Write out your to-do list. How does it feel to see it? Is it long? Does it feel overwhelming?
Between in-person and online tasks, we all have a lot going on. Our lives are expansive because of sheer access to information, connection, and communication. Maybe you have kids. Maybe you are caring for a loved one. Maybe you are trying to balance personal, social, and professional life. No matter what your circumstances, it is ok to feel overwhelmed. It is not uncommon for us to overextend ourselves for the purpose of pleasing others.
Saying ‘no’ can be challenging, but it is an important skill to develop. It takes confidence to know and assert your needs. The first step in developing this sense of confidence is to know your limits. It is not weak to say you are unable to do something. If we overextend ourselves for other people, what do we have left for ourselves?
It can take time to figure out your limits. Occasionally it takes pushing those limits to recognize that they exist. Practice saying, “I won’t be able to help with that because I have a lot on my plate right now”. Saying ‘no’ can be as simple as that sentence. There is no need to apologize for knowing yourself or provide further information.
Try to think of your life as a pie chart. How much space is work taking up? Social life? Alone time? Check in with yourself. Ask yourself what the ideal chart is and what you will need to do to achieve it. Block off time in your schedule to take a walk or do something that will de-stress you. These are essential activities that can be seen as ‘frivolous’ in our productivity-focused world. Though you’ve seen this written again and again in various mental health blogs, you cannot help others until you help yourself. Sometimes cliches exist for a reason. Honor your limits and watch yourself find a new sense of balance.