There is a fine line between not doing enough and doing too much in any given day. How do you know if you're over-scheduling yourself into a total stress ball? Some say the clearest indicator is that you're short-tempered. Do you find yourself getting angry with people for no reason? This is a common reaction to the stress of doing too much, which in turn can cause you to get hyper-emotional about everything and nothing.
Here's an example. You race off to a meeting at a restaurant. You sit down and are immediately assaulted by the sound of a baby crying at the next table. You demand that the waiter talk to the baby's parent. Why are you being so high-strung about this situation? Your reaction might not be a response to the baby's crying but to the fact that you're stressed-out in general.
Here are a few other clues that you're turbo-loading your schedule in an unhealthy way:
1. You're constantly screaming at people.
If you're becoming a rageaholic, try some mindful breathing exercises. Another tip I like is to try to get rid of nonobligatory appointments and replace them with something relaxing.
For instance, if you feel you really don't need to be part of your sixth school bake sale of the year, but you would be more than willing to volunteer to accompany your child's class on a school trip spent wandering around a museum, make the change. You'll thank yourself later.
2. You're always feeling tired and slightly sick.
Remember that stress plays upon your health, so constant headaches, stomachaches, and even that nervous, jittery feeling are signs that you're overdoing it with your schedule.
3. You're always late.
Maybe that's your thing — always being late. And your friends even laugh about it: "That Tom, he's never on time. You can count on him being late." The truth is, if you're always late, you're probably trying to do too much. Take out a few variables and you might be on time.
4. You're a clutter king or queen.
Are there piles of stuff cascading all over your kitchen counter or desk? Maybe you don't have a real filing system but are so busy that you just toss everything from bills to catalogs to that college reunion notice on top of the mountain of clutter.
If you're too busy to run your own life, it's time to stage an intervention. Hire a clutter expert or spend a long Saturday organizing and throwing out and shredding what you don't need. Set aside a day each week to keep it all organized, or fit in a half hour at work to do the same with your desk.
5. You can't remember the last time you smiled.
If you're just trudging through your day trying to get it all done without much success ... well, that's no way to live. If you can't remember the last time you smiled or had a bit of fun, then it's time to examine your schedule and weed out what's not necessary.
Remember that life is short. You don't always want to spend time doing things out of obligation — such as watching your neighbor's kids for the tenth time.
Adapted from Soothe by Jim Brickman. Copyright (c) 2015 by Jim Brickman. By permission of Rodale Books. Available wherever books are sold.
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