“He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away.” ~Raymond Hull
What does overextending yourself look like? It resembles lunch on your lap, misplaced keys and wearing your shirt inside out. It looks like an elastic band that’s about to snap, and you can already anticipate the sting. Obviously, if you want to avoid the pain, it’s best you learn how to release the tension.
You need to hear this: if you’re being flung in every direction, then you’re not really following through on anything or doing anything particularly well.
Your internal foundation will be shaky; health, money, relationships and work will eventually crack. What’s even worse than that is the speed with which your life will fly by without enjoying all the simple moments, these moments which are your life.
We are all busy–relationships, kids, work and friends, and it’s good to be a go-getter, but when your Martha Stewart persona has been replaced with a frenzied Wile E Coyote, things are about to blow up.
Consider this scenario: The shrill voice of your good friend booms through the phone complaining about the stress of planning their exotic European vacation. Wait a second–what did she just say? Did she just say she needs you watch their dog? That’s right, the 120 pound Marley-and-Me replica; the one that chews, drools and tries to hump your sweet golden retriever.
The last ounce of energy has just been sucked out of you.Advertising
Okay, stop right there!
It’s okay to admit that you can’t take this on right now.
If you agree to babysit the Marley-and-Me devil, you will resent your friend for it. You will silently curse the nerve of her to drop this responsibility on you when you are in the middle of a major work project. This is going to strain your relationship.
Your family will take the brunt of this decision.
How will you respond? My bet is in two weeks time, you’ll be chasing Marley off your poor retriever with a broom.
We have a choice on how to respond to others’ demands. We are under no obligation. Our first priority must be our own needs.
I know you want to be helpful and agreeable. You likely hate conflict and have no idea even how to say NO. And I know that most of all, you don’t want to lose out on opportunities.Advertising
If we don’t recognize and satisfy our own needs then we are no good to anyone else. Like the elastic you will eventually snap. And then you’ll be of no use to your kids, work or your friend’s dog.
If any of this sounds like you, then you need to make some changes.
1. You spend time worrying about time.
This is the first clue. If you stress about even a five-minute change in schedule, jump right down to the solutions. You are overextended.
2. You eat on the go.
The last time you sat down for a proper meal was the family Thanksgiving dinner. Really?
3. You’re not getting enough sleep.
You’re so tired that all you can think about is sleep, but ironically, you’re so busy that you don’t get enough sleep. When you do blindly fall into bed at night, you wake up at the witching hour, compiling to-do lists while wrestling with your pillow.
That’s right, you’re starting to resemble a zombie.
4. You don’t have time for friends, favors or hobbies.
You haven’t seen your friends in months, haven’t had time to phone your siblings in weeks and can’t even remember the last time you did something spontaneous.Advertising
If you’re starting to resent people asking for favors, it might be time to consider cutting back.
5. Your Health.
Are you experiencing muscle tension, back aches or insomnia? While these symptoms could be from a number of issues, overextending yourself will cause stress, which we all know is the big “silent killer.”
6. Can’t handle changes.
You want, no, let me rephrase, you need everything to go exactly as planned, and it’s not going to go as planned. One little shift and like a Jenga puzzle, it’s all going to come toppling down around you.
If you’ve crossed over into this muddy territory, you’ll need to consider making some changes.
You will need to write a list to assess what changes you can make. I know you don’t have time for lists–that’s the problem, right? Well consider taking a day off work, or wake up extra early tomorrow.
Start with outer changes. Maybe hire a housekeeper or a babysitter or maybe take a break from social engagements. But along with outer changes, there are also some inner changes that will need to happen.
Let’s get back to a balanced life, shall we?
1. Put you first.
Put your own needs above all others. Much like in a plane, always put your mask on first; you are no good to anyone if you break down.Advertising
You are a mother/father, wife/husband, sister/brother and friend, but these roles don’t define who you are. Do you something you love once a week. Even if its just curling up with a good book.
Stop taking life so seriously. No matter what’s happening, life will go on; stop causing yourself unneeded stress.
3. Learn how to be assertive–say NO.
Helpful hints to saying “no” without causing a rift:
- Tell them “maybe,” then take the proper time to think it over.
- Be honest and explain that you can’t commit because you have previous priorities.
- Soften the blow by saying, “I’d love to but…”
- Give them a suggestion: “I’m not the best person to help you with that because…”
4. Ignore Expectations.
Accept that what others think you should do might not be what you want or need. And that’s okay. You need to learn that what other people love, like golf or skiing, you really don’t enjoy. Don’t be afraid to be honest. Lose your “shoulds” and realize that you don’t have to do anything.
5. You’re not Perfect.
If you miss a spot on the bathroom floor, it’s okay. Being perfect can replace any sense of fun with a nagging, soul-sucking, endless effort that never gets anything quite right. Stop obsessing; perfectionism will only leave you frustrated.
6. Make yourself a realistic schedule.
Take a deep breath and focus on one task at a time. Fully complete each task before moving onto the next.
So take care of yourself today.
Take time to:
- do something that will make YOU feel happy!
What items can you streamline in your life to make things smoother? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Last Updated on May 15, 2019
How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity
As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.
“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller
When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.
Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.
We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.
But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.
So…how exactly are we to achieve that?
It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.
1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.
Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.
2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.
This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.
You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.
3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.
This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.
4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.
How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.
So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.
If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.
And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.
Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com