“When I’m good, I’m very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better. ”
Mae West

(photo credit: World of Harmony)

K.Y.L.  It means, for those who are not sure, “Know Your Limits”. It’s not as easy as it would seem!

Recently I have noticed that my “inner bitch” has been more mentally vocal of late. My patience is thinner than normal – to the point of nearly being non-existent if I have to deal with inefficiency and laziness at the office. Yikes. Without quite seeing it it, I’ve been feeling unsettled, with a low-level of anxiety, for the past couple of weeks. A number of things have been contributing to it..but the main this is that I have been pushing myself and not acknowledging my own limits. I always have some big project or big idea on the go, and my passions for helping people often translate into taking on way too much.This unsettled feeling translated for a while into me doing more, More, MORE. Why I go that way when I am overwhelmed & tired…well, that’s something I need to watch. Chalk it up to that old Type-A personality of mine!

How does one recognise when they have pushed themselves beyond their limits? It’s taken me over 47 years, but I think I am finally starting to recognize my own signs…I am finally KYL-ing myself better! For me, a very patient person normally, I see that my patience wears desperately thin, and I just need to get away from people as I pull in emotionally. My sensory input goes on overload – noise drives me up the wall and create low-level stress that grows. If I don’t address it, I begin to get agitated and antsy – craving sweet or salty foods…too irritated and exhausted to make healthy meals. (My kids love that phase because pizza becomes a staple!) My ability to push myself to exercise, meditate, and do my yoga becomes compromised…I’d rather just sleep. I find making simple decisions, like what’s for dinner, become irritating and burdensome – I resent having to decide. I also notice that I seek TV “fluff” more, and need to read simple fantasy books. (When I am really overwhelmed and pushed beyond my limits, I crave paranormal romance novels. Nothing like a good sexy and ripped immortal highlander to rescue you from the drudgery of your own thoughts, eh? Gives me a whole new perspective on “Hot Flash”!)

Now that I see that I have been pushing myself beyond my own limits, I can deliberately do the things that bring me back to my centre and allow me to rediscover my personal balance – things such as rest more, do more yoga, read or watch more mindless “fluff”, or pull back a bit on some of my personal projects. (Instead of 5 big personal projects, I cut it down to 2, with plans to take on the other 3 down the road when the timing and energy is better! Yay me! Hah!)

For me, this balancing act, and the ability to know my own limits, is critical. If I push beyond them, I risk provoking a seizure. I would really rather not, thank you very much. While I am never “there” myself – they really cause quite a cuff-uffle for friends and family due to their drama.

How about you? Do you have any signs or habits that signal that you’re maybe doing too much and going beyond your own limits?  KYL for yourself!

“The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves.”
Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times