How ‘Microdosing’ Your Skin-Care Ingredients Can Help You Avoid Irritation (and Save You Money in the Process)

How ‘Microdosing’ Your Skin-Care Ingredients Can Help You Avoid Irritation (and Save You Money in the Process)

When you know something is good for you, it’s tempting to use as much of it as possible in order to reap its maximum benefits. It was this ideology that informed the 12-step routines that dominated the skin-care conversation five years ago, and why people are constantly on the hunt for maximum concentrations of active ingredients in their serums. But in the case of our complexions, “more” doesn’t always equal “better.” And as consumers have smartened up to this fact, it’s begun to inform the way they’re using their products, giving rise to a trend called “microdosing” in skin care.

You may be familiar with the term “microdosing” as it relates to recreational drugs, which (as we previously reported) involves “taking small doses of psychedelics on a semi-regular schedule to help manage pain, trauma, depression, or one’s overall sense of wellbeing.” In the case of skin care, the phrase—which picked up buzz late last year—refers to using lower concentrations of an active ingredient or less of a product to improve its tolerability. With a bit of experimentation, it can help you find the perfect amount and strength of product for your skin. Keep reading for what you need to know.

How ‘microdosing’ came to be

“For a while, people had been sort of [subscribing to] this idea of ‘more is more,’ thinking that the higher the concentration and the more active ingredients they were putting on their skin, the better the results,” says Marisa Garshick, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “But what people started to realize, as we recognized the importance of the skin barrier and preserving it, is that that actually isn’t very good for the skin.”

When you’re using super high concentrations of active ingredients, you can damage your skin barrier to the point that your skin becomes sensitized, meaning its “unable to defend itself against many other surrounding influences that it would typically be able to withstand,” says Rachel Nazarian, MD a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. Skin barrier searches have climbed over the past year, and skin cycling, a method of skin-care application that prioritizes barrier repair, is trending on TikTok. Now, many people are looking to tone down their routines, and microdosing is one way to do that.

“These days, dermatologists are sort of guiding people through this process of peeling things back, incorporating things at a lower concentration and maybe not as often as a way to still allow the skin to tolerate these ingredients without experiencing too much irritation,” says Dr. Garshick.

How microdosing can prevent sensitized skin

Some of the most potent skin-care ingredients, like retinol and certain hydroxy acids, come with the highest risk of irritation. Though these actives are effective for resurfacing your complexion (retinoids do it by stimulating cell turnover, while AHAs and BHAs chemically exfoliate), if you’re too aggressive with them, you’ll wind up stripping your skin—and ultimately won’t give you the radiant results you’re after.

“The idea behind microdosing is essentially giving people with all skin types an opportunity to try all of these different ingredients and recognizing that even those with the most sensitive skin may be able to tolerate things if it’s done slowly and built up over time,” says Dr. Garshick.

One way to start microdosing is to use lower concentrations (or strengths) of these active ingredients. Instead of going all in with the strongest concentrations a few times a week, this method has you using weaker iterations at more regular intervals—which will give you comparable results.  Amir Karam, MD, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon and founder of KaramMD skin care, likens it to exercise. “If you do a 10 or 15-minute workout every single day, that’s way better than doing a 30-minute workout once or twice a week,” he says.

Aside from switching up the strength of your actives, you can also microdose the products you’ve already got by applying less of them with each application. Take retinoids for example. They’re known for causing irritation in the early days of use so many ease in by using them a few times a week and working up to daily use. But Deidre Hooper, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New Orleans, Louisiana, recommends that her patients use retinoids daily from the start.

To cut down on irritation, she advises using small amounts of product and applying it only where your skin can handle it. “If anything feels red and sensitive, you can skip it on those areas,’” she says. Other derms recommend mixing your retinoid with moisturizer to dilute its strength, or creating a “retinol sandwich” (a layer of moisturizer, followed by a retinoid, topped with another layer of moisturizer) to improve skin’s tolerability.

One thing to keep in mind:  If you get a strong burning sensation or feel like you’re having a reaction when you apply a certain product, microdosing will not make that go away. And trying to power through the discomfort can lead to more harm (read: sensitization) in the long run.

“If you do introduce something, and you find your skin immediately either burns or stings, or the next day you experience redness or dryness or flaking, or you just feel like your skin is developing some kind of reaction, it may seem as though you’re probably not meant for that ingredient,” says Marisa Garshick, MD. “Not all ingredients have to be used on all skin types.”

