Is Your Plate Full or Do You Have Too Many Plates?

Is Your Plate Full or Do You Have Too Many Plates?


Life is good. We find satisfaction for jobs well done, good family connections, healed relationships, and career upswings.

Loving what you do becomes a gift. It turns a regular job into a career focus and gives you purpose. A satisfying plate.

Too much to do on your plate can be managed. You break it down into manageable chunks, like slicing into a tender steak, and then work through each piece. Next, the baked potato with its butter and sour cream, ready to be eaten, each bite, melts with joyful satisfaction. Completing the plate is asparagus, bright green, steamed to perfection, and once it is consumed the plate is sent to the cleaners. Dessert is ordered and enjoyed along with some refreshing coffee or tea.

You see, a plate full is satisfying on many levels.

However, grab too many plates and you are overwhelmed and exhausted.

I remember when I was a teenager in the Village of Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska, and the smoked salmon came in from the coastal villages. All of us were so excited. The smell of smoked salmon laced the air. Boxes were brought into the small Nunamuit Store and people began to come in and collect their share. The tempting smell of the gift bestowed on the village from Barrow, Alaska, brought a joyful smile to my fellow villagers. My best friend and I ate so much in a couple of hours, we were both sick to our stomachs. It took me a long time to be able to eat smoked salmon again, and now, I have a good rational approach, eat a few bites and let it be.

Overeating something good, on one plate is just as deleterious as choosing too many plates of food.

As in overindulging, we have to remember what hats we wear to work, at home, and so forth. Pretty soon we are juggling different plates with different hats and it creates unnecessary stress. Too many attachments to activity strings us out.

It means we are divided; and divided, we fall.

Sometimes, we are divided by choices. Looking at all the options, sometimes we bite off more than we can literally chew, choking on the business of life instead of relishing every moment as precious.

For instance: The first plate is a steak dinner, the second plate is fried chicken with mashed potatoes, the third plate is lasagna, and maybe the last dish is french toast, bacon, and scrambled eggs. We look at the options and make a choice.

One, who sits down to eat, usually, will eat one plate of food, maybe have dessert.

The individuals go home, they relax, and they get to do what they enjoy without too much of an issue. The opportunity to eat a pleasant meal, peacefully and embracing the joy of food, is a chance to connect and build the body system, keep it healthy, and maintain life and relationships.

Now, take for instance, the person, who decided to eat from more than one plate. Maybe they ate from four different plates of food. Then they added dessert. Their stomach and their body begin to ache and rebel against them as they toss and turn all night. Pepto Bismol, antacids, teas, and other remedies are employed to reduce the discomfort. The next day, the stomach isn’t interested in eating. The body system has to work doubly to carry homeostasis.

Too much of a good thing is not so good. Clichés are rich with expressions we are familiar with. However, they are echoes of words that do no justice for the overworked.

Managing life and making sure we practice healthy boundaries and successful self-care makes the world we live within a safer place.

Developing healthy margins around our lives is part of the process of self-care. Those margins include time alone, time with friends, time with family, and time with career, education, or both. Developing a plan where life is fulfilling takes practice and awareness.

Simplifying the duties we have to accomplish into categories including: must-do, can-wait, or a trash bin for not-used ideas brings about relief for overfilled lives. Learning to say no also makes life easier. One area to work on is the word “No” with grace and tact rather than acidity and harshness.

Projects which get started but fizzle out, dreams which bring people together tarnish with inattention and more ideas generate more projects all add to the plate stacking dilemma we face.

Only you know if you have put too much out there and if you need to reel it back in to protect the margins of your life and family.

Stress, a normal part of life, needs respect. However, too much stress wastes time and mental energy.

Strong coping mechanisms help the process along, and a strong support system in place continues to build resilience when stressful situations arise in your life.

Strong coping mechanisms, which are healthy such as exercising, eating right, consistent sleeping patterns, meditation, prayer, and mindfulness, as well as connecting with others provide encouragement and peace.

Negative coping mechanisms such as watching endless T.V., over-playing video games, using substances to detract from reality and reduce pain, and other forms of self-injurious behaviors reduce resilience.

While you think about the food, placed nicely around your plate, remember the concept of too much food or the idea of too many dishes to choose from before you begin eating.

Work is much like the plate of food concept. When we make the connection and see how overburdened we have become, then we start to make the needed changes. Our productivity and resourcefulness increases and we accomplish much more than if we continued to circulate around and around with more piled on our plates than our ability to perform.

Choosing to re-calibrate how we perform our work, carry through projects, and how we interact with those in our lives is one way to protect our stress levels and reduce the number of obligations upon our plate. After all, balance creates beauty in our lives and the ebb and flow of experience shows us how to make better choices today so tomorrow, becomes our better future set up for success. Serve yourself a new way to view the opportunities set before you and without a doubt, you’ll succeed and feel rested.

~Just a though by Pamela

Previously published on

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