When you take on more than you can handle

Posted by on Aug 23, 2013 in Personal Development | 17 comments

I must think I’m Superwoman- better than because I’m don’t just kick ass, I also think I can do everything! Okay, maybe not everything, but a lot.

You might call me an over-achiever. Other words to describe me include energetic, enthusiastic, self-motivated, and, yes, sometimes a people-pleaser. Let’s face it, I can get myself into trouble. Conversely, I can also get myself into a whole lotta awesome, and usually there’s more awesome than trouble, though trouble does find me from time-to-time, as it finds us all.

Sometimes I just overbook myself- that’s okay, I’m not perfect. Sometimes I agree to a situation without having the necessary information- not because I didn’t ask but rather because I wasn’t told or didn’t realize the full impact- that’s okay, too, I can’t ever know everything about everything. I may be Superwoman but I’m not omnipotent.

So here I am, finding myself in a situation where I have taken on more than I can handle. I get to decide how I’m going to respond (not react) to this situation. I can try to do it all but I know the cost is too high. Every time I push myself too far I end up making myself physically ill. I mean really ill. Trying to do it all is not an option so I’m going to choose something else.

What’s a person to do when you’ve taken on more than you can handle? Here’s what I do, and what I recommend you try, too.

let_go_by_Laura1995Image by Laura1995

Take care of yourself

You absolutely, positively, without question must take good care of yourself– first and foremost!

Take it easy

Challenging yourself is a fantastic way to boost your enjoyment of life and your potential but sometimes what you need is to do the easy thing instead of the hard thing. Do the hard thing when that’s what you need- for now, the easy way is a-okay!

Keep it simple

Simplify your life as much as your can. Focus only on what’s really important. Remember, the important stuff isn’t necessarily the most urgent- sometimes those things that seem urgent are really quite unimportant in the end.

Disappoint the right people

You’re only responsible for and to your own happiness. This is YOUR life and only you can make the best of it. Sometimes that means disappointing the right people, including friends, co-workers, acquaintances, etc. The wrong person to disappoint is you!

Be a quitter

Stop giving your time and attention to people, places, and things that aren’t adding value your life. Know when to quit!

Be guilt-free

We all find ourselves in situations that aren’t working out for one reason or another so don’t let it get you down. So what if you made a mistake or poor choice. Learn from the experience and move on. Guilt has no place in an awesome life!

Do your best and forget the rest

All you can do is best. Some days your best is better than other days. Most days your best is pretty amazing so don’t worry about what you can’t do, just do your best and forget the rest!


I love your comments! What do you do when you take on more than you can handle? How has it worked out for you?


  1. Well, the first thing I usually do is focus on my breathing – I tried to breathe heavily and forget my worries – forget the fact that a part of my brain is telling me I can’t do it, and focus on the part that tells me that I can achieve whatever I want 😀

    Great tips, Chrysta!

    I am trying to live a simplistic life, I haven’t got there yet, but I know I can (Sometimes I do feel that I am over complicating things by over thinking situations I face).

    I do agree with your points on quitting, being guilt-free and disappointing the right people.

    There are times in which we do need to quit. We really don’t want to waste our time and energy onto something that can be considered impossible (Of course, we do need to train ourselves to evaluate the situations we face – realize when we need to quit and when we need to try harder).

    As for being guilt free, you are right. Learn from our mistakes and move on.

    We are responsible for our happiness. Yes, there are instances when we should perhaps sacrifice our happiness for our loves ones. But, we shouldn’t always conform. We may not always be able to live according to others’ expectations (why should we ever live according to others’ expectations? After all, it is our life). This is one question I am still trying to answer: When we should care about others (or what they think about us)? And when should we not?

    Anyways, thank you for sharing the tips, Chrysta!

    • Thanks for your truly awesome comment, Jeevan!

      I want to apologize for taking so long to reply to you- I was on vacation and am just catching up on emails and replies. I do appreciate your comment!

      Your suggestion to focus on breathing is spot-on. When things get challenging for me I can get caught up in everything that’s happening and focusing on my breathing is an easy and simple way to gain clarity and peace in an otherwise overwhelming moment.

      I also have a habit of over-thinking and I’m continuing to practice turning my brain off! Easy breathing helps me with this, as well.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and insights! Have a grateful day!


      • No problem, Chrysta :)

        Indeed. Although I do find difficulty in deep breathing (I want to make it a habit, involuntary action so that I don’t need to think about doing it).

