Mikhaila offers a solution to women suffering from burnout
For women who constantly feel burnt out because they put everybody else’s needs first, Mikhaila Faries is offering help.
It comes in the form of a virtual programme, Supercharged in 90 Days. The certified holistic wellness coach promises that by the end of it women will be back at a “place of balance where they feel energised and in control again”.
“The things that we [as women] need to do are not easy but they are simple,” she said. “And when you don’t know what they are it’s hard because you don’t know what you can do to help yourself.”
Ms Faries had to overcome a few struggles of her own to get to where she is now.
She left Bermuda for university in England 11 years ago with a plan of becoming a social worker. She completed a bachelor’s degree in sociology, did a master’s in psychosocial studies – and then realised social work wasn’t for her.
Instead she worked in residential homes for adults with learning disabilities, autism, dementia and other challenges “to help me figure out what I wanted to do”.
Four years later she was completely burnt out.
“Jobs like that are always really understaffed; an overworked and underpaid kind of thing. I guess it’s the same in a lot of helping professions like nurses and teachers – you just end up with so much to do. I was taking on extra shifts and working crazy hours, up to 80 a week. It was taking a toll on my health.”
Eventually she fell ill. Forced home for two weeks she realised she needed change and discovered a wellness coaching programme that she felt would help her transition into a job that was a better fit.
“I want to help people,” she said. “It seemed like the perfect thing to me. In my personal life I’m the person who everyone comes to [for help with their problems] so I thought since I’m kind of naturally good at this maybe I can turn this into what I do for work.”
Ms Faries started work on her coaching certification at the end of 2019 and completed it in August 2020.
“I started coaching programmes for women who kind of get stuck,” she said. “I think it’s something that happens a lot. We’re not always focused on how to take care of ourselves while we’re taking care of other things and other people. We kind of put ourselves last. You get stuck feeling tired, you’re exhausted or you’re just not well, getting sick all the time and not realising it’s because you’re not doing anything for yourself.
“After seeing how much a difference focusing on that for me made, I thought other people need this.”
In Bermuda, where many illnesses are the result of lifestyle rather than genetics, she feels women could benefit from her expertise.
“So much of your health gets affected by being stressed and being exhausted. It literally opens the floodgates for any kind of illness to hit you,” she said.
“I think that’s a burden that falls on women and Black women especially because we just kind of do all the things for everyone. It’s a cultural thing. There’s this idea that a woman should be independent and be able to do all of this stuff when in reality people need people. That’s why we live in communities because you actually need other people. So this kind of hyper-independence and thinking we can do everything for everyone is making a lot of people be burnt out and just live like that without recognising it’s a problem and that it’s preventable.”
Ms Faries also runs Space for Her, a free and private support group on Facebook where women can “celebrate our wins as well as get vulnerable in a no-judgment zone when we've not had the best day”.
Although still in the UK she plans to move back to Bermuda next year by which time she will have received her certification as a master coach.
Her one on one sessions are tailored to meet the individual needs of her clients. Her aim is to help women understand that they aren’t limited to two choices: doing everything for everyone all the time or focusing solely on themselves.
“I was in a unique position where I started a business while the world was shutting down so the thing I wanted to focus on anyway became magnified,” Ms Faries said. “People were like I can’t cope with this and all the challenges that come with the pandemic: having to be your kids’ teacher and also be their parent and also not be able to get any relief time away from them. Everything is pressured and you are expected to do all of those things as well as you were doing before.
“It’s put a really big magnifying glass on what we’re able to do, what we’re meant to do, where we’re meant to have support. It’s highlighted a lot of issues that were already underlying but, because everything is go go go all the time, you never had time to actually reflect on them and evaluate them.”
Ms Faries started with a four-week programme but decided 90 days was better for building a habit.
“You can do anything for four weeks if you really make yourself do it but having the support of a longer period of time is something that will help to be more sustainable for you in the future.
“There’s more touch points, more coaching sessions, more support. We can look more into emotions and mindset – what women are taking on daily and just helping them to manage.”
Like many Black women, Ms Faries was always told that she would have to work twice as hard to get half as far. As a result, the challenge is in helping females understand that life needn’t be difficult.
“You kind of expect things to be harder so when they are hard you’re like this is what my life is supposed to be like,” she said. “It should be difficult and I should be tired, I should be exhausted. They are things you expect whereas being not stressed all the time is what’s normal rather than the opposite.
“But a lot of people just don’t know that or don’t know how to get there or where to access help and all of that. It’s not always huge changes. I am showing women how to do it with small lifestyle changes that could make a big difference to you personally.”
For more information: www.mfholisticwellness.com; firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Mikhaila Faries on Instagram and Facebook: @mf.wellnesscoach. Join Ms Faries’s free support group at www.facebook.com/groups/spaceforher