How do I know what I am doing is enough?

Things became worse in poly compared to secondary school. At this point, I do not know if I am taking up more stuff because I enjoy/want to do them or if I am trying to keep up with the reputation that I think I hold which is doing a lot and being a high achiever.

I am currently managing and reminding myself that I need to take care of myself, but I am scared I will fall back into the cycle when I see an interesting and meaningful event for me to participate in.


hey eggroll!

i think its normal for us to pursue all these events and things and at this age we are all going through a lot of change and finding our identity. i also have a similar situation as u, maybe u could ask urself if ur feeling very overwhelmed with the amount of commitments u have? if it’s a yes, then it’s a sign to restrain urself from signing up for more!

if u find it hard to restrain urself, maybe u could confide in an accountability partner/buddy/friend!

stay happy and healthy :sunny:


Thank you @eggroll for asking this question about whether you are doing enough for yourself. I understand that the transition from Secondary School to Poly can be challenging and maintaining a balance between stuff could be exhausting as well. This can sometimes create a lot of confusion with regards to our needs and wants, which is what I’m hearing from you.

Do ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I at the stage where I feel burnt out doing these stuff?
  2. Do I feel satisfied after completing these stuff?
    It may also be helpful for you to list the pros and cons of taking up a particular activity - this may give you a better idea of whether you will be able to find meaning and sustain your interest in doing it. Having a physical list could also serve as a reminder of why you had made that particular decision if you start to have second thoughts in the future.

Next you mentioned about trying to keep up the reputation that you uphold and this could be daunting knowing that you’ve placed such a strong emphasis on meeting your goals. This may lead you to feeling fearful of not achieving the goal set and therefore could make yourself feel uneasy and worried.

I’m extremely glad that you’re reminding yourself that self-care is very important. However, I also hear that you fear falling back into the cycle when you see an event that would potentially interest you. I would like to tell you that while self-care may sometimes be about reducing the number of things we decide to put on our plate - especially when your plate is overwhelmed at the expense of your basic needs being met, it can also be about creating spaces of time to re-energise yourself in between these responsibilities.

In the case that the opportunity to partake in such events arises, something you could think about is what it would mean for you to feel a great sense of achievement with the confidence that you have to manage these meaningful events while at the same time taking the necessary steps to practise self-care. Do remember that you also have family, friends and loved ones to rely on and they can be beneficial in your mental well-being.

Here are some suggestions on what we can do to manage self-doubt and to help us set boundaries :

Develop New Routine (1) -

  1. We can learn to use time management strategies to help us manage our time and take frequent breaks. On taking breaks, Dr. Gabija Toleikyte, a neuroscientist, recommends that the number of breaks required depends on the complexity of the task. Also, the frequency and duration of breaks need to be tailored to your case. She recommends a 10 minute break every hour and a half in the morning and increasing the frequency to a 10-minute break every hour after lunch.

You can read more about her work on the neuroscience of motivation here (2)
2. Get enough sleep
3. Prioritise self-care and time with friends and family

Develop New Habits (3) -

  1. Write a list of as many benefits of changing that habit as we can
  2. Write down a list of negative consequences now and in the long term if we don’t change it
  3. Seek clarity, visualise the future we want to build, and make small changes - The more vividly we can imagine the future we are trying to build, the more it stimulates our reward centres and the easier it is to resist the habits that get in the way.

4. You can take time to reflect and ask yourself these questions:
• What would you like to do?
• What would you like to look like and feel like?
• What experiences would you like to have and who would you like to share them with?

5. Next, ask yourself these questions:
• What one thing would I like to change this month?
• Is that “one thing” achievable? Otherwise, what is the “good enough” standard
• What could I do this week towards it?
• What small step could I take this week to make this action possible?

6. Act on the one thing you want to achieve!

Set healthy boundaries (4) -

  1. Recognise your limits
    2.Learn to say “no” to others or attending events when your plates are full and when you need a break.

I hope this helps! I have linked the articles below for your readings.

  1. The Student’s Guide to Managing Stress at Any Age (The Student's Guide to Managing Stress at Any Age)
  2. Dr Gabija Toleikyte on the neuroscience of motivation | BBC Science Focus Magazine (Dr Gabija Toleikyte on the neuroscience of motivation | BBC Science Focus Magazine)
  3. The Science of Habit: How to Rewire Your Brain (The Science of Habit: How to Rewire Your Brain)
  4. Setting boundaries to avoid burnout - Thrive (

hi!! @eggroll thank you for taking the time and having the courage to share your worries! :blush:

It’s entirely possible that you both enjoy taking up things and you also like maintaining your reputation, I think it’s amazing that you’ve clearly reflected on this a lot and you have high awareness to be able to point out what the issue is.

I do believe you are doing enough by practicing self care and prioritizing your mental well-being, I think the fact you’re scared to fall back into the cycle already proves that you will be careful not to! :> Just make sure that when you do take up events, you consider what else you have going on and to leave lots and lots of free time (because unexpected situations do occur)

I would like to stress that if you do fall back it’s alright! It takes time to change your mindset so please don’t rush!! Progress comes slowly so don’t beat yourself up if you can’t see anything :blush: [aH and I’m not a professional but I really do hope my opinions have helped you in anyway :blush:] I believe in you!