Let's Talk Lifestyle Mental Health

A Year In Reflection: Are You Stretching or Overextending Yourself?

A while back I finished reading Audre Lorde’s ‘A Burst of Light and Other Essays’. Whilst I don’t consider it to be the best introduction to her body of work, I’m grateful for the profound wisdom that she shares within it especially pertaining to her experience as a cancer patient. You can read my favourite quotes from the book on my Instagram page here.

Ever since I read the book, one quote has particularly struck out to me:

“Overextending myself is not stretching myself. I had to accept how difficult it is to monitor the difference.”

This is a quote that will resonate for a lot of ambitious people or people who are caught in the cycle of constantly doing more. Over the past couple of months, I’ve found myself declining events because I knew I would be falling into the trap of overextending myself in the guise of stretching myself. So many of us (myself included) have become masters at lying to ourselves. Instead of acknowledging our limits, we knowingly interchange these two things.  The key difference between stretching and overextending lies in the simple truth that one of them is healthy, it leads to growth and development whilst the other leads to burnout.

I can’t tell you what the tipping point is, that is something you have to determine for yourself. But this year I’ve come to recognise that what I need is different from other people, and the earlier I accept that the better life will be.

This year I also made a conscious effort to pay more attention to my body and mind. Our mind and body communicate with us every day and sometimes we like to ignore the red flags.

“Resting is important. Recharging is important.”

I’ve listed a few tips below to help you with your self-care journey.

  1. Say No more often: I once heard Iyanla say that we make people thieves when we give them what we don’t have and that gem has stuck with me since!
  2. Pause before saying yes: I’m going to expand on this in another post, but I try my best to be cautious with the promises I make. I easily underestimate the time it will take for me to do things.
  3. Listen:  Listening to the needs of our body is so important. If you feel tired, don’t ignore it. Focus on eating well and getting some exercise to recharge.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic! Join the conversation below by sharing your opinion on Audre Lorde’s quote. 

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