Microdosing can also extend the life of your products

Even if using too much of a certain ingredient doesn’t sensitize your skin, in many cases, it can simply be a waste. “Just because you’re adding more doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to benefit your skin more,” says cosmetic chemist Javon Ford. “If you use too much, you’re wasting that money.” In other words, your body can only absorb so much of an active, and microdosing with smaller amounts of a product is a great way to see if you can get away with using less.

“If your skin feels just as good using less, then use less. The instructions are always unclear when they say ‘Use a pea size. Use a dime size. Use as much as needed. Use a liberal amount,’” says Ford. “The benefit of microdosing is if you don’t notice a change in the performance, then you’ve found that golden ratio of how much product you should be adding to your face so you can get your money’s worth versus adding more and getting the same benefit.”

Let’s go back to that retinol example. Say you love your retinoid and are getting great results, but you hate having to repurchase it every two months. Try using smaller amounts of it for a few weeks and see if you notice any difference in your complexion. “For some people, if they find that they don’t need to use as much and can still maintain the potential benefit, I think it’s certainly reasonable to use less at a time,” says Dr. Garshick.

Just make sure you’re still using enough to get a thin layer all over the face. “A lot of the times, when we look at the efficacy of certain ingredients, there is this idea that you do want to have a sufficient skin layer of application,” says Dr. Garshick. “If you’re not getting an even coat on all of your skin, and that could be as a result of maybe not applying enough, it’s possible your results may be impacted by that.”

Ingredients you should (and shouldn’t) microdose

When it comes to ingredients that are meant to enhance your skin, like exfoliants or retinoids, feel free to dabble in microdosing.

“Some degree of irritation and dryness and burning and stinging can be normal, especially in those beginning stages of introducing a new active ingredient,” says Dr. Garshick. “The challenge with applying an active ingredient when the skin is already compromised is you’re going to end up in this cycle where it becomes less and less easy to tolerate.” By using low concentrations from the top, you can avoid getting stuck in this cycle that ends in sensitized skin.

What you don’t want to skimp on is protective ingredients, like sunscreen or antioxidants.

“You don’t want to sort of slack in the amount of sunscreen that you’re applying each day because that obviously has, we know,  a standard amount that needs to be applied to maintain the efficacy,” says Dr. Garshick. With antioxidants like vitamin C, “the idea that it is protecting your skin throughout the day, you do want to have enough of it on to actually have that benefit. Now, it doesn’t need to be too much, and I think there’s definitely a balance there, but you want to make sure you’re getting a thin layer everywhere to provide adequate protection to all of your skin.”

All in all, microdosing is about listening to your skin and taking the Goldilocks’ approach to application. You don’t want to apply so much that it’s wasteful or irritating or so little that it’s not doing anything—you want to get it just right. Play around with your actives and listen to your skin throughout the process, and you’ll ultimately find what works for you.

Want even more beauty intel from our editors? Follow our for must-know tips and tricks.

This content was originally published here.

Mermaid Baked Feta Pasta Recipe Is the Protein- and Magnesium-Rich Comeback We’ve All Been Patiently Waiting For

Mermaid Baked Feta Pasta Recipe Is the Protein- and Magnesium-Rich Comeback We’ve All Been Patiently Waiting For

Few things can get a crowd riled up more than a good comeback story. In pop culture, the first thing that might come to mind is inspiring movies like The Blind Side, Forrest Gump, and Rocky. Or simply Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck becoming Bennifer again. However, when it comes to food, we might think more along the lines of viral or nostalgic foods that make their way back to the limelight.

In 2020, we saw banana bread, sourdough starter, and dalgona coffee take over every quarantine kitchen. In 2021, there was one major viral recipe moment and it was probably our all-time favorite of them all: baked feta pasta.

Clearly, when we saw a dusted-off version of baked feta pasta making a comeback on TikTok, we preheated our ovens immediately. In this 2022 iteration of the original recipe, the simple pasta dish gets an aquatic makeover with the help of a super nutritious marine vegetable-infused ingredient—kelp noodles—which is why it’s been coined the mermaid baked feta pasta recipe. And it’s sea-riously so good.

Why we’re so happy to welcome back baked feta pasta

The simple mixture of feta, tomatoes, and pasta can be tweaked in infinite ways—like swapping out the pasta for chickpeas or spaghetti squash—but no matter the combination, baked feta pasta turns out delicious. Every. Single. Time.

So, this might lead you to wonder how something that tastes so good can be healthy for you, too? Especially when it calls for a whole block of cheese nestled into the center of all of the ingredients. Well, it turns out that cheese can, in fact, be RD-approved after all. “Cheese can absolutely fit into a healthy diet,” Desiree Nielsen, RD, a registered dietitian, previously told Well+Good.

