From Passion to Exhaustion: The Dark Side of Women Following Their Dreams



We often hear stories of successful women who, against all odds, followed their dreams to achieve their purpose in their respective fields. These stories inspire, motivate, and empower women to pursue their own dreams with passion and determination.

However, what we don’t often hear about is the dark side of following one’s dreams – the gruelling pressure, the overwhelming workloads, and the toll they take on one’s physical and mental health. Then there were all the pressures because of the pandemic. This is the dark side of following one’s dreams that many women experience but seldom talk about.

In today’s fast-paced and competitive world, there seems to be a silent expectation that women will juggle multiple roles – caregiver, partner, mother, daughter, friend, and employee – all while striving to achieve their own dreams.  Women in work can sometimes feel isolated as they battle against gender bias, outdated expectations, lack of recognition, bullying, which can lead to feelings of impostor syndrome, exhaustion, and burnout.

These outdated expectations put on women can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed, isolated and feeling unable to keep up.  Plus, the guilt of trying to find a balance between work and home, that keeps everyone happy.  The list is endless!

Unfortunately, what starts as passion and enthusiasm for their dream turns into an obsession that leaves them feeling exhausted, isolated, and unfulfilled.  No wonder burnout and exhaustion are common.  It’s important to look after yourself, because if you don’t who will?  If you want some pointers on how to here are some strategies that can help:

  1. Consider applying Bare Minimum Mondays. As the name suggests, you use this day to plan your week and set realistic goals.  It’s a way to gain control.
  2. Make sure to take time for yourself during the workday. It’s easier if you can physically leave your working place, such as go for a walk. Better still if you can arrange with a friend/colleague so that you are both accountable.
  3. Time block out time to for relaxation of your choosing, such as having a soak in the bath with a sign of the door which says “Me time” so you’re not disturbed by others. Listen to a meditation, read an inspiration book.  All these helps to reduce stress and help replenish your energy.
  4. Exercise if you can, as it’s been proven to be beneficial for both physical and mental health. Make it a point to do some sort of activity every day, even if it’s just going for a light walk outdoors, walk the dog or doing yoga at home.
  5. Prioritize rest: Get enough sleep each night as this helps with managing stress levels as well as improving concentration and performance at work.
  6. Remember that burnout acts as a wake-up call and a nudge to say something needs to change and can serve as a positive push towards finding what matters most in life. Take some time to reflect on yourself and your life – ask yourself honest questions such as ‘What do I want from myself and my life?’, “What matters most to me in my life”, ‘What do I need more or less of right now?’, and ‘How can I prioritise my wellbeing?’
  7. Seek support: Never be afraid to reach out for help if you’re feeling overwhelmed or struggling with mental health issues like anxiety or depression. Seeking therapy is a great way to find ways to get back in control. Achieve your dreams without burnout.


Following your dreams is a purposeful pursuit but remember to take care of yourself along the way. It is possible to be successful without sacrificing your health and happiness. By prioritizing self-care, setting healthy boundaries, and being mindful of mental health, women can avoid burnout and achieve their dreams with joy and fulfilment.

No matter where they are in their career journey, it is important to practice self-care, take time for themselves, and recognize that support is essential for their mental wellbeing.