Avoid Being Overwhelmed By Avoiding Overcommitting

Life is a juggling act. There is so much to accomplish, and so many things to do that sometimes it can just become too much. We get sad, we get scared, we become anxious that all of the work we need to do might never get done. When that happens, we get overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed isn’t something that happens overnight. It is a process that can take place over the course of days or weeks or months, and before you know it, we are there, and we are desperately in need of relief. For us teachers, this can present a particular challenge: we want to be able to do everything we possibly can to shape our kid’s lives while continuing to have time for our own. How do we achieve this balance? Well, to start we need to become very clear about what we are capable of. One of the best ways to avoid being overwhelmed is to avoid being overcommitted in the first place.

Plan from the worst case scenario

Many times we accept invitations (Will you sit on this committee? Will you join this organization? Will you come to this event? Will you run this after school activity?) based on the best case scenario. We assume that everything will go smoothly, that our personal lives will remain simple, and that we will have plenty of time to do everything we normally do plus manage this new commitment. Instead of doing that, you want to plan from the worst case scenario. What happens if lots of stuff goes wrong? Will this new commitment still be important enough for you to pursue it? If not, you might need to reconsider your involvement in the activity.

Watch out for guilt trippers

Everybody does a little bit of guilt-tripping now and again. It is a way for people to move us toward doing something that they really want or need for us to do. It also makes us feel terrible. When you feel like you are being guilt-tripped, create some space between you and the person trying to pressure you, so that you can evaluate what is really important to you and whether you can take on the task you’re being asked to do.

Don’t be afraid to say no

We as a society spend a lot of time focused on making the people in our lives happy, but sometimes this isn’t something we can accomplish. It is important to realize that there is no harm in saying no. Sometimes we have to say no to the people who love us in order to preserve our own energy. There is nothing wrong with doing that. Saying no frees us to tend to the obligations we already have. Saying no allows us to be who we need to be instead of who others are expecting us to be.

Being overwhelmed can happen to anybody. We spend a great deal of time trying to cram as much as we can into our schedules and stay busy. There’s nothing wrong with that, but instead of wearing ourselves out with busyness, it is just as important to spend some time making ourselves happy and taking care of ourselves. Avoiding being overcommitted takes care of all of that.

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