‘Super’ expectations focus of conference
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BRANDON — A Brandon physician blames unrealistic, high expectations some women put on themselves for an increase in burnout and emotional fatigue among her female patients.
Dr. Alise Gaiser-Edwards, co-founder of the Wellness Clinic, was one of the speakers who addressed more than 200 people at the Superwoman conference Wednesday.
Burnout and emotional fatigue reveal themselves through physical ailments such as chronic migraines, insomnia, anxiety, even irritable bowel syndrome, said Gaiser-Edwards, adding it’s difficult for some women to admit it is their feelings or emotions that are fighting back.
“So, we talk about ways to move through the emotions, like breathing, moving your body, communicating what you need or are going through and letting time pass,” Gaiser-Edwards said. “Because if you truly just feel your emotions and not suppress them, the emotion will pass in 15 to 20 minutes, maximum.”
An emotion such as guilt is common for women who want to be a good mother, daughter, employee or friend and see it as a weakness to ask for help, she added.
The theme of the conference focused on the “super” expectations women put on themselves.
“I think it’s about embracing what your own superwoman is, as opposed to embracing what society or people in your community, your friends, mothers, or whoever, think that you should be,” said Gaiser-Edwards.
There was a moment of clarity at the conference for Karen Chang, a mother of young twin boys.
“I have a family responsibility, which I embrace, but I have to start telling myself that maybe I can pass that superwoman cape to someone else like my husband, and not think of it as a failing,” said Chang.
It was reassuring to hear other people talk about burnout, agreed Lisa Andrew, who is a partner at BDO Brandon, a business that provides accounting, tax and bookkeeping services.
“I think we feel like we have to do more and more, and we just won’t let anybody help us. We don’t ask for help, because we think we don’t need anybody else, but we do.”
Among the crowd was Premier Heather Stefanson, who praised the organizers and added it’s a good reminder of what women have to offer to their communities.
“There are a lot of great people around me that help me do my job and be who I am. Whether it’s our families or those people who work with me, they are the people who allow me to be out there and take on that superwoman role, I guess, but you can’t do it alone — that’s for sure,” said Stefanson.
The fourth annual Superwoman conference was organized by the Brandon Chamber of Commerce.
The representation of women within the chamber is noticeable, said Erin Houck, events and programs co-ordinator.
“Our executive (team), for the first time, is all women, and when you come to our chamber office, the wall of previous members is a lot of photos of men, so it’s definitely great to see women up there,” Houck said.
Funds raised through the conference ticket sales will support programs at the Women’s Resource Centre, a non-profit organization that helps women and their families who are fleeing domestic violence or sexual assault and housing insecurity.
— The Brandon Sun