How to Stop Overextending

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Work, family, hobbies, passions. Our lives are filled with so, so many things Alhamdulilah. But what happens when there’s too much? I have the tendency to overfill my days, stuffing them as full as I can until my day planner is virtually whimpering in defeat. And I love helping other people – firstly because I love my friends and seeing them struggle makes me sad but also because I pray that in helping others, I am pleasing Allah.

With all of this, I have a problem saying no even if I’m not sure just how I’m going to fit in another item on my to do list for the day. I’m reluctant to turn down opportunities for myself because who knows when something else will come along and I loathe turning down my friends because I love them and I know they need help and the thought of them not getting it makes me vaguely panicky.

But sometimes, something’s just got to give. There are only so many hours in the day and I can only make a minute stretch so far before it breaks and starts begging for mercy. So what do you do when you find yourself in this kind of a predicament?

Well, you definitely shouldn’t do what I did! I refused to admit defeat and just kept letting it all pile up on top of me until the weight felt suffocating and I was so overwhelmed that I managed to do sweet nothing besides eat my body weight in ice cream, pizza and sweets because I needed the comfort of the junk overload and curl into a ball while watching TV and pretending the world outside my little cocoon didn’t exist.

Obviously, that little breakdown ended terribly. But, I did end up learning some things. Most importantly – just as much as I love my friends, so do they love me too. And if I need some time to get my head on straight, they’ll be willing to give it to. Because they’re reasonable human beings, not dragons.

I also learned my own limits. I learned that I can handle a certain amount of stress and worry before I shut down in an effort to stop overloading. I won’t lie and say that I immediately changed my ways and never got near overloading ever again because that’s a blatant lie and those are rude. But, I learned that I do have a breaking point. I can only do so much before I break myself and when that happens, I might end up letting down ten people instead of turning down two.

So, if you’ve got a tendency to spread yourself too thin like I do, maybe take this little blog post as a cautionary tale. And if you’ve already hit your breakdown and feel like the worst person in the world? Know that you’re not the only one. I did it and I might end up doing it again. You’re not terrible, you’re just a human who’s hit their limit and needs to take a step back.

My advice to all of you is to make sure you’ve got wiggle room. These days, even if I might be able to fit something else on my plate, I prefer knowing that I’ve got a little room to stumble. Just in case. Be kind to yourself and remember, doing ten things badly isn’t necessarily better than doing four beautifully.

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