Is taking on “too much” a pattern?

As I write this blog I have realized that once again I have taken on too much. Not more than what I can handle, but more than what I want to be able to stay happy, connected, and engaged with the people I value. I find myself thinking of the many times I have been at this very same frustrating moment with myself. Yes, taking on too much can become a pattern for some individuals. This pattern is often referred to as “overcommitting” or “overextending oneself.” It’s when a person consistently takes on more responsibilities, tasks, or obligations than they can realistically handle. This pattern can be driven by various factors, including:

  • Desire to Please: Some people overcommit because they want to please others and fear saying no.

  • Fear of Missing Out: The fear of missing out on opportunities or experiences can lead to overcommitment.

  • Perfectionism: Striving for perfection in all tasks can result in taking on more than one can handle.

  • Insecurity: People may overcompensate for feelings of inadequacy by taking on too much.

  • Lack of Boundaries: Not setting clear boundaries can make it easy to overcommit.

  • Difficulty Prioritizing: Difficulty in determining which tasks are most important can lead to taking on too much.

You might be taking on too much if you experience:

  • Constant Stress: If you’re constantly stressed, overwhelmed, or anxious about your commitments.
  • Physical Symptoms: Frequent headaches, sleep problems, or other physical symptoms can be signs of overload.
  • Neglected Responsibilities: If you find it hard to keep up with your responsibilities, you may have taken on too much.
  • Lack of Enjoyment: When you no longer enjoy the things you used to, it could be a sign of excessive commitments.
  • Social Isolation: If you’re unable to make time for friends and family due to your obligations, it’s a red flag.
  • Declining Quality: A drop in the quality of your work, relationships, or self-care is a clear indication.
  • No Time for Rest: When you have no time for relaxation or self-care, you’re likely overburdened.

While I check mark all of the above, it’s essential to recognize these signs and consider scaling back or seeking support when you’re taking on too much.

Why should I scale back? Because I know this pattern of taking on “too much” is stress driven and can cause long-term distress to your mental health and the relationships you value the most.

Breaking this pattern often involves developing better time management skills, learning to say no when necessary, setting boundaries, and prioritizing self-care. It may also require seeking support or therapy to address underlying issues contributing to the pattern of over-commitment. Here are some self-care strategies to help you stop yourself from taking on too much:

  • Set Clear Boundaries: Establish clear limits for your time and energy. Learn to say no when necessary, and don’t feel guilty about it.
  • Prioritize Your Well-being: Make self-care a priority, just like any other commitment. Schedule regular downtime for relaxation and self-reflection.
  • Time Management: Improve your time management skills to ensure you allocate time for work, personal life, and self-care. Use tools like calendars and to-do lists.
  • Learn to Delegate: Don’t try to do everything yourself. Delegate tasks to others when possible, whether at work or home.
  • Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness and meditation techniques can help you stay present, reduce stress, and make better decisions about what commitments to take on.
  • Set Realistic Goals: Set achievable goals and be realistic about what you can accomplish in a given timeframe.
  • Self-Reflection: Regularly assess your commitments and their impact on your well-being. Adjust your schedule and priorities accordingly.
  • Seek Support: Don’t hesitate to ask for help from friends, family, or professionals when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
  • Stay Active and Eat Well: Physical health is linked to mental well-being. Regular exercise and a balanced diet can help you manage stress.
  • Learn to Say “No” Gracefully: Practice saying no in a respectful and considerate manner. You can offer alternatives or suggest future availability if needed.

Remember that self-care is an ongoing process, and it’s essential to adapt your self-care practices to your evolving needs and circumstances. It’s not selfish to prioritize your well-being; it’s necessary for maintaining a balanced and fulfilling life.

Dr. Yaro Garcia

Hello, I am Dr. Garcia, please call me Yaro. My degrees are in clinical psychology and I am a licensed mental health counselor. My approach is caring, warm, safe, non-judgmental, and straight forward. It is a difficult decision to seek therapy, I take time to build a trusting therapeutic relationship with you…