I've come to realize that my pattern--especially when I'm working with colleagues--is to go into Type-A personality, take-charge mode. I make the hard decisions, I solve the problems, I organize the projects, I make the calls, I schedule the tasks, I make things happen.
There were a number of times when I took charge so well and so much, that my co-workers didn't really need to do anything. So, of course, they didn't. And I got stressed, and started saying things like, "Everything would fall apart without me. I have to do all this, because no one else will!"
So not only did I feel like I had a TON to do, but I also felt that I was solely responsible for getting it done.
Do you ever get the feeling that the world--or your project or mission or household--will crumble without you? Oh honey, I hear ya. There were days when I'd be struggling under the weight of my responsibilities, and after listening to me complain and whine for way too long, a well-intentioned friend would ask me, "Do you really need to do all this?"
My more-often-than-not response?
Uh, yeah I need to do all this shit; who else is gonna do it?
Everything's gonna go to hell if I drop the ball.
Of course I have to; this is what a good person does.
It's empowering to do it all! Why would I want to give that up?
Everything's fine, I'm fine, I've got this HANDLED. Like Olivia Pope!
Maybe you genuinely believe that YOU are the one who needs to do everything. And why's that? Because you are the Chosen One? Because everyone else is incompetent or disengaged? Have some respect for others by letting them do some of the work, and have some respect for yourself by giving yourself a freakin' break.
We're all grown-ass adults here. We have the power to say yes, and we have the power to say no. Let's own the fact that at this point in our lives, we can make our own choices about how our lives look. Unless we're in an abusive relationship (which I pray you're not), no one is really controlling us like maybe our parents did when we were ten years old.
We're allowed to say no; we're allowed to delegate; we're allowed to not do everything.
And I know it can be a hard habit to break, but don't say "yes" just to be nice or agreeable. That's what I call "fake nice", a type of flimsy agreeableness that I'm still working on kicking to the curb because I now realize I'm not really helping anybody when I'm doing what I'm doing with resentment or exhaustion. Being agreeable is overrated when your well-being is on the line.
So say "no". That teeny-tiny, two-letter word has been by FAR the most effective tool I've found for managing stress.
Make a To-Do list for the rest of your day. For each task, ask yourself, can someone else do this? Identify at least one thing that you will delegate to someone else, or that you will completely cross off the list. Be specific: what task are you delegating, and who are you delegating it to? (Don't get it twisted: even if you feel like no one else can do it, truth is, they probably can. LET THEM.)
For maximum impact, try doing this everyday for a week. You may just find that you end up delegating a specific task permanently to someone else--hooray! At the very least, you may get into the habit of pausing and thinking before taking on a new task, and that's priceless when it comes to maintaining your emotional and physical well-being.
Boundaries, my friend. Boundaries are beautiful.