Women Leaders Suffer the Highest Burnout. Here’s How to Manage the Stress
Throughout much of her career, Brooke Brinkman believed that in order to climb to the top of the corporate ladder, she had to do whatever it takes, no matter the mental or physical cost.
For a while, it worked. Her hard work got noticed and resulted in promotion after promotion until she became the vice president of marketing and communications of Simon G. Jewelry.
From the outside “life looked fantastic,” Brinkman, 42, told Know Your Value. “I was killing it from a career standpoint.”
But as fast as she moved up the corporate ladder, she burned out even faster.
“I wasn’t sleeping,” recounted Brinkman, who was also a new mom. “I was just up and feeling like I needed to make lists, and I would find myself looking at email when the emails were all answered. I was having GI issues, headaches, and I was very, very irritable. I felt like everybody else needed to be working faster too.”
It wasn’t until Brinkman had a candid conversation with a trusted friend and colleague did she realize the negative effects burnout was having on herself and her co-workers.
“I started to say, OK. I’m going to make sure that I put wellness back into my life.”
Brinkman isn’t alone in feeling the physical and mental consequences of work-related stress. An estimated 43 percent of women leaders feel burned out, compared to only 31 percent of men who are at the same level.
Liz Plosser, editor-in-chief of Women’s Health magazine and Nancy Berger, senior vice president and publisher at Hearst Magazines, wanted to do something about the burnout executives like Brinkman face — by focusing on selfcare and wellness.
That’s why Women’s Health, which is known for its content on wellness, mental health, and fitness put together an in-person, wellness experience for 30 C-suite level women, including Brinkman. The three-day “Women’s Health Long Weekend” retreat took place in the hills of San Diego’s Cal-a-Vie resort, with the goal of offering support, activities and community for likeminded women executives who are facing similar pressures.
“For somebody in a role like mine, and for many of the women who are on this retreat, so much of our life is striving for perfection – the best results,” Plosser told Know Your Value. It’s that sort of pressure to hold everything together without showing weakness or asking for help, that Plosser and Berger wanted to address with attendees.