6 min read



In today's fast pace and often unrelenting world, where success is measured through tangible achievements and milestones, it is imperative to focus on an aspect that is pivotal yet frequently overshadowed – mental health. This is essential for women, who navigate multifaceted roles across both personal and professional domains. For us, the conversation around mental health isn't just important; it demands greater visibility, understanding, and serious dialogue.

If the opening sparked an inner eye roll, perhaps it's time to delve deeper into the intricate relationship between mental health and success, particularly from a female perspective. These truths don't dissipate simply because they've been discussed before.

The central message I wish to impart is that mental health and success are not mutually exclusive for women. On the contrary, recognizing, addressing, and prioritizing mental health forms the bedrock of achieving and sustaining success. This blog is dedicated to women who are on a relentless pursuit of success, aiming to underscore the fact that mental well-being is an indispensable component of our lives. After all, it’s impossible to pour from an empty cup (from one successful empty cupper to another).

Why is the journey towards understanding and addressing mental health so complex?

It is intertwined with:
societal norms
personal battles (our History and current struggles)
competing values
the continuous challenge of balancing multiple roles

It requires a collective effort to shift perceptions and create an environment where mental health is as prioritized as much as physical health. By shining a brighter light on this issue, we can begin to dismantle the stigmas and barriers that prevent us from seeking the support and engaging in the self-care we need.

This blog is a call to action—not just for women striving for success, but for society at large—to recognize that mental health is fundamental to living a fulfilled and successful life. It's about reinforcing the notion that taking care of our mental well-being empowers us, enabling us to achieve our goals and thrive in every role we undertake. Let us remember, prioritizing mental health is not an act of weakness, but a profound strength that paves the way for sustained success and happiness.

The female experience

The female experience is fraught with challenges that span across various aspects of life, including but not limited to:
societal expectations
gender roles
Hormonal changes across our lifespan
the constant negotiation between internal and external pressures

Women often find themselves navigating a complex landscape that involves balancing career ambitions with traditional family responsibilities, a task that can be both rewarding and incredibly challenging.

In many societies, women are expected to excel in their professional lives while also maintaining the primary role in home management and child-rearing, a standard that is not equally expected of our male counterparts. This dual expectation creates a tightrope walk between competing values, professional advancement and fulfilling domestic are one example.

Moreover, the struggle for equality in the workplace and in society add additional layers of difficulty. Despite progress in various sectors, women still face gender-based discrimination, often having to work harder to prove their capabilities and earn equal respect and pay. The fight against such discrimination is ongoing and deeply intertwined with the push for policy changes, societal shifts, and the dismantling of patriarchal structures.

Additionally, the journey toward personal and professional fulfillment is further complicated by issues such as the gender pay gap, lack of representation in leadership positions, and societal norms that often undervalue women's work and contributions. All these factors make the female experience a multifaceted challenge that requires resilience, determination, and support from allies committed to gender equality.

Thus, the journey of navigating through these intertwined external challenges is not just about individual achievement but also about collective action and societal change to create a more equitable world for all women.

Mental Health: The Unseen Facet of Success

In the stories of successful women, the challenges they face often remain hidden from public view. These challenges include societal pressures, gender biases, and the constant juggle for a work-life balance, among other factors, each playing a significant role in impacting our mental health. The pervasive stereotype of the 'superwoman'—who seems to effortlessly manage her career, family, and social obligations—further compounds these challenges by adding an unrealistic layer of expectations. This stereotype not only glorifies a state of constant busyness but also silently exacerbates the mental load borne by women, making it harder for them to seek help or acknowledge their struggles. And if you are an overachiever, asking for help equals failure.  This unrealistic portrayal and unrealistic expectations are often amplified by the curated images and stories shared on social media platforms, which only show the highlight reel of life, seldom the behind-the-scenes battles.

It's crucial to recognize that mental health issues are indiscriminate; they affect individuals regardless of their level of success, their titles, or their social standing. Anxiety, depression, burnout, overachieving anxiety, and imposter syndrome are just a few examples of the common mental health challenges that many successful women face, often silently and behind the closed doors of their seemingly perfect lives. These issues are compounded by our own perfectionistic values and expectations (that we may be unaware of), which can then prevent us from seeking the support we need. Understanding and acknowledging the complex web of challenges faced by women is the first step in creating a more supportive environment that encourages mental well-being for everyone.

