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What are your limits that prevent you being overstretched? Part I

What do you know of your limits – emotional, physical, mental and spiritual? What is the necessary amount of space you need to function at your best and not collapse into a gibbering stressed heap or explode into a crazy raging person?

And therefore – you guessed it – how are you protecting that space with good boundaries?

What do you know of your limits?

What do you know of your limits?

One way we know that our boundaries are fairly permeable is when we find ourselves overwhelmed with life, drained and – in my case – turning into grumpy psycho mum. Energy levels totally drained, no reserves of patience, grace, empathy left for anyone, and a very short fuse of intolerance towards my nearest-and-dearest (why are those closest to us always the ones that get it in the neck?). Not a pretty picture. I am a gut person – I am passionate about life, exuberant, unconventional and usually full of energy. But when that energy is depleted, I spiral down into feeling stressed, overworked and that I have to respond to everyone else’s needs whilst ignoring my own. At that point, those same gut instincts can erupt into a visceral explosion that is totally disproportionate to the situation.

I find myself resenting what I do for others, feeling neglected and uncared for, and that I am my own – and everyone else’s – lowest priority. I have gone beyond my own limits.

But need this situation have arisen? Sometimes, life just seems to chuck a whole bucket load of circumstances at you at the same time, over which you have little control. However… and I say this to myself….generally, we have much more responsibility and choice here than we think.

If we choose to live stretched to the limit in all areas, there will be no room for absorbing any extra crises or demands that turn up unexpectedly. If we choose to pack our time full and expend energy in multiple different areas at once, are we surprised that we get to the end of the week and we are exhausted, drained, and the ones we love most suffer most?

Several nasty explosive outbursts on my part, plus growing self awareness have prompted me to stop and pay attention to the triggers that lead up to me losing it. Questions I am learning to ask are:

  • At what point did I start to feel overwhelmed, and what contributed to that?
  • What is missing from my life this week that usually gives me energy?
  • How much of my time this week has been taken up on things that drain my energy?
  • Have I taken any time just for me, without guilt?
  • Where is the anger and resentment coming from?
  • What am I responsible for here, and what am I not?
  • And – crucially and always – what and who are most important here?

How would you answer those questions for yourself when you are heading towards overwhelm? What do you know of your own limits?


3 Thoughts on “What are your limits that prevent you being overstretched? Part I

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