Women: Be transparent about burnout

USB's Dr Salomé van Coller-Peter spoke at a women's conference organised by QualityLife Company last month. The conference was titled We are the Leaders we've been Waiting for.

Dr Van Coller-Peter formed part of a panel discussion in which the balance between work and a woman's personal life was discussed. Dr Van Coller-Peter said the warning signs that you may be heading for burnout is when nothing excites you anymore, when you don't feel valued and when you start to withdraw yourself from your surroundings.

"The question every woman should ask is: What are my limits? Admit it - and plan what you will focus on, what you are going to delegate and what you are going to change," she explained.

She was surprised to hear how many women were aware that they were heading for burnout, but without being ready to admit it to anyone.

"Some of them feel that they already have to compete hard and that they would be seen as weak if they were to admit to burnout. But everyone agreed that women should learn to be more vulnerable to one another so that we can act as support for one another," she said.

Dr Van Coller-Peter's five tips to handle burnout:

  1. Admit to someone you trust that you are experiencing burnout
  2. Get the necessary support so that you can get the full scope of your situation to enable you to get more rest
  3. Allow for more delegation
  4. Eat healthy food and exercise regularly
  5. Build your emotional resilience.

Some of the other influential speakers included Advocate Thuli Madonsela and former Miss South Africa and business woman Amy Kleinhans-Curd.

Madonsela said that anti-apartheid icons such as Victoria Mxenge, Helen Joseph and Helen Suzman were leading examples of courage and leadership. She learnt from them and from other women who took the path less travelled.

"They knew very well that theirs and the fate of the equally oppressed men were interconnected. With this in mind, they boldly assumed those leadership roles to their full potential," she said.

Useful resources:
Stellenbosch Business School
The internationally accredited Stellenbosch Business School offers MBA, Master’s, MPhil and PhD programmes as well as executive education programmes – all focused on the development of business leadership.
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