When Too Much is Just Too Much

Overwhelmed. Stressed. Reaching your limit. Frustrated. About to explode. Need a break.

Sound familiar?

I’ll be honest: last week was not a great week for me. Every day, I found myself adding more items to my task list than I was crossing off, and each item seemed more challenging than the rest. It could have been because of the sheer magnitude of my growing list. It could have been because of how little was actually in my control. It could be that I only have so many waking hours to tackle these tasks.

By the end of the week, I felt extremely deflated. I felt like I brought by B-game to all of my tasks, whether it was at work, at home, to my kids, to my husband.

I was overwhelmed. I was tired. I was frustrated.

I felt like this was a good learning experience to share with you. Remember this: feeling these things is not right or wrong, good or bad. You’re allowed to feel and experience every emotion. One of my favorite things Jay says is that “it’s ok to visit these feelings, but don’t move in.”

You’re human and sometimes, life can present you with a slew of challenges that you’re not mentally ready to solve or handle. You can feel overwhelmed. You can feel angry. You can feel sad.

But like Jay says, visit but don’t move in. Let yourself feel and experience the emotion. Venting is not solving, but let yourself vent for a moment and set a timer for yourself if you think you need the extra reminder to stop after, say, 5 minutes. Vent, scream, cry, swear – do whatever you need to do in those 5 minutes. But when the timer goes off, no more venting. It’s time to solve. Refocus. Shift your energy and take control of what you can control.

In fact, all of the experiences of last week served as a good reminder for me to check-in with myself about not only my strengths and talents, but also my triggers and limits.

At 30-weeks pregnant in the thick of the summer with two toddlers who like to test their limits, my fuse is a little shorter (though I would like it to be different, for now it just isn’t). What I can realistically accomplish during the waking hours of the day isn’t the same as what it was even four weeks ago. The workouts and sleep patterns I was previously able to hold myself accountable to are no longer feasible. There. I said it out loud.

This was my stop and notice moment. This is when I realized that the reason I felt overwhelmed, tired and frustrated for most of the previous week was because I hit my task threshold long before I realized I did.

Your task threshold is what you can realistically achieve based on who you are in this exact moment and in this exact situation. It changes because you change and your situations change. One week, you may find yourself able to tackle significant items without batting an eye. Another week, you may find yourself saying “no” more than “yes” to keep your task threshold to the smallest number of items as possible.

When you are aware enough to notice when you need to adjust your task threshold to ensure your mental well-being, you’ll find you don’t spend as much time feeling frustrated, angry and sad, because you understand how to be in this moment. You can therefore move to a higher and more productive energy level.

Take Action
Remember to check-in with yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed, tired or stressed. Sometimes it is just you. Sometimes you are over-committed – you’ve hit your task threshold without realizing it. Be committed to your own mental well-being by checking in and being kind with yourself. Remember, experiencing your emotions is great. Just limit how much time you spend with the negative emotions. They can wear you out and help you miss the many great things going on in this moment of life.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading When “I Quit” is the Best Thing to Do

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