How often do you find yourself drowning in responsibilities and yet, you get ask to do something, like; another commitment or project at work and you say YES? Or sign your kids up to another activity even though you are struggling to schedule the ones they are already enrolled in into the diary? Perhaps you are someone who really struggles to say No to anyone, but inside your body and mind is screaming “STOP…NO MORE!”
It is overwhelming. I know, I use to do this all the time…”YES, I can do that!” ” Sure, I’ll find the time” “if they can do it, surely I can too?”…you know how it goes? Meanwhile, I would struggle to get anything I needed to get done, often in the end feeling resentful, then I would push myself, above and beyond, then wonder why my health would deteriorate and I would drag myself out of bed feeling exhausted and drained.
We often put unnecessary pressure on ourselves to do more, achieve more, be more! you can read more about the pressure of perfection here The Perfect Life? We look at other people and think, ” well, if they can do it, why can’t I?” Comparisonitis is never healthy and often unrealistic. What is comparisonitis?
COMPARISONITIS: the act of comparing oneself or one’s gifts to another deemed as superior.
The one thing we need to tell ourselves though, is just because someone looks like they are coping on the outside, you just don’t know what is going on inside and in their lives. They too could be struggling and putting on a brave ‘smokes and mirror’ façade. Women are champions at this. I see it all the time. Not only in my coaching business but with clients in my hair salon, mum’s at school, friends, colleagues.. we all do it.
Only recently, I was coaching a client, who appeared to be coping fine, but burst into tears when I asked her about what bought her ‘joy’ in her life. She struggled to answer this question, firstly being unclear of what I was asking, stating that her kids, career, etc. were these things, but when I explained further, that what were the things that only she liked to do for herself, that really soothed her soul. That restored and re-energised her. The tears welled up. It appeared that she had being saying yes to everyone’s else’s needs and wants but had in her own words “forgotten what it was that she loved to do for herself.” This is not rare, I hear this often.
Let me be very clear. We are all busy and have responsibilities and there is nothing wrong with this. However the problems arise when we spend ALL of our time being too responsible and we stop having fun and taking care of ourselves. Trust me, there is absolutely nothing wrong with making yourself a priority. It’s simply self-care. you can read more about this in another post I wrote a while ago here- The beast of burden
So what can we do, to help stop this overwhelm and pressure. Well, for me, it is about setting clear boundaries. I cannot recommend this highly enough. I believe this to be one of the biggest key areas to taking you from overwhelm to grounded. Setting boundaries not only for yourself but for those around you. As I said above, it is simply self care!
If you feel like this is you and you are in danger of burning out, then here are my tips for setting boundaries;
Learn the power of saying NO!
This one can be so hard for many and you maybe saying to yourself;
“But I feel guilty saying NO! I’m worried everyone will hate me! I have always felt it’s my JOB to help everyone. You are always seen as the ‘go to’ person to get things done” Or Perhaps you are a people pleaser?
But do you need to say to yourself….
HOW IS THIS WORKING OUT FOR ME?
If saying no is difficult for you, here are some examples of how you can say ‘No’ without offending or upsetting anyone. Practice them if you need to, and get more comfortable with saying NO …
It’s not convenient for me at this time.
I appreciate the offer but I don’t need it.
I am unable to fit any extras into my schedule this week.
Thanks for the invite but our weekend is already full.
I appreciate the thought or offer but no thank you!
I’m saying no today, but thank you!
Re-evaluate your goals, dreams and values, then reprioritise them.
Write down all the things that are important to you. Often we are so busy reacting to life that we are not inline with our values and beliefs. This is a great exercise to do, when ever you feel over burdened. Remind yourself what is important to you. Re-evaluate and reprioritise.
If you are over involved with commitments, then reduce this.
This is very common amongst women. We overcommit, but how do we reduce this. We need to look at our schedules and look at where we can; cancel, postpone or reschedule. Here is a challenge for you; I challenge you to think about all the commitments you have over the next 2 weeks and I want you to-
- Find 1-2 things that you can cancel.
- Find 1-2 things you can postpone.
- Find 1-2 things you can delegate.
Then write down the answers to the following questions:
- How much more time is this going to give you? _______________________________________________
- What is this going to mean to you? _______________________________________________
The final thing I would recommend is to get support or guidance with stress management tools if you struggle with setting boundaries. This can be through friends or family, a Health and Lifestyle coach, like myself or a therapist.
I offer many different strategies with stress management and can go much deeper with you to set boundaries.
You can avoid mental burn out by ensuring that you find and do things that sooth your soul and bring you joy. There is a limit to your mental and physical energy and you really need to respect and honour this. Don’t wait till you have a meltdown, take action by setting firm boundaries and remembering your are worthy of self care.
Contact me for a FREE no obligation ‘meet and greet’ session, if you are interested in going deeper with this or any of your health goals. Could one conversation change your life!