A therapist’s 6 red flags that you’re over-committing yourself to others


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The looming presence of burnout culture has forced many folks to take a good, hard look at their priorities. Jettisoning things that no longer serve your life doesn’t happen overnight, though. It’s all-too-easy to fall into old patterns of booking happy hour five minutes after the end of Pilates class. For those moments, Beth Pilcher, MSW, LISW-CP, a therapist has a litmus test to determine whether you’re over-committing.

“In a world where we are constantly being pressured to do more, it can be hard to give yourself permission to say no to new commitments when your plate is already full,” she writes in a recent Instagram caption. “This is especially true if you tend to be the people-pleasing type.”

 

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As someone who has been notorious for over-committing myself in the past, I’ve become pretty familiar with some of my own signs that I’m starting to take on too much. In a world where we are constantly being pressured to do more, it can be hard to give yourself permission to say no to new commitments when your plate is already full. This is especially true if you tend to be the people-pleasing type. But burn out is real, and when we overcommit ourselves, we truly can’t show up in our lives the way we’d like. Everything starts to suffer. Remember that you are allowed to say no. You are allowed to take something off of your plate if you are starting to feel like you’ve taken on too much. Making yourself a martyr isn’t helping anyone. Learning to recognize and honor our limitations is hard, but it really helps make life feel a lot less overwhelming. Graphic by @avamariedoodles

A post shared by Beth Pilcher, MSW, LISW-CP (@thebalancebee) on

Referencing graphics from illustrator Ava Puckett, Pilcher points out the booking your time solely for other people will likely lead to:

  1. General grumpiness
  2. Loss of sleep
  3. Disinterest in hobbies and exercise that used to spark joy
  4. Crying (duh)
  5. Watching items on your to-do list fall through the cracks
  6. Isolating yourself from loved ones

Everyone is different. For you, feeling overwhelmed may manifest in other forms of disinterest. And when you become aware of them, you’ll know when it’s time to RSVP “no” to a networking event, or take a mental health day off from work. “Learning to recognize and honor our limitations is hard, but it really helps make life feel a lot less overwhelming,” says Pilcher.

One more reason to draw a few boundaries? Over-scheduling your own time will ultimately prevent your from being fully, honestly available for those around you. “You are allowed to take something off of your plate if you are starting to feel like you’ve taken on too much. Making yourself a martyr isn’t helping anyone,” says the therapist. Those in your life who love you are far more interest in hanging with the happiest, most-fulfilled version of you than an empty shell of your former self.

Your Myers-Briggs personality type can tell you a lot about your burnout tendencies. And if you’re going on vacation, here’s how to make sure it’s actually the relaxing getaway your mind needs

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