Company Culture
Health / HR / Wellness

Fight Superwoman syndrome: 5 ways to prioritize self care for professionals

Donna May and Rose Breyla of Breyla May Consulting offer advice beyond the typical HR playbook.

Donna May and Rose Breyla on one of their wellness walks. (Courtesy photo)

This editorial article is a part of Tech + Health Month of's editorial calendar. This month’s theme is underwritten by the Chesapeake Digital Health Exchange. This story was independently reported and not reviewed by CDHX before publication.

Rose Breyla and Donna May have just about see it all during their years working in corporate America and as business owners — especially when it came to women in the workplace.

On Oct. 11, they officially launched their newest venture, Wilmington-based Breyla May Consulting (BMC), with an aim to help woman business owners and executives as consultants in the areas of human resources, DEI, corporate training and wellness.

Wellness — mental, physical and professional — as a feature of HR (sometimes called people ops) is a fairly new idea, and one that BMC embraces. Clients, including many women-owned businesses that don’t have the budget to have internal HR and DEI staffing, can call May and Breyla when they need help or have a question, as needed, or hire them as coaches or mediators. They are especially aware of the pain points associated with woman-owned businesses and woman professionals, which can range from imposter syndrome to Superwoman syndrome, aka feeling like you need to do it all and strive for perfection to be a success. asked Breyla and May for some general self-care advice for professionals, as the weather turns cooler and Q4 ramps up.

1. Give yourself the credit you deserve.

Imposter syndrome can affect even the most highly accomplished of people, and it can be damaging to careers. When you start questioning whether you’re good enough, if you belong at your job or business, or worry that you’ll be “found out,” May says it’s time to take stock of everything you’ve done to get where you are and give yourself the credit you’ve earned. It might take help from a coach or therapist, but getting there is worth it.

“Once you see that you have everything you need to do this job, you’ll have no problem opening up your door and letting people see what you’re working with,” she said. “It’s empowering for women to own that.”

2. It’s OK to ask for help.

When it comes to professional coaching, one thing May and Breyla have found is that, while sessions may start off talking about how to deal with employees and other work-related issues, they usually end up at home.

“You can keep your cape on and be Superwoman, but understand that Superwoman also needs allies, and it’s OK to ask for help,” May said.

3. Build your own table if you have to.

Having a voice at the proverbial table is vital for women, both for themselves and the health of the business. If you’re denied that, it may be time to “build your own table” — whether that means starting your own business or forming an employee resource group.

“You don’t have to take what is handed to you,” Breyla said. “You can go out and get what you deserve.”

4. Supporting your employees is good for business.

One thing the economic upheaval surrounding COVID-19 showed a lot of people is that they don’t have to take it when employers are unsupportive to their needs. Business owners and executives need to prioritize employees. It’s a risk management issue.

“You can support your employee while still maintaining your business,” May said. “I try to stress that the more you invest in your people, the more your people will invest in your business. It truly is reciprocal.”

5. Take a walk.

BMC’s office is located on the Wilmington Riverfront, a perfect place to take a midday walk and get close to nature without leaving the city. The cofounders take “wellness walks” and encourage clients to get outside when possible, for self care’s sake.

“If you have a meeting where all you’re doing is talking, go outside and take a walk together,” Breyla said. “If someone is not physically able to take a walk, just sit outside for the change in environment.”

Series: Tech + Health Month 2021

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