The key, she says, is choosing the right kind—and thankfully for us, feta makes the cut. “Having a little cheese is healthy because of the vitamin D, calcium, and protein,” Nielsen says. According to the USDA, feta cheese has about 371 milligrams of calcium and 19 grams of protein per 100-gram serving. You feta believe it!

And aside from all of the delicious, tangy cheese baked feta pasta recipes typically include, they’re also made with lycopene-rich tomatoes, which are packed with anti-inflammatory benefits. “Lycopene is an antioxidant that has been linked to improving blood pressure and cardiovascular health, reducing cholesterol, and fighting a variety of cancers,” Laura Iu, RDN, CDN, CNSC, RYT, previously told Well+Good. Aside from adding vibrant color to a delicious pasta dish, tomatoes are filled with vitamins and minerals that help support immunity and brain health.

How to make mermaid baked feta pasta

According to a recent TikTok video by , it’s easy to give this viral dish an oceanic twist. In the video, Ilana Muhlstein, RD, swaps flour-based pasta for kelp noodles for a marine-healthy glow-up. ICYMI, kelp-derived products are swimming with health benefits, from magnesium and folate to fiber, iodine, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids. (Pro tip: Muhlstein recommends boiling them with a little bit of baking soda to make them even more buttery and delicious.)

Feta Pasta Recipe With a Mermaid Twist ? ??‍♀️ #fetapasta #recipe #viral #fyp #healthyrecipes #fitness #gym #fittok #gymtok #easyrecipe #food #nutrition #easyrecipe #dinner #lowcarb ♬ original sound – NutritionBabe

To add loads of flavor to the dish, Muhlstein also adds cherry tomatoes, garlic, red pepper chili flakes, Italian seasoning, olive oil, and of course, a big block of feta. She bakes these ingredients together and then adds the cooked kelp pasta and garnishes it with a few leaves of fresh basil. Et voilà: a masterpiece.

Mermaid baked feta pasta recipe

Yields 4 servings

8-ounce block of feta cheese
2 cups cherry tomatoes
8 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tsp red pepper chili flakes
1 Tsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp baking soda
2 12-ounce bags of kelp pasta
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Meanwhile, place the feta, tomatoes, and garlic in an oven-safe baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and add the chili flakes and Italian seasoning. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, or until the cherry tomatoes burst and the feta cheese melts.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium pot, bring water to a boil and add the baking soda. Cook the kelp noodles according to the package instructions, drain and set them aside.

3. Once the feta and tomatoes are cooked, remove them from the oven, add in the noodles, and gently press the tomatoes until they explode with the back of a fork. Mix all of the ingredients together. Garnish with basil leaves and serve.

How to eat pasta every day, according to an RD:  

This content was originally published here.

Being of Two Minds About Schizophrenia | Psychology Today

Being of Two Minds About Schizophrenia | Psychology Today

Since the 1990s, epidemiologists, psychiatrists, historians, and journalists have wondered to what extent schizophrenia was disappearing as a medical diagnosis. An article in The Lancet titled “Is Schizophrenia Disappearing?” suggested a substantial decrease in the reported incidences of the disorder since the mid-1960s; a 2012 publication, Schizophrenia Is a Misdiagnosis, criticized the very validity of the diagnosis and bluntly announced its demise. Articles with similar titles, such as “Schizophrenia Does Not Exist” and “The Concept of Schizophrenia Is Coming to an End,” appeared in the British Medical Journal and The Independent in 2016 and 2017, respectively. The editor of the leading journal in the field, Schizophrenia Bulletin, debated whether to rebaptize the journal and drop “schizophrenia” from its name. In the end, he decided to keep “schizophrenia” in the journal’s title while adding an explanatory subtitle as a disclaimer of sorts. With the added “The Journal of Psychoses and Related Disorders,” the editor seemed to anticipate where the field would soon be headed. Finally, a 2017 article in this very journal claimed that the word schizophrenia might eventually be relegated to the dustbin of history, as had once been the case with the medical use of the term “dropsy.”

Still lacking a laboratory test for diagnosing schizophrenia and having found no precise biomarkers for this collection of symptoms, we are now asked to reimagine schizophrenia as revealing not a different category of mental illness but a spectrum of disorders whose defining characteristics are part of a continuum rather than tokens of essential types or natural kinds. History teaches us that abnormalities in thoughts, emotions, and behaviors were always seen as either categorically different (in the same way that plants are different from animals and minerals, and various trees are different from each other) or as a variation on a spectrum (in the same way we measure height or weight, or high or low blood pressure).

