Ditch the guilt to reduce your stress

This month my focus is on Managing Your Stress and Anxiety levels. Feelings of guilt play a big part in increasing stress and anxiety levels so it’s important to be able to recognise what events trigger these feelings and learn how to manage them better.

I remember back in the early 2000s multi-tasking was a big buzz phrase. If you weren’t doing several things at a time, then you weren’t working hard enough! I was never a fan of multi-tasking. For me, it felt that I was doing lots of things at the same time but not doing any of them to the best of my ability – spinning all those plates and juggling all those balls. I felt guilty about having so much to do and guilty about not having the amount of time I wanted to dedicate to each – mainly family time, socialising with friends and my work. Multi-tasking did suit some people but the perfectionist in me wouldn’t allow me to do what I considered to be half-a-job.

It’s not always easy to be supportive and available to everyone when you have demands for your time from many different areas such as:-

  • an intense job
  • a young family
  • caring responsibilities for older members of the family.

Some people are naturally people-pleasers, but you can end up feeling guilty when you’re not able to meet sometimes unrealistic demands on your time and energy from yourself and from others.

Feeling guilty can affect all areas of your life and show itself in many different ways that you may not recognise at first.

  • In your health – with increased mental and physical pressures you may start suffering with headaches and migraines, you may have bouts of IBS and have increased blood pressure.
  • At work – burning the candle at both ends will result in sleep deprivation which can lead to brain-fog, slow reaction times, self-doubt about your ability to do a good job.
  • With your family & friends – you become short-tempered, irritable and snappy around them.

It all starts with YES!

You say YES to a night out because you don’t want to miss out but sometimes you would rather be at home doing something more relaxing.

You say YES to working late on a project at work because it’s in your nature to finish what you’ve started.

You say YES to being on that committee because you enjoy being involved with what’s going on.

You say YES to doing something with the children or for a family member because you feel you don’t spend enough time with them.

Get the picture? People start seeing you as the go-to-person if they want something done as you always get the job done and never say no. You are always at their beck-and-call and they feel that you enjoy being their ‘Fourth Emergency Service’. It’s not about saying no and not getting involved, it’s about recognising when your default is to people-please. A busy person will always be asked to do more so it’s up to you to set the boundaries.


Setting boundaries

We’ve just had Self-care September and setting boundaries around your time spent supporting for others will help you to establish your self-care routine. You can still download my self-care ideas chart here.

Three things to reduce feels of guilt

      1.Prioritise your time and activities

Be realistic and set aside time each week for things you would like to do with family, for family, for yourself, with friends and for work commitments.

     2. Keep a diary

It will help to keep you on track. Also, when you are feeling guilty about not doing enough in any area, this will help you (and others) to see how much you have done. It’s also useful to give yourself some thinking time when someone asks for help. You can say you need to check your diary as you have a lot on.

    3. Have routines

If you don’t have a morning or bedtime routine introduce them and share these with others in the household who may need to know. Inject some fun into the routines if you can as it takes away some of the formal feel of it. A morning routine will help to start your day on a positive note and a bedtime routine will help you to have a better nights’ sleep.

Once you’ve set your boundaries and start living by them, you will start to have respect for your time. You (and sometimes others) with start to recognise how much you are actually doing in many different areas of your life. You’ll have more self-confidence, feel more in control and be in a better position to manage your stress and anxiety levels and reduce unnecessary feels of guilty.


About Sharon

Sharon Taylor -Complete HarmonySharon has been working as a complementary therapist for over 10 years and loves helping people to feel more uplifted, focused and positive about their life.

If you need help reducing and managing your stress and anxiety levels get in touch. Working together, Sharon will help you to identify your stressors and suggest techniques that you can use to manage and reduce your stress and anxiety levels. Then, Sharon will help you to implement an achievable maintenance programme.