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3 Signs You’re Wearing Yourself Out—and What You Can Do About It

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Here’s how to stop overcommitting but still stay involved in everything important to you.

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There’s a difference between being busy and doing too much. A few common signs of the latter: frequently working until you’re exhausted; feeling paralyzed by the number of items on your to-do list; or not turning in work that meets your usual expectations. All of this can take a toll on you emotionally, too. “The consequence of overcommitting is disappointment, which is usually fueled by a fear of people not liking them or disapproval,” explains Alexandra Janelli, a life coach and certified hypnotherapist in New York City.

If you’re a serial “yes” person—and check off one or all of the above signs of being overcommitted—you may need to conduct a little self-intervention. First, find five minutes to spend some quality time with your calendar. List out all of your activities, then survey your schedule and priorities. You can look for ways to cut corners and make changes to free it up. Can you combine exercise and seeing your best friend by taking a fitness class together? Is it possible to be flexible with family dinners and get together for breakfast instead?

“While there is a great sense of pride in helping people, commitments are about wanting to, not having to,” Janelli explains. Consider whether you actually want to do something and use it as a guide to cutting down your schedule.

Next, to keep your calendar as orderly as possible (and your stress at a minimum), learn how to say no. But use more words than that, Janelli says. “Instead of just saying no, offer an alternative to your help or a simple explanation as to what’s getting in the way.” If you’ve already committed, you can back out if you give enough advance notice—and hold off on excuses. “Make sure that when you back out of your commitment, you take full responsibility,” Janelli says.

Then, since your schedule is still likely to be packed, find ways to bring more balance to it. Budget in some time to relax, whether that’s in the form of meditation, listening to a new album, gentle yoga stretches, or a quick run. Speaking of: Regular exercise and a healthy diet are also key to staying healthy, both inside and out. Add Emergen-C Energy+, which has natural caffeine from green tea as well as B vitamins and vitamin C, to your morning routine to start your day on the right foot. The better you feel, the more able you are to take on a packed schedule. Pencil in some breathing room—literally and figuratively—and you’ll be able to navigate your lineup of parties, meetings, fundraisers, and races in stride.

Get more great health and wellness stories at MarthaStewart.com/Strive.