Are you one of the elite group of self-sacrificing souls who can't say no to anyone? Are you the one who is called by the school to help out with every fund raiser or class trip? Do your friends always come to you with every problem and ask for you to help? I could go on but by now you know the people I am describing if you haven't already raised you hand and admitted you too are a member.
The sense of being needed is a powerful feeling and the primary motivation for agreeing to help. But as word spreads of your willingness, more and more requests for your time will come in. Soon you are starting to realize you aren't enjoying what you are doing because of having a sense of pressure, too many demands to fit the calendar and no time to do what you need to do for yourself. At this point, the idea of saying "no" to the next request is considered but as soon as someone starts to describe their need, you are instantly mentally rolling through what you can do to help. Only after the dust settles do you realize you have done it again - taken on more than you can do.
Once upon a time, I worked in the emergency medical field and as a volunteer firefighter. Someone once told me, "A dead rescuer is no rescuer" and I have used that as part of my mantra since. The message I take from this is that no matter how much I want to help others in their struggles or needs, it comes at a price to me. If I exceed my limit and ability, I will become exhausted and drained to the point I am of no service to anyone including myself. I then become part of the problem and may even drain my family, friends and colleagues by asking for their help.
This vicious circle is easily remedied but learning your limitations and setting boundaries. You need not stop volunteering your time and talents to help others. You can still enjoy helping others and feeling needed. You simply must remember to budget your time - time for you relationships, time for your friends, time for your career but most importantly time just for you. Mark your calendar if you must but set aside time each day just for you. Take a hot soaking bath or long hot shower, stop by for a scoop of your favorite ice cream, set aside time to play a sport or work on a hobby.
By taking time for yourself, you revitalize yourself. You regain physical and mental energy. You can again take on the problems of the world and be the force for good that you always dreamed of being.