Four Things That Might Happen When You’re Spread Too Thin
“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”~ J.R.R. Tolkien
Our second daughter teaches third grade. Her specialty is language, writing, and all basic communication skills. She teaches things like alliteration and onomatopoeia right along with the usual synonyms, antonyms, similes and metaphors. Stuff we learned in college, but her class is made up of eight and nine-year-olds! It’s utterly amazing to me how well the kids grasp the terminology and processes of the written word.
One of her favorite things to teach is idioms. Phrases like “Bite off more than you can chew” and “spread too thin” are idioms. Idioms are phrases that have wormed their way into our language but in which the words can’t be taken literally, for example, “raining cats and dogs.” I can’t resist having a little fun with idioms this time in spite of the fact that being spread too thin is a serious issue!
Signs we’ve bitten off more than we can chew
We all have! The bar has been raised to ridiculous levels when it comes to what we should be able to cram into an hour, a day, a week! The whole subject has become a hot potato! We allowed it to creep gradually into our life until now we’re over a barrel. I’ll have a little fun with this and please, bring your sense of humor. It might help you recognize that you’ve come to the end of your rope.
You’re not “playing with a full deck.” Your stress level has gotten so high that you can’t focus or concentrate. You forget the simplest things like picking up a child at school. Maybe you feel like you’ve lost your marbles or have completely gone off your rocker. When we’re spread too thin our brain just doesn’t operate like the usual well-oiled machine.
You often feel “under the weather.” When we’re spread too thin it can literally make us ill. Our immune system suffers when we don’t get enough sleep because we’re always burning the midnight oil. In fact, when we get too deep in overwhelm we can literally find ourselves sick as a dog.
What else happens when we’re spread too thin
You get mad “at the drop of a hat.” I’m not going to beat around the bush. You get cranky, irritable and your mood can get ugly fast. To add insult to injury, just when you need help you may act in a way that will make any potential helpers run for cover.
You feel totally “down in the dumps.” When we’re spread too thin for too long, we can find ourselves spiraling into depression. We may feel hopeless and afraid that we’ve missed the boat completely.
Don’t’ let it get your goat
I’m going to let the cat out of the bag, there’s a method to my madness in using a little silliness this time. Every one of us falls victim to overwhelm, especially in today’s world. But there is help. Humor is a great healer. We need to look at life with new eyes and be a little less serious about the things that seem so huge. Laughter is a tonic for stress, one of the best.
Time is a great healer too. One of my favorite mantras is “this too shall pass”. How will five years change our perspective on the things that trip us up right now? Five months? Sometimes we can change our thoughts in five minutes when we think just how silly it is to let some things upset us. Wisdom, perspective and peace are born when we learn to pause a moment between what happens and how we respond.
I have a little challenge for you. Count the number of times I used an idiom in this post. The person who gets it correct first and puts their answer in the comments will win an autographed copy of my cookbook. The winner will be announced on Black Friday. I’ll see you Monday! No post on Thanksgiving Day, but look for a new one and the winner on November 24!
P.S. Let me ask you this. What doesn’t taste better when it’s spread on nice and thick like butter on a biscuit, cream cheese on a bagel or the icing on the cake? I can’t think of a thing, can you? It’s not very tasty when we’re spread too thin, either.