Help-overwhelmedHave you ever found yourself in the midst of so many things that you clearly know that you are over-extended and overwhelmed? The reason dear reader that you haven’t heard from me recently is that I have been just that – over-extended and overwhelmed.

Normally people think of the summer months as low key and laid back. Not for me. This summer was one of the busiest periods that I can remember. Perhaps like many of you, I found myself juggling family responsibilities, work duties, family  and social gatherings and commitments, as well as a whole host of other activities that kept me in perpetual motion. During times when I wasn’t physically moving, my mind was racing, engaged in planning, evaluating and decision making around all of the things I need to do. The list of tasks seemed to multiply like rabbits left unattended and furiously propagating!

No amount of list making helped. Even my well honed managerial skills seemed inadequate. What needed to happen, what needed to get done was beyond accomplishing. Finding myself over-extended, it is not surprising that I realized that I was overwhelmed.

A long time ago I realized that a contributing factor to feeling over-extended and overwhelmed was the difficulty and inability to say no.  Since then, which by the way seems like forever ago, I have been practicing saying no –no to myself, no to others, no to the idea that I could do everything that I and others hoped and expected. Like many of you, no is not an easy word for me to say. So I routinely find myself over-extended and overwhelmed.

If this has ever happened to you, you know that this is a scary combination – over-extended and overwhelmed! It’s like running a car on fumes, you know you are on the verge of shutting down which only increases the anxiety.  I have even found that when one thinks the solution is getting away for a few days to relax that such a plan merely adds onto the list of things to get done – packing, traveling somewhere, settling into someone’s house or some other place. What seems on the surface to be a temporary relief just creates additional things to be done. When you begin to view a few days away in this way, you know that you are really in trouble!

I headed into this summer thinking that there would be lots of time for rest and relaxation. Summer is now over, the fall schedule is in full swing and here I am staring at a calendar and To DO list that cries out – over-extended and overwhelmed.

I am not sure of the moral of this tale, other than I clearly know that somehow, someday I need to figure out how to stop being over-extended and overwhelmed. And if this resonates for you I recommend that you start by recognizing that a key to say no more often – no to yourself, no to others, no to the false idea that you can do everything that you and others hope and expect you to do. For sure, a lot easier to say and write than to practice; but clearly necessary for our future longevity and any hope to establish or re-establish equanimity in our lives! Joanne

P.S. More on equanimity in my next post . . .

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