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Are you feeling stressed and overwhelmed with “holding too many plates”?

The phrase "holding too many plates" can be used as a metaphor for being overwhelmed, having too many responsibilities to manage at once, along with taking on too much from others. When we look at this from a mental health lens, this phrase can refer to the experience of having too many stressors or demands on one's time and energy, which can lead to feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, stress, and even depression.

When you are holding too many plates, you may feel like you are constantly juggling multiple tasks or priorities that are placed on you by yourself or by others, and you may struggle to find the time or energy to take care of your own needs. You may find it hard to focus, challenge in making decisions, and not feel like you are making any progress with juggling so many things at once. This can lead to feelings of burnout, as well as physical and emotional exhaustion. Over time, chronic stress and overwhelm which fuels into what may feel like a spiral or cycle that you are not sure how to stop.

There are many factors that play into the “why” of feeling overwhelmed, with therapy, we are able to explore and understand what contributes to this overwhelming, any underlying causes, and explore how to manage and conquer your overwhelm.

One thing of focus is learning about your limits and boundaries. We care about our relationships and so we may be allowing them to add more “plates” to what we are already holding and it is getting tiring. As the weight grows (aka our overwhelm and stress), we begin to feel buried, dismissed, invalidated and more. Let’s see if there are ways to remove some “plates” before we are buried beneath them.

Here are some ways to manage the overwhelm you experience and making sure you are not adding more “plates” to what you are holding in therapy:

  1. Identify and prioritize the causes of overwhelm: I will work with you to identify the specific causes of your overwhelm, whether it's work, family responsibilities, or other stressors. By prioritizing these causes, I will help you focus on the most important issues and work to develop strategies for managing them.

  2. Teach relaxation and mindfulness techniques: I will help to teach you relaxation and mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing exercise, meditation, and other stress-reducing techniques. These techniques can help you reduce your stress and anxiety, and create a sense of calm and control.

  3. Develop coping strategies: I will work with you to develop coping strategies for managing overwhelm. This might include setting boundaries, learning to say no, delegating tasks to others, or breaking large tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces. We will work together to find what works best for you.

  4. Explore underlying emotional issues: Overwhelm can sometimes be a symptom of underlying emotional issues, such as anxiety, depression, or trauma. I will work with you to explore these underlying emotional issues and develop strategies for managing them.

It's important for you when you are feeling overwhelmed or like you are holding too many plates to take steps to reduce your stress and prioritize self-care. This can involve delegating tasks, setting healthy boundaries, practicing relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing, and seeking support from friends, family members, or mental health professionals if needed. By taking these steps, individuals can work to manage their stress and protect their mental health. Overall, mental health services, aka therapy, will help you address overwhelm by providing support, guidance, and practical strategies for managing stress and anxiety. By working with a therapist, you will develop the skills they need to reduce overwhelm and improve your mental health and well-being.

Blog Disclaimer - These posts are not meant to treat, diagnose, or serve as a replacement for therapy. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, please contact your local crisis center or dial 911. Here are more immediate resources as well.

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