Do you want to learn how to stop overworking? Does it ever turn into a never-ending cycle for you of just continuing to do more and more and more until you feel frazzled, anxious, burnt-out, and your body and mind FORCE you to stop?
When you are a high-achiever who struggles with high-functioning anxiety, it’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of overworking and pushing past your limits.
It’s easy to say just let me finish this one last thing… or, I need to change this now otherwise it won’t be good enough and it definitely can’t wait until tomorrow. Or to think, I’ll finish all this work and then I can relax… but not until I finish.
Is it easy for you to justify overworking because you just can’t stop thinking about work? Or because you’re afraid of what will happen if you don’t keep working?
The fact of the matter is that your overworking is not helping you do more work and get ahead more quickly… but it’s just resulting in you burning out and not caring for your mental health.
I just want to note: it is absolutely possible to go through phases and periods of time where you are working more, but it is essential to balance out this overworking with periods of rest and recovery.
It’s all about listening to yourself and what your mind and body need to feel fully rested, calm, and at their full capacity… because that is how you’ll get the best work done anyway!
Now here are my 4 TIPS for how to stop overworking with high-functioning anxiety… some of them might be surprising to you!
How To Stop Overworking With High-Functioning Anxiety
Tip #1: Challenge Your Beliefs
You may have limiting beliefs under the surface that are driving your behaviors to overwork. Limiting beliefs are “false beliefs that prevent us from pursuing our goals and desires.” Some examples of these limiting beliefs include:
- I can’t relax unless I’ve been productive.
- If I take a break, that means I’m lazy.
- I need to work hard and struggle to get ahead.
- If I don’t do this, then I’m going to fail.
- I need to be productive everyday.
These are beliefs that you may have learned at some point in your life, whether it was from important adults in your life, societal messages, or your culture. And they have an influence on your behaviors whether you realize it or not!
Question Your Limiting Beliefs
One way you can challenge your limiting beliefs is to write them down and question them. Act as though you are a detective really trying to investigate the validity of these thoughts. Let’s look at the limiting belief, “I can’t relax unless I’ve been productive.”
Start by looking at the facts, is it really true that you cannot relax unless you’ve been productive? Who created this rule? What will happen if you don’t follow this rule? Will it mean that you aren’t good enough or worthy enough as a person?
Keep digging deeper and questioning these beliefs. The reality is that there is no rule that says you cannot relax unless you’ve been productive. You don’t need to earn rest and relaxation. You might experience difficult emotions that come up when you relax such as guilt and fear, but these are just emotions. They might feel uncomfortable, but you can certainly cope with them.
Once you’ve gone through that process, then you can rewrite the belief. So: “I can’t relax unless I’ve been productive” might become “I don’t need to earn relaxation. Relaxing makes me more productive.”
As a final step, take that new belief and become best friends with it. Write it down somewhere you can regularly see it. Repeat it daily as an affirmation, and over time you will begin to rewrite your limiting beliefs into new empowering beliefs.
Tip #2: Increase Your Self-Worth
Your self-worth isn’t tied to your work, how much you do, or how successful you are. But, somewhere along the line you might have learned this. Maybe it was when you received positive feedback for getting a good grade in school, or for doing well on a presentation or project at work. You felt good about yourself, and as a result, you might have become reliant on achievements to feel good or to feel “good enough.”
Self-worth is defined as “the sense of one’s own value or worth as a person.” It’s the belief that you are a valuable human who is worthy of love and acceptance. One thing that you might not realize is that you are worthy of love and acceptance, regardless of how much you work or how much you accomplish.
When you can work on increasing your self-worth within, that can help you to stop the cycle of seeking validation and acceptance from your external accomplishments or success. Increasing your self-worth can be as simple as being kind to yourself and speaking to yourself with compassion. It can also help to remember that each and every person deserves to rest and care for themselves. Your worth is not determined by how hard you work.
Tip #3: Set Clear Boundaries To Stop Overworking
One important way to stop overworking with high-functioning anxiety is to set clear boundaries, especially between your work and personal life. I know that everybody’s situation is different and that sometimes it can be hard to set boundaries: especially if you are an entrepreneur or you work from home. But, in these situations it is actually even more important to set clear boundaries.
Try setting specific work hours and plan to stay focused and attentive during this time, with 15-60 minute breaks every 1.5-3 hours. Make certain rules to create balance in your life, such as no checking work email before 8AM and after 6PM. Let your clients, coworkers, supervisors, etc… know when they can expect to hear from you so they have clear expectations as to your working hours and availability.
These simple changes can make a big difference when it comes to stopping overworking. But it’s so important that you actually stick to them! Hold yourself accountable and make a plan by writing it down or scheduling it into your calendar. Also, I suggest taking at least one day per week completely off work, you deserve it!
Tip #4: Regularly Assess What You’re Doing And Check-In With Yourself
Ask yourself, is this necessary to do right now? Sometimes you might be putting unnecessary pressure on yourself to get ahead because you want to relieve stress later…. But later never comes because you get stuck always working! It’s okay to not be 5 steps or even 1 step ahead all the time, and sometimes it’s okay to choose rest and your mental health in favor of getting things done.
Anytime you feel pressured to overwork, do a gut check and ask yourself, is this really necessary? Assess your emotions and how you are feeling. Are you working from a place of fear, such as fear of failure, judgment, or not being good enough? Are you working to avoid difficult emotions, thoughts, or other problems in your life?
If the underlying intention behind your work is fear and avoidance, then it’s time to check-in with yourself and take a break from work. Take time for yourself to do things that you truly enjoy, and your work will be waiting for you when you get back.
Practice these tips regularly so you can STOP overworking and finally start taking care of yourself and your mental health. Things don’t change if you don’t put them into action- so make a list of the steps and schedule a plan for you to start them over the next week!
Leave a comment below letting me know your thoughts!