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  • Writer's pictureDoug Tesnow, LCPC

How Can I Tell if I'm Taking on Too Much?

Feeling overwhelmed? Like giving your best just isn’t going to cut it? Perhaps even feeling guilty about taking a well needed break because it feels like an indulgence you haven’t earned or cannot afford?

This is an all-too-common feeling. We can be really hard on ourselves in the name of pushing towards progress, or perhaps even lose sight of why we’re pushing so hard in the first place.

In my work with both teens and adult professionals, I’ve come to learn that finding a healthy balance between striving and rest is achievable, even within the most tight and hectic of schedules. Here are some tips to help orient you on your path toward a more manageable pace.

1. Admit what is and is not working. Feeling overwhelmed is not a sign of weakness, and many people model themselves after people who have taken on an unrealistic amount. While some may actually enjoy this pace, I’m most often meeting individuals who wish the load was lighter yet feel some guilt about actually taking on less. There are many admirable reasons to take on challenging tasks, but if you’re looking around and failing to see the value in some of the extraneous ones, this may be a sign that it’s time to reevaluate their importance in your life.

2. Prioritize. Take an assessment of the things in your life which are the most important, and allow an honest appraisal of things which SEEM vital, but which may not be. When feeling stressed, people will also feel the weight of many tasks which can, indeed, be accomplished later. Conversely, if there are pressing responsibilities which require more immediate attention, even knocking out a simple one can be both empowering and comforting to the person feeling overwhelmed.

3. Take More Frequent Breaks to Avoid Burnout. As the saying goes “If you’re tired: learn to rest, not quit”. Encouragement to partake in self-care has become such a common maxim that it almost risks losing its potency, and yet seldom is it practiced to the height of its potential. Most of us underestimate the cumulative effect of building in a regular self-care routine, or assume it’s just “not for us” after feeling unimpressed with some of the more common approaches. The truth is that self-care goes well beyond bath salts and meditation apps, and it can be truly worthwhile to put the time and effort into discovering what works best for you.

Contact us today if you need further support in exploring alternate ways to find peace among the stress of day to day life.


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