Running on Empty? 5 Ways to Top Off Your Tank
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By MariaShriver.com, Featured Columnist

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By Amanda Owen for MariaShriver.com

We all know people who can’t make themselves power-down and get their foot off the metaphorical accelerator. Where did this idea come from that to achieve our goals we need to constantly be busy?

Even though our culture is infatuated with an individual who does it all, carrying 100 percent of the load is not natural. While there is nothing wrong with relying on yourself to accomplish the things you need to do, when your activities run your health into the ground, something has gone wrong.

As women, we are especially vulnerable to over-extending our giving, and many of us have a habit of paying attention to and fulfilling people’s needs in a way that subjugates our own needs and desires.

Do you have a to-do list that is a mile long, but doesn’t include any relaxation time for you? Are your days filled with working, cleaning the house, prepping dinner, helping your children with homework, or helping your elderly parents? Are you so exhausted by the end of the day that you have trouble falling asleep?

Most of us are familiar with the maxim, “It is better to give than receive.” But, doesn’t it make sense that if you give and give and give and don’t receive help from others, you end up depleted? Like anything in life, you need to fill back up what you have given out. You fill the car with gas when the gauge is on empty. If you don’t, the car won’t run. If you don’t plug your computer, phones, and other electronic devices and appliances into a power source, they won’t run either.

Giving is important and should be encouraged. But when giving your all is not balanced with receiving from others, the inevitable result is to end up exhausted and discouraged, which is not a good frame of mind to be in when you are trying to accomplish anything!

In today’s busy world, it is more important than ever to investigate new strategies for helping ourselves.

Here are 5 Ways to Stop Doing It All:

1) Accept offers of help. Just like you put gas in the car so it will run and eat food for energy fuel, let people replenish your reserves by giving to you.

2) Don’t try to do it all. Ask people to do their fair share at home and at work. Let someone else return the library books, walk the dog, or take care of a work assignment.

3) Learn how to say “no.” If you do not honor your boundaries, others won’t either.

4) Take time to smell the roses. Take a break and go outside. Breathe deeply, watch the clouds, and listen to the birds.

5) Observe and evaluate your new actions. Pause, watch, and notice the results of what you set in motion by your activities, and you will learn important information that will help you.

Make a commitment to receive something every day, whether you accept a compliment, welcome an offer of help, or notice something beautiful in your environment. You will not only feel healthier in mind, body and spirit, you will also have a better chance of achieving your personal and professional goals.

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