Experiencing trauma can have a profound impact on your ability to balance your workload and responsibilities. Traumatic experiences often leave you with a constant sense of needing to do more to prove your worth. Generally, this can lead to a pattern of overdoing, where you push yourself beyond your limits and take on an excessive workload. You’re stuck in a habit loop that starts when you have an uncomfortable feeling or thought about your value. You have gotten rid of that feeling by doing something such as worrying, being anxious, or a behavior like overdoing. (Some people smoke, or drink, or overeat instead or as well.) These behaviors lead to a result that in the moment feels good. But after the immediate satisfaction, you end up feeling worse.
8 Steps to Change if you habitually overdo
Here are some strategies to consider around overdoing:
- Recognize and confirm your experience: Understand that your habit to overdo may be a response to past trauma. Acknowledge the impact it has on your well-being and affirm that you deserve rest, self-care, and balance in your life.
- Establish healthy limits: Set clear limits around your workload and learn to prioritize self-care. Understand that it is okay to say no when necessary to protect your well-being and avoid overcommitting. Learn to say no when necessary — whether it’s saying no to additional work or social obligations that would stretch you beyond your limits. Communicate your boundaries assertively and without guilt, respecting your own needs and limits.
- Practice self-compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding. Then, challenge your inner critic who tells you that you are not doing enough or that your worth depends on constant productivity. Remember that your value is not solely defined by your work.
- Engage in self-reflection: Awareness is key. Reflect on your patterns of overdoing and identify triggers or underlying beliefs that drive this behavior. Become aware of the results – both negative and positive – of this behavior. Journaling or therapy can be helpful in gaining insight into your response to trauma and developing healthier coping procedures.
- Listen to your body’s signals: Pay attention to the messages your body sends you. If you’re feeling exhausted, fatigued, or experiencing physical symptoms of stress, it’s a clear sign that you may be overdoing it. It’s your inner critic pushing you to do more. Take these cues as an opportunity to slow down, rest, and engage in self-care activities to restore balance.
- Practice self-care: Prioritize regular self-care activities that promote relaxation and renewal. This can include taking part in hobbies, practicing mindfulness or meditation, exercising, or spending quality time with loved ones. Make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine.
- Seek support: Reach out to trusted colleagues, friends, or professionals. They can provide guidance and support when you recognize that you are overdoing. In effect, they can help confirm your experiences and offer strategies to manage your workload and stress levels effectively.
- Seek professional help if needed: If your experiences of overdoing (or underdoing) significantly impact your daily life, relationships, or mental health, consider seeking support from a coach. A professional can provide guidance, tools, and techniques to help you become aware of your triggers and find healthier ways of balancing your responsibilities.
My role is to support you in being courageous and help you clarify your habit loop. I look forward to celebrating you in becoming free of overdoing. Start today!