You’ve just signed up for extra projects at work, said yes to plans for the next few Fridays, and agreed to walk your friend’s dog while she’s away (for the next 2 weeks). It feels good to be so wanted, needed, and successful. And yet, you soon start feeling like you’ve spread yourself too thin.
One look at your calendar confirms the sneaking suspicion. It’s so covered in ink and scribbles and dates that you aren’t sure when your next day off will be. Reality sinks in, and soon you’re filled with terror and dread for your busy, busy schedule.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It’s normal to want to be all things to all people—the best friend, the hardworking employee, the social butterfly, the helpful neighbor. And yet, saying yes to everything can quickly lead to overwhelming anxiety. So what should life look and feel like instead?
When you have a good balance between your work life, personal life, and social life you feel centered, grateful, fulfilled, content, energetic, motivated, connected, and stimulated. And that usually means putting an end to 24/7 obligations, as well as learning how to say no. Read on for 7 signs that you are spreading yourself too thin and need to say no.
You are sleepy, all the time
Even if you’re one of those rare people with ceaseless energy, a super busy schedule will eventually burn you out. And when it does, it’s possible to become more susceptible to sickness. That’s because stress releases the hormone cortisol, which can become depleted over time and negatively affect the immune system. So if you’re always sick, that busy schedule might be to blame.
If you’ve been overwhelming yourself with obligations, then don’t be surprised when you start to feel cranky. Irritability is a sign that you’re spreading yourself too thin. This is most likely due to tiredness, as well as resentment for an over-packed schedule. Totally understandable.
You keep breaking down
When your schedule is overwhelming, it’s not unheard of for depression to come sneaking in. Usually, it’s due to the perfect combination of self neglect, a lack of connection with others, plus zero downtime. These are all things we need in our lives to feel healthy.
So try not to skip out on your Netflix nights or trips to the gym. They are truly necessary for your well-being.
Connecting with people is one of my favorite things to do, but it’s just not possible to say yes to everything. I don’t know about you, but when I feel stressed, a busy social calendar (even when it’s fun) can feel like a lot. I’m making the week of plans with friends and am allowing myself at least a few nights at home to relax.
You never have down time
Which brings me to my next point. As important as friends and family are, we can’t forget to spend time with ourselves. I love my friends but desperately need alone time, and am convinced I’m some sort of closeted introvert.
Carve out time that doesn’t involve your phone, email, or household chores. Plan a lazy night at home. Read a book. Wake up Saturday or Sunday without anything on the calendar and see where you end up.
You’re always online
Get off your phone. Close your computer. Stop answering emails 24/7. Repeat this mantra at least 5x a day. It’s so important to disconnect from everything and give yourself a break, so don’t forget to put your phone away for a little while while you’re at home and especially when you’re out with other people, too.
The constant stream of messages and information coming in has us completely checked out from what’s happening around us, even when nothing’s happening. Sometimes, we need a little (or a lot) of nothing in our lives.
You don’t have any free time
We can’t exactly check out for a few hours during the workday, a 5-10 minute walk or break to recharge however you see fit can do wonders for us. Let’s also not forget that we’re entitled to lunch breaks (does anyone actually take those?). Commit to getting up and leaving your desk for lunch 1-2 times a week.
Here’s some more tips on how to prevent work burnout.