Should I Throw in the Towel? 3 Signs That It’s Time To Quit.

I am solidly pro-quitting. Simply put, as a therapist, I have seen too many individuals wasting too much time on things that they feel they  “should” be doing. Jobs, hobbies, friendships. Exercise regimens. Diets. High school students sleeping five hours or less to engage in “extra-curriculars” that they no longer love, or even enjoy, to meet some arbitrary college admissions standard. “Quit ’em all!” is my impulse suggestion. Yes, I realize my advice might not be realistic. And, for obvious reasons, it is not often met with enthusiasm.

We live in a culture that pushes us to participate, in an excellent way, in everything We are somehow expected to remain focused, driven, and productive for a minimum of eight hours a day, five days a week, without question. We must keep our bodies to a societally-dictated size and shape (whether or not our particular body is meant to BE that specific size and shape is apparently irrelevant). We must attend all the perfunctory events so as to not look selfish. We must keep up with all acquaintances, regardless of whether they actually mean anything to us. We must send cards for every occasion. We must score “above average” in all of the categories and subjects, though objectively speaking it’s nonsensical and impossible that everyone be above average in everything.

It’s no wonder so many of us are walking around with our hearts pounding out of our chests! The weight of these expectations results in poor physical, mental, and emotional health.

So why not reject them? Here’s a few very good, completely reasonable reasons to throw in the towel.

There is no joy.

There are plenty of reasons to keep doing hard things. The thrill of progress, the satisfaction of meeting a goal, the delicious pride of a finished product – all of these are great reasons to persevere when the going gets rough. However, when an activity becomes an obligation and nothing more, it loses all the thrill, satisfaction, and pride attached to it. When the joy goes, it’s a good indication that it’s time to take a break, or quit altogether.

Here’s how this sometimes plays out: an individual commits to too many things and begins to experience fatigue and burnout. They have to give up balancing and restorative activities in order to keep up with their commitments. They begin to resent the activities that are eating up all of their time and energy. Should this persist for a long time, they might begin to lose interest in many things. They are going through the motions rather than “living” life. This is often when (hopefully) they seek therapeutic support, and show up in my office, where I gently suggest that they quit some things. But, because of societal pressures, they believe that the problem lies inside of them; that they just can’t keep up because of a personal deficit, or they must have a mental illness.

Of course, they are perfectly fine as they are. But the system they are running around in needs some work, and some of their commitments need to go.

Your health is suffering.

The body is very good at letting us know that we are stressed before our brain catches wind of it. Headaches, digestive issues, fatigue, and muscle tension are our body’s helpful clues that we are unhappy and overextended. While it can be annoying to feel unwell, it’s also great information for us as to how much is enough for our individual makeup. We are all built differently, and what is reasonable for one body might be way too much for another. Luckily, our bodies will let us know when we’ve over-extended ourselves.

Also, and I apologize for my candor – there is NO scenario in which I will ever agree that five hours’ of sleep or less an evening is reasonable. If an individual is suffering from a lack of sleep due to too many commitments, something’s got to go, immediately. That is a health emergency.

You are trying to satisfy or impress someone that is not you. 

Thanks to social media, television, and advertising, we are bombarded with the seemingly perfect lives of those around us on a near-constant basis. Comparison is status quo. If we aren’t measuring ourselves against our peers, how do we know if we’re doing it right or not?

A very brilliant secret is that the answer to that question lies inside each one of us (I apologize for how corny this sounds, but that doesn’t make it less true). When we take the time and energy we are expending keeping up with everybody else and turn it inward, we build a practice of noticing how things feel to US. What we find might be very different than what everbody else is doing and thinking. How fantastic! This insight gives us the opportunity to build a life on our own terms – and to lose all the “extra-curricular” fluff that’s been holding us back in the process.

There is nothing wrong with any of us that cannot or don’t want to keep up with the exhausting list of expectations that are placed upon us. Can we can design a life filled with activities, things, and people that we truly love and enjoy, and cut the rest?

What can you quit today?

Originally posted on my blog, Common Humanity, at Psych To read more, visit



Useful Information

Some frequently asked questions and useful answers.

Online therapy works in the same way as in-office therapy, but is done online, similar to a Skype or FaceTime conversation. Clients are able to have sessions from home, work, or any other convenient location. We meet with clients using a HIPAA-compliant secure platform.

Online therapy allows you to work with us from the comfort of home, or any private location of your choosing. For some, the screen provides an added layer of comfort that makes the challenging work of being vulnerable in therapy a little easier.

Online therapy also creates the unique opportunity for you to work with us without the constraints of proximity! The practice was born in Keene, New Hampshire, but has since grown to service clients anywhere in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, Florida, and New Hampshire.

Online therapy is a great option for clients that travel for work, for college students that go home during the summertime and do not want a break in their sessions, and for anyone with a challenging or inconsistent day-to-day schedule. It is an excellent choice for clients seeking a therapist with a particular specialty that they are unable to find support for locally. Some of our clients report that online therapy makes the vulnerability element of therapy a bit less intimidating.

No. For some clients with more complex symptoms or safety concerns, having a local therapist that is readily available is important in case of crisis or the need for a higher level of care. Online therapy is also a challenge for clients that do not have access to a private, quiet space to be “in session” for the hour, or for those that do not have adequate internet connectivity.

There are several reasons why we don’t accept insurance. The most important are:

Confidentiality. Insurance companies require that your information be shared with them in order to pay for services. We prefer that clients’ information is kept as confidential as possible.

The pressure to diagnose. Insurance companies require that clients are given a mental health diagnosis in order to pay for therapy. We have found that many clients benefit from therapy, but do not meet criteria for a diagnosis. Not using insurance allows clients to access therapy without being given a mental health diagnosis.

Flexibility and freedom. Insurance companies dictate the length and number of sessions they will authorize, as well as when a client is no longer eligible for the benefits of therapy. Because we do not work with insurance panels, you and we can collaborate to determine your individual needs regarding session length, frequency of sessions, and when to terminate therapy.

While we do not accept insurance, many clients choose to submit receipts to their insurance companies to receive reimbursement via out-of-network benefits. We are happy to provide these receipts for you! Please check with your insurance company for details on your benefits.



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