The importance of knowing your limits

These days, popular culture encourages us to “reach our full potential” and “rise beyond our limits” in an attempt to be the best version of ourselves. While this is a most admirable message to give, it is not always grounded in reality. While some may find this helpful, this can create a sense of ‘never being good enough’, always needing to achieve more and become better. Most of us have fallen victim to this at some point.

Recognising our limits

It is important that while we recognise our strengths and capacities; we also recognise the limits of such capacities. This means finding the balance between being productive and simply being. This is subjective and varies from person to person. What might be my limit could be very different to someone else’s. Finding your own limit is key! 

Getting things done requires energy and when we do it excessively, this energy becomes frenetic. Before we know it we’re stressed, cranky, emotionally heightened and hypersensitive to our environment and the people in it. Sound familiar? 

What helps?

Knowing when to take a step back, press the pause button and breathe is imperative to help counteract this. When we don’t do this, we fail to meet our emotional needs. While being busy is an inevitability of life, it’s good to know that you CAN do something to help yourself out of this way of being. Not taking a break leads to prolonged stress and anxiety so it’s vital to find your own window of tolerance.

My experience 

Recently, I fell victim to my own habitual behaviour patterns by doing this very thing. I was attempting to do far too many things at once and found myself in ‘doing mode’ most of the time. This resulted in my feeling tired, overwhelmed, stressed and anxious. As soon as I checked in with myself, I realised I needed to step back, pause & take a deep breath. I also realised I was neglecting my emotional needs; I just needed to chill out for an evening! 

I reminded myself that I am only human and I can only do so much. Developing this mantra as well as practising daily calm and some yoga helped me to slow down and relax. 

Concluding thoughts

Life is life and some levels of stress are inevitable at times. The important thing to recognise is that we are only human and we can only do so much. Perhaps after reading this you’ll decide to take a break or begin to think about your own limits as a starting point.

Please note for a more detailed account on stress and anxiety management, see this previous post.  And as always, if you feel you need more help in this area, then check out my list of affordable therapy services here. Good luck!