But the decline of the diagnosis was driven not only by general shifts in psychiatric classification as it turned from categories and qualitative methods to spectra and quantitative models. In addition, psychiatrists, psychologists, social activists, survivors, ex-patients, and others argued that the stigmatizing label of “schizophrenia” should be abolished precisely because it carried connotations of hopelessness, chronicity, and even dangerousness that could not help but lead to therapeutic nihilism and the unjustified “counsel of despair.”

Doctors and patients who advocate for a name change are searching and pleading for less discriminatory and more appealing diagnoses, with “extreme mental states,” “voice-hearing,” “non-ordinary states,” or “diverse identities” just a few of the suggestions that have been made. In addition, some have urged the American Psychiatric Association to follow the example of Asian countries such as Japan, where psychiatrists replaced the term and diagnosis “schizophrenia,” implying a “split-mind,” with that of “integration disorder,” inaugurating a momentous change that, by all accounts, has proved beneficial to both patients and doctors.

Yet while a genealogy of madness from its first appearance in the Bible presents us with two ways of imagining the difference between sanity and madness, namely as either one of categorical difference or one of a degree—in other words, as one of qualitative difference or one that could put on a quantitative scale—we might also seek to reimagine what kind of hopeful future this very alternation of models might still hold in stock for us. This means envisioning what picture emerges once one no longer takes the diagnosis of schizophrenia to be that of a stable identity per se, but possibly also one marked by a striking and sometimes changing shift of perspective.

This dual vision of one and the same complex phenomenon recalls the optic illusion, which Thomas Kuhn, following Ludwig Wittgenstein, borrowed from the psychologist Joseph Jastrow to demonstrate “the structure of scientific revolutions.” According to Kuhn, even when nothing in the environment has changed, the shift of attention of the scientific community transforms its perception of the studied phenomenon in question all at once. In Kuhn’s words: “[w]hat were ducks in the scientist’s world before the revolution are rabbits afterward.” As can be gleaned from Jastrow’s famous sketches and the subsequent interpretations of the duck-rabbit image, such ambiguous figures illustrate that the aforementioned alternative perceptions and theoretical or clinical models are not just the products of how given stimuli register on our visual field (i.e., sense data so-called). Rather, they show that what we see is, first and foremost, perceived with the mind’s eye. In other words, expectations, knowledge, and the direction of our attention all take part in what we are not only able but also willing or desiring to see. Just as children on Easter Sunday are more likely to identify a rabbit while they more readily see ducks on an average Sunday, scholars and practitioners in their respective fields tend to see one or the other of the available views on a matter in question depending on context. In so doing, it seems, they follow the spirit of the time, the Zeitgeist, the conventions (customs and habits), and perhaps even the prejudices of their own age.

During their extensive practical training, clinicians (myself included) who work with individuals suffering from what we have perhaps too crudely come to name and determine as “schizophrenia” learn that “if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then, in all probability, it is a duck.” But witnessing the emerging of more general presentations and models of spectra, next to a more widespread generational resistance to labels and classifications (recall the analogous case of the spectrum of gender and sexuality), while also listening to the perspective of advocacy groups and hearing testimonies of patient-led movements, gives one pause: Instead of favoring one paradigm over the other, let alone slipping into relativism pure and simple, those who diagnose and treat mental disorders should accept and live or work with the undeniable paradox of having two seemingly exclusive accounts of severe mental conditions operating concurrently or alternatingly. Being “of two minds,” they may see either a rabbit or a duck, fully aware that both pictures and optics are a case of “now you see it, now you don’t.” After all, whether we diagnose patients as categorically different or on a spectrum with the normal, this diagnosis is nothing more than an incomplete sketch of what is, in “essence,” a much more complex and intractable phenomenon.

Adapted from Schizophrenia: An Unfinished History (Polity, 2022).

This content was originally published here.

This 2-Ingredient Heart-Healthy Avocado Hash Brown Recipe Is Basically Avocado Toast 2.0

This 2-Ingredient Heart-Healthy Avocado Hash Brown Recipe Is Basically Avocado Toast 2.0

It seems like when it comes to viral TikTok recipes, the wisdom of the crowd always proves victorious. After all, the masses weren’t wrong when it came to obsessing over delicious internet-famous dishes like cowboy caviar and baked feta pasta. They’re still a 10 out of 10 for us.

The latest iteration of must-try meals brought to you by none other than TikTok is best served at breakfast. This two-ingredient, heart-healthy avocado hash brown recipe is just as good—if not better—than avocado toast. (We said what we said.) How can this even be possible? It’s all in the bread… or in this case, the super crispy, crunchy hash brown that’ll make any potato aficionado instantly swoon.