Re-defining Success Through the Lens of Mental Well-being

The traditional definitions of success, which are usually marked by professional achievements, financial stability, social recognition, well adjusted children, and finally the perfect house undoubtedly need an expansion that starts with our mental well-being. It's imperative to realize that true success is not just about the accolades or the external signs of success but also about the manner in which you achieve them and the impact they have on your mental health.

What is the cost of your success? Are you driven by achieving at the cost of yourself? Is your self care last on the list of things to do?

The Way Forward

  • Acknowledging Needs: Embracing our needs as a strength rather than a weakness is vital. It's entirely normal and okay to experience lulls in your life. The acknowledgment and acceptance of one's struggles are critical steps toward seeking help and finding solutions that work. 
  • Seeking Support: Finding support can take many forms, including professional counseling, participation in support groups, mentorship programs, or relying on trusted networks, much like this Designing Women of Acadiana. The act of sharing experiences and coping strategies with peers can be incredibly empowering and therapeutic.
  • Setting Boundaries: The pursuit of success should never jeopardize your mental well-being. It's essential to learn the art of saying no, to delegate tasks effectively, to prioritize your needs, and to establish clear boundaries that separate your work life from your personal life. These skills are not innate but can be developed over time with practice and intention.
  • Practicing Self-care: Engaging in regular self-care activities is crucial for maintaining a balanced mental state. This could include a variety of practices such as physical exercise, meditation, pursuing hobbies, indulging in creative outlets, or simply allowing oneself time to rest and recharge. Self-care should not be viewed as a luxury but as a fundamental part of a successful life.

For women to not only survive but genuinely thrive on our journey toward success, it's crucial to adopt a comprehensive strategy that places mental health at the forefront of our priorities. In today's fast-paced world, it’s all too easy to equate success with external achievements such as awards, professional milestones, house looking like HGTV, children behaving, and social media pictures looking divine.

However, it's time to change the narrative from simply surviving the pressures of life to truly thriving. True success should be measured by overall well-being after achieving.

Empowering women to place their mental health on an equal footing with their professional ambitions and domestic responsibilities is not merely an act of self-care; it's a transformative strategy that benefits the individual, their relationships, and has a profound ripple effect on society at large. By prioritizing mental well-being, we foster healthier communities and set a precedent for future generations to view success and mental health as deeply intertwined, rather than mutually exclusive.

To every woman navigating the path to success, it's important to remember that your mental health is an invaluable asset. It's something to be cherished, carefully nurtured, and never sidelined in the pursuit of our goals. Seeking support, whether through therapy, mentorship, or community resources, should be viewed as a strength, not a weakness. In redefining what it means to be successful, we embrace a definition that is fully inclusive and enriching—a definition where success is synonymous with happiness, fulfillment, and well-being.

In conclusion, achieving a redefined sense of success that includes mental well-being demands a complex, multifaceted approach. This approach should encourage openness and vulnerability, actively seek support networks, establish healthy boundaries, and place an unwavering emphasis on self-care. Women in leadership roles have a unique opportunity to lead by example, championing these values and paving the way for ourselves that is both inclusive and supportive. By doing so, we not only uplift ourselves but also inspire those around us to pursue a vision of success that is holistic, attainable, and truly rewarding.

Empowering women to prioritize their mental health alongside their ambitions is not just beneficial for them as individuals but has a ripple effect, fostering healthier societies and future generations who view success and mental well-being as inseparable.

To all the women striving for success, remember, your mental health is your greatest asset. Cherish it, nurture it, and never hesitate to seek support when you need it. Here's to redefining success – a success that’s inclusive of your needs and truly fulfilling and sustaining.

If you've found yourself thinking I have tried to this already, while reading this blog, it may be time to consider seeking support from a therapist. Remember, two heads are always better than one when it comes to navigating life's challenges. I make it a point to see my therapist monthly as it provides me with a dedicated space for self-reflection and self-care.  

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