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Dealing with Being Overwhelmed Successfully (Reprise)


07Sep 2008

After being on the road for a week in California, I came home fairly tired. As the weekend progressed I seemed to get more tired — both emotionally and physically. And as I started dealing with home-related (e.g. lawn) and family matters, as well as getting caught up on some minor office work and then looking ahead to the beginning of next week, I started feeling emotionally overloaded. So I started taking a personal inventory of what was going on. I thought about my own advice I’ve given previously on different types of tiredness and different types of rest as well as what I have written about being overwhelmed and ways to try to keep your life balanced.So I reviewed key principles:

  • Get rest. Check. I slept in on Saturday and took a nap today.
  • Keep exercising. Check. I did some physical labor in the yard yesterday and I ran (figuratively speaking) today.
  • Eat well. (Stay away from sugar, caffeine and junk food). Well, I didn’t totally blow it. Had some cake.
  • Take a break and do something rejuvenating. Check. Went to a high school football game Friday night, spent time with Kathy, went for a walk in the woods, and watched the Jayhawks win in football.
  • Prioritize — figure out what needs to be done now. Check. Went through my mail, email and incompleted work and figured out what had to be done now, what needs to be done Monday, and what can wait.

But it wasn’t working. I was still feeling quite stressed and emotionally overloaded. What was up? And then it hit me — the real issue was that I was carrying the weight of responsibility for things I really wasn’t responsible. I was stressed and feeling overwhelmed because I was concerned about things that weren’t really my responsibility. All the steps I had taken would have reduced my stress if I was just dealing with my regular responsibilities. But I was taking on additional issues that weren’t mine and they were stressing me out.

So once I realized: 1) what I was really stressed about; 2) that the issues weren’t my responsibility to take care of; and 3) I could quit worrying about things that weren’t mine to carry — then I began to feel more “normal” (at least, just normally tired).

So if you are stressed, you are doing the best you can to manage your stress, and you still feel overwhelmed — do
another check.

Are you taking on and carrying responsibility that is not yours to carry?

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