        I am learning archery, and I am still struggling a bit because of over thinking about the target 😀 Somethings need to be instincts, we just need to go with our gut feeling, instead of thinking about it.

        No problem :) I hope you have a great rest of the week!

        Hope you are enjoying your vacation 😀

  2. Hi Chrysta,

    Awesome article, I’ve just forwarded it to my wife. My wife has suffered a depression attack last year when she developed a guilt feeling for something she wasn’t directly involved or responsible.


  3. Hey Chrysta,

    I hope you’re doing okay now and have made all the right decisions about biting off more then you can chew. I know the feeling, we want to be super woman and sometimes we do overextend ourselves.

    I love your advice here and as always, some of it is easier said then done. All solid advice though and something we should or need to do in this case.

    I’ve finally learned to say no. I know that accepting things can benefit me getting myself out there more but sometimes I just don’t have the time and I hate to do that to myself or the other person. It’s been a struggle at times but we learn from our mistakes right!

    Thank you for sharing this and again, hope all is well with you.


    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Adrienne!

      I have to say I totally blew it after writing this post. I didn’t follow any of my suggestions and I made myself super sick. Guess what this week’s blog post is going to be about?

      Just when I think I’ve mastered saying no, I put myself in a bind because I don’t say no. Well, I can keep trying next time, and the time after that, and the time after that!

      Have a wonderful day!


  4. I love, love, love this!!!! especially the “know when to quit.” Good for you. We are always hearing – don’t be a quitter. This was refreshing! Blessings, Amy

    • Thanks for your lovely comment, Amy!

      You know, I need to remind myself it’s okay to quit- especially when it’s good for my health and happiness. Life’s too short to stick with someone that isn’t working just to avoid quitting, am I right? :)

      So glad you stopped by! Have a wonderful day!


  5. Great suggestions, Chrysta! One that really strikes me is “disappointing the right people.” It’s so easy to fall into people-pleaser mode because the pats on the back and everyone noticing how smart and wonderful we are feels good. Sometimes, things really can’t get done just like I’ve planned and it’s so important to reframe who I’m letting down by turning in something substandard or pushing myself to the breaking point. Thanks for planting this seed!

    • Thanks for your insightful comment, Alli!

      I love being reminded of the concept of disappointing the right people because that’s so important for me to keep in mind. Trying to please everyone usually results in pleasing no one- certainly not myself and those nearest and dearest to me.

      Have a grateful day!


  6. I love how you say you’re going to “respond (not react)” to the situation. That’s such a great distinction. “Response” implies deliberate thought and action, where “react” implies a sudden, panicked reaction done spur of the moment–what most of us do when we’re overwhelmed, but which only makes things worse.

    You’ve got a whole blog post in that itself, I think!

    • You got that right!

      Really, I used to live my life like a pinball, getting bounced around between the flippers- that life was not awesome. That’s what it feels like to me when I react instead of respond. Responding, on the other hand, happens when I recognize I am responsible for my life while acknowledging I can’t control everything else. No matter what happens I can decide what I’m going to do.

      Maybe I will make this a blog post! :)

      Have an awesome day!


  7. Hi Chrysta

    I can’t even figure out how I kept at the pace I was at when working at my last job. So glad that nightmare is behind me. I did lose who I was and I gave more than I should have. It did make me sick, but I had no time to be sick. I look back and think what an awful way to live.

    In life we have to have a balance and when that doesn’t happen we suffer. As you say it is our life and we have to take of ourselves first. For those that want to use us will soon forget us when we quit giving, so why drain your energy on those who really don’t care.

    Great list.


    • I agree, Mary. I don’t know how I managed at my last job where I was burned out, under-appreciated, and overworked- no one should live life this way! Unfortunately in our society there’s still a standard expectation to overextend ourselves financially, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Society tells us this is how we’ll live the good life but of course that’s never gonna happen. And, as you pointed out, all too often we give too much to exactly those people that don’t really care about us.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment! Have a grateful day!


  8. Hi Chrysta,

    All great tips! Being guilt free however is a tough one when you take on more than you can handle. It sort of puts me in this loop of trying to get stuff done, not doing it, then feeling guilty about it.

    It can be a tough loop to get out of. But following the other tips you suggest can certainly help.


    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Liz!

      Being guilt-free is absolutely hard for me, though I do find it a little easier when I recognize that guilt isn’t helping anyone- not me or those I think I might have let down. I refuse to go through life miserable and unhappy so that means I have to let go of what other people think of me, or what I think other people think of me, and I have to let go of the guilt.

      Have a grateful day!


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