How to Avoid the Superwoman Complex
12 Ways to Balance Mind, Body & Spirit
by C. Nicole Swiner, MD
C. Nicole Swiner, MD Publishing
Book Review by Kam Williams
“Although we spend the bulk of our waking hours working, we often underestimate the impact of work on our physical, mental and spiritual health. Dealing with difficult bosses and coworkers, taking on more projects than we can realistically handle, and doing work that is not meaningful can cause significant stress in our lives. As an organizational psychologist... I have seen how challenging work situations have translated into challenging health problems for my clients, particularly the women—the Superwomen...
C. Nicole Swiner, MD incredibly explains the relationship between mind, body and soul in language that is not only understandable but actionable... The road map that she provides throughout the book enables women to take care of themselves in an intentional way. Dr. Swiner lets Superwomen know that they can indeed be super, but they must pick and choose their battles wisely to not burn out along the way.”
-- Excerpted from the Foreword by Audra Davis, PsyD (pages xii-xiii)
How to Avoid the Superwoman Complex bills itself as a how-to book designed to help working females at risk of spreading themselves too thin. Unfortunately, in a classic case of bait and switch, the actual advice dispensed on its pages bears little resemblance to what's suggested by the self-help sounding title.
Instead, this opus is filled with a lot of the sort of boiler plate medical advice you might find on pamphlets in a general practitioner's waiting room. And the author, C. Nicole Swiner, MD, just happens to be a physician with a family practice.
What's weird is that most of her 12 steps to a new you revolve around medical advice. In Chapter 1, on sleep hygiene, she talks about prescribing Ambien, Lunesta and Rozerem for patients unable to get a good night's rest.
In Chapter 2, dedicated to heart health, she suggests that women stop smoking, check their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, and suggests that “an aspirin a day keeps the doctor away.”
Chapter 5 is downright bizarre, starting with the author's wishing her readers “Happy Labor Day!” on the 1st of September. From there, she launches into a discussion of caring for infants, and covers such subjects as car seats, food allergies and vaccinations which, as a doctor, she naturally advocates.
Next, she shifts her attention to the needs of pubescent teens, advocating abstinence but conceding that many will be sexually-active. She subsequently covers STDs as well as different forms of birth control, and even devotes about three pages to a description of the pros and cons of Intrauterine Devices (IUDs). What I found most shocking was the conspicuous absence of a discussion of abortion in this section exploring so many related topics at considerable depth.
The themes of other chapters range from deer ticks to obesity to cancer, all invariably examined from the author's professional medical perspective. My final complaint is that the book is only 128 pages long, less than 80, really, if you subtract all the prefatory remarks and the many blank pages set aside for notes.
Overall, an unsatisfying insult to the intelligence that avoids rather than tackles the serious issues surrounding the “Superwoman Complex.” Consider yourself warned.
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