our own womanhood? This is the question we all need to start asking ourselves...why is femininity synonymous with weakness?
Well, here's the biggest secret of the century....ITS NOT!
I know the busy, driven woman better than anybody - because I am her. I know the competitive, aggressive business woman because I used wake up to her every morning. She calls to me seductively to take on more projects, dream bigger, reach farther & keep pushing until my head explodes. She's invigorating and intense and you probably know her well too, yes? And while she often feels invincible, she will eventually crash and burn without some serious intervention.
In my nutrition practice, this is the exact woman that comes knocking on my door when her health hits rock bottom. My client base is filled with fiery, driven, & completely exhausted women who've lost touch with their femininity and thus their balance. I know how to serve this woman because I've walked her steps, I've carried her burden and I've experienced her struggle.
The truth is, your femininity is the key to your success, not your demise. Activating and accentuating your feminine power will lead you to a life of authentic fulfillment, happiness & health. So let's talk about the 5 mental shifts that every woman needs to take to get there...
1. Drop the "All or Nothing Mentality"
This is a very masculine way of thinking but I see this all the time in my practice - women who stop following their protocols because they couldn't fulfill or "achieve" everything on it. If they can't do it all, they go right back to old patterns because then they won't feel like such a failure. Life is not black and white and neither is your health. Change can only happen one step at a time, one choice at a time, and one behavior at a time. I know you're used to driving hard at work, but you can't crack the whip of your health the same way you do your job. Commit to 1 or 2 things and follow through with them daily. If your new healthy lifestyle becomes too overwhelming then shave something off so you can focus on making one successful change at a time. All or nothing usually ends in nothing. This pattern mimics the "binge-restrict" cycle that most women are already stuck in. If you want to live in balance, you have to accept that transformation happens in layers. Don't give up simply because it gets too hard, decide to create a new strategy that works just like you would in your career.
2. Stop Wearing Stress like a Status Symbol
This mentality has become an epidemic. Stress does not make you more important, more qualified, more honorable, or more worthy. Stress is a virus that we pass on from one person to the next. Busy women wear their stress like a badge of honor that makes them feel relevant. Your worth does not come from the level of stress you endure. Once upon a time I thought that if I wasn't as stressed, busy or overwhelmed as others, that I wasn't as important or capable. "The more stress the more power," I used to think. Stress is inevitable, yes, but purposely exemplifying stress is a toxic pattern and belief that perpetuates dis-harmony in our bodies, minds and spirits. We were not designed to be in stress-mode 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No other creature on the planet lives like this, so why should we? Take notice of the ways you flaunt or talk about your stress. Do you unknowingly brag to others about how much work you have to do or how stressful your job is? Stop and ask yourself why? Don't you have anything else worthy of talking about or sharing that doesn't involve stress? Hmmm...perhaps you don't, and that needs to serve as your wake up call that you're deriving all of your self worth from your sense of achievement and capability. Your worth is innate, and not based on how hard you push yourself to win the gold star.
3. You Are not Your Job Title
The first question asked at parties is always, "what do you do?" While its tempting to frame your entire life and character around your job title, this is a habit women need to drop. Even if you love your job, it does not define who you are on an intrinsic level. I love the work I do everyday, but underneath my mission & career I am many, many other things.
If tomorrow, you lost your job, how would you define yourself? What would your identity become without your name tag? We often become so consumed by what we do everyday, we forget who we are without the titles. This is a dangerous mentality that leads many women to mental breakdowns. If you were to wake up one day, unable to work, who would you be then? Identifying too much with your job title can lead to a major crisis of identity later down the track. If you have no hobbies, interests, or dreams outside of your job...it's safe to say that your sense of self is derived from work alone and its time to explore who's inhabiting your body & soul.
4. Stop Living for the Weekends
I remember a time when weekends were all I had. Those precious, fleeting moments that I hung on to for dear life. The "Sunday scaries" is an actual term now to describe the anxiety we feel in anticipation of Monday. There is something very wrong with this picture. It's not uncommon for working women to be waiting for Monday to turn into Wednesday and Wednesday to turn into Friday. When you're overworked, under-payed or just plain exhausted, its easy to fall into the trap of living in the future. But living in the future takes you away from the only moment you actually have, right now. If you find yourself always projecting your happiness and self care into the future, its time to reclaim your presence. In my nutrition practice, I recommend my clients do at least 1 thing every day that brings them joy and a sense of freedom. You owe it to yourself to enjoy not just the weekend but every single day you wake up and take a breath. Take a moment to consider how much time you spend at work; 8+ hours a day, 5 days a week. If you're not taking time for yourself everyday (and I don't mean happy hour on a Thursday) to enjoy your life, pretty soon you're whole life will disappear before your eyes. Life doesn't have to be lived on the weekends, it should be lived everyday!
5. You are a Woman!
In the working world, women throw themselves into their masculinity in order to compete with men. More and more women are unknowingly eating, drinking, working, dating, and exercising like a man! Why?? Because our culture and our subconscious associates femininity with weakness, submission, vulnerability, and irrationality. In my experience both personally and professionally, THIS is the #1 reason women are dealing with so much chronic illness, burn out and emotional unease - they are pretending to be men in order to "make it" in the world. This alone has devastating effects on women's health - hormonal imbalance, infertility, depression, auto-immune disease and burn out are becoming shockingly high in women. Many of the new diets & fitness trends are tested on men, NOT women, which leads women to believe they are safe and healthy for them when in actuality their bodies are completely different than men. I want to drive this obvious, yet necessary message home; you are a woman NOT a man! If you continue to behave like one you will absolutely end up unhealthy and deeply unhappy. A woman's gift is her intuition, receptivity and emotion - tapping into these power centers will enrich your career & life.
About our guest contributor...
Alexis Sabatino is a certified Holistic Nutrition Coach for women with chronic illness. Her areas of focus are gut health, hormone balance, and emotional wellness. She empowers clients to engage their courage, embrace their bio-individuality, end cycles of self-sabotage and reconnect with vitality, radiance and purpose. She uses a variety of tools such as food, movement and mindfulness, with the intention to catalyze a joyful and sustainable lifestyle for her clients. Her wellness programs are designed to nourish not only the physical body but the mental, emotional, and spiritual for optimal wellness & alignment.
Find out more from Alexis...