WASHINGTON, July 24, 2017 – “Too much on my plate” is a phrase that I hear over and over in both social and professional settings. We may chuckle when we say or hear it but it’s no laughing matter.
That “Too much on my plate” sensation is often related to feeling stressed out or overwhelmed in a major way. Either can lead to burnout. You don’t want to head in that direction. This can lead to serious health issues. At the very least, it certainly leads to feeling badly.
For example, the stress hormone cortisol is automatically released within your body when you are stressed. Over time this has a negative impact on your immune system. There are many reasons for taking good care of yourself. Avoiding the cascading effects of stress is one of the most important.
What are the best ideas for turning that stressful “Too much on my plate” situation around?
For starters, learning how to say “No” is a good one.
Your first dilemma: Why is saying “Yes” to others and “No” to yourself acceptable? Discovering the answer to this question is worth pursuing, and it can set you free.
- Ask yourself the following series of questions:
- Are you willing to say no?
- Will you set realistic expectations when others aren’t willing to?
- Are you feeling pulled in too many directions?
- Do you feel stretched to thin?
- Do you feel like you don’t have enough time to do everything?
- Are you willing to take a stand for yourself?
At home, at work, or in life, you have to set realistic expectations. Before saying ‘Yes,’ think about what that answer will require. To make the decision that’s best for you, first take a look at what you’ll need to know or learn:
- Do you need to gather more information?
- Do you need to speak to others?
- When and how will you do that?
- What is the target or due date?
- How much time to do you need to set aside?
Once you’ve pinned the variables down, here are some tips on getting things off your plate sooner rather than later:
First, eliminate that “too much” feeling and point it in a healthier direction. Think of an example of someone asking you to do something. After giving it some thought, you realize you can’t really take another thing on, but you may feel a little uncertain about saying “No.” Now close your eyes and picture yourself putting a stake into the ground, representing saying “Yes” to yourself and “No” to whomever is asking.
Remember, you are human. We have limits and we have to let go of the idea we can do everything and do it well. If you take on too much, things you can’t get to will fall through the cracks.
Next, consider doing just one or two things at a time. Focus on doing them well. Our brains weren’t wired to multi-task even though we are allegedly living in a multi-tasking society. Figure out what’s important to you and pare down the rest.
Prioritize and delegate whenever you can. Tell the person who’s asked for help that, although you’d like to do just that, your plate is too full right now and you don’t want to take on something else if you know you can’t give it the attention it deserves. After all, you can always re-evaluate your decision at a later time should your personal situation change.
My next suggestion is to simply tell you to feel free to be selfish and take some “me time” when you need it. If you don’t take care of yourself, who will? Be your own advocate. Consider: How can you help support others if you don’t take care of yourself?
For example, when you’ve traveled by airplane, remember the important instruction the flight attendant always gives to passengers before takeoff: Make sure you put your own air mask on first so that you are able to help others in an emergency.
Once you’ve cleared some space for “me time,” you should next make getting enough sleep a priority. It’s a universally acknowledged fact that when your body is exhausted, you will not get any productive work done. Sleep will refresh you. Without it, your perspective on life can quickly get skewed.
Lastly, keep things in perspective. Saying “No” to something is not the end of the world.
Now go out there and say “YES.” After all, if you can say “Yes” to the dress (just kidding), you can certainly say “YES” to yourself!!
For more Information Contact:
Susan Commander Samakow, PCC, CPCC
Certified Business, Life & Career Coach Focusing on Confidence & Resilience Strategies and Transition
Ask Susan about her coaching packages and the Stress Reducing techniques she teaches: EFT (Tapping) and Breathing Exercises.