There has been a common theme that comes up frequently when I have a conversation with clients, colleagues, family or friends. Pressure. Too much of it. Constantly.  The result? Feelings of frustration, resentment, doing too much in too little time, shortness of temper, headaches and … the list goes on.

What is causing this to happen? Every person has a different story. I have found the underlying reason in each case has been the same – the inability to say, “No.”

Last week a client expressed that she felt totally exhausted as she works a full day, looks after her two boys under the age of 10 once she gets home from work, does all the cleaning and on weekends wakes up at 5.30am or 6.00am to take her boys to their Saturday sport. I asked her how her husband shares the responsibilities and she told me that he sometimes cooks the evening meal if she prepares and chops all the ingredients the night before. He works shorter hours than her, returns home at 4.30pm each day; she doesn’t arrive home until 7pm or later most evenings. She also expressed that she would love to sleep in on the occasional weekend but can’t do so as she is the one who ALWAYS takes the boys to their early weekend sporting activities. When I asked if her husband ever took turns with this responsibility her response was, ‘Well, I just do it.’

Another lady I spoke with has been juggling an ever increasing workload, enjoying her career, however taking on so much that cracks are starting to appear in the way she is dealing with her staff members and colleagues due to extremely tight deadlines, constantly changing requirements, lack of timely information, multiple expectations and KPI’s to meet plus the responsibilities of a full family life and motherhood. She’s experiencing difficulty sleeping, nagging headaches and the feeling that she should be doing even more. Others have started to experience the wrath of her emotions at work and at home due to her frustration caused by all the pressure.

A close family member to has been trying to balance a heavy University study load with final assignments and deadlines looming, working part-time at two jobs (one for the money, the other for the work experience) a hectic social life with multiple groups of friends, additional weekly evening classes and looking after various family commitments while trying to keep up a reasonable fitness regime. This has left little ‘down’ time; a ubiquitous feeling of exhaustion and a constant feeling of resentment, wishing everyone would simply go away.

I know of many similar stories however the underlying theme – not being able to say, “No” appears to be the crux of the matter in many cases.

What makes us behave in this way, taking on more and more, striving to be everything to everyone? Is this what we want for ourselves?

What is your opinion? Please share your experiences – it will help just to get it off your chest!

In my next post I will discuss ways to overcome the pressure.  and, yes, it IS possible!  Let’s Deal With the Pressure

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