Why this avocado hash brown recipe is so much better than regular avo toast

If you’re ready to take it back to the ’90s when your parents still had to drive you everywhere and breakfast meant an obligatory pitstop at the local Mickey D’s, this recipe is for you. One of our favorite parts about a kid’s breakfast Happy Meal (aside from the fun toy, obvi) was the golden hash brown that comes individually wrapped in a white paper sleeve to sop up the excess oil. While we can never be too old to feed our inner child a sweet and savory McGriddle breakfast sandwich, replicating this drive-thru-worthy meal at home has never been easier thanks to our beloved supermarket, Trader Joe’s.

In the store’s freezer aisle, you’ll find a yellow sleeve labeled “hashbrowns” with 10 delicious shredded potato patties that’ll make you do a double take. Believe us when we say they look *just* like the ones we grew up snacking on. Although this potato product would taste perfectly delicious on its own, TikTokers have taken things one step further by transforming this simple snack into avocado toast 2.0. And we’re not mad about it one bit.

Indeed, while avocado toast has been our ride-or-die for over a decade, it’s time to shake things up by swapping out bread with a crunchy hash brown patty to assemble this breakfast staple. In a recent TikTok video by , Lynja tries out the viral recipe by first toasting the hash brown in the air fryer. Next, she mashes her avocado with hot honey, salt, and lemon and spreads it on the crunchy potato. To top things off, she adds a sunny-side-up egg, parmesan cheese, and everything but the bagel seasoning. The result: In the words of Lynja, it’s “bussin.’”

Bussin or Nah: Avacado Hashbrown @bria lemirande ♬ original sound – Lynja

Health benefits of this avocado hash brown recipe

We previously spoke with a registered dietitian who very emphatically stressed the importance of having a well-balanced breakfast to start the day. Not only does a protein-rich meal help sustain energy levels, but it also helps squeeze important nutrients—like fiber and antioxidants—into your daily diet.

Eggs, which dietitians have dubbed as “nature’s vitamin,” are what’s known as a complete source of protein, which means they contain all nine essential amino acids your body needs. Additionally, eggs are high in choline, a nutrient that promotes healthy brain functioning and nervous system health. And they’re also filled with vitamin D, which helps regulate your immune system and keep bones healthy as you age.

Meanwhile, avocados are high in heart-healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants, which make this creamy and dreamy fruit well worth the hype. The real star of the show, however, is the potatoes, which are packed with a few gut-healthy benefits of their own. A single potato has tons of fiber (about nine grams), three times the amount of potassium than a banana, and a good amount of vitamin C. Basically, this easy avocado hash brown recipe puts regular avocado toast to shame, with its extensive list of reasons why you should make it for breakfast (or a snack)… stat.

Avocado hash brown recipe

Yields 2 servings

2 Trader Joe’s hash browns (or homemade hash browns)
2 eggs
1 ripe avocado
2 tsp hot honey
Salt, to taste
1 lemon, freshly squeezed
2 tsp parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp Everything Bagel seasoning

1. Preheat the air fryer to 390 °F. Air fry the hash browns for nine minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

2. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan over medium heat, cook two sunny-side-up eggs.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the avocado, hot honey, salt, and lemon juice. Stir until smooth and creamy.

4. Assemble the breakfast toast by layering the potato with a few spoonfuls of the avocado mixture, then add the egg and season with parmesan cheese and Everything Bagel seasoning.

Here’s why you should never skip out on breakfast, according to an RD:

This content was originally published here.

The Surprising Way You Might Be Sabotaging Connections at Work, According to a Workplace Psychologist

The Surprising Way You Might Be Sabotaging Connections at Work, According to a Workplace Psychologist

Showing up to work each day can feel like so much less of a struggle when you’re close with your coworkers. Having strong connections with people at work can make you more productive, engaged, and successful to boot. But sometimes, these kinds of work friendships can feel elusive, particularly if you’re the new member of a team…or you’re one of the few veteran team members left following a wave of turnover. In these scenarios, it’s easy to find yourself fielding additional work requests or overcommitting your time, which can leave you feeling disconnected from your colleagues.

Psychologist Jacinta Jiménez, PsyD, vice president of coach innovation at virtual coaching platform BetterUp, calls this tendency boundary-less helping—or, saying “yes” to requests for help in a way that negates your work-life boundaries. “When it comes to altruism in the workplace, finding the right balance is key,” she says. “While helping others can elicit a ‘helper’s high,’ where you get this rush of feel-good neurotransmitters afterward, if you’re helping without boundaries, you can end up with a ‘helper’s hangover’ instead, where you feel overwhelmed, have less energy, and experience compassion fatigue toward your colleagues.”

“If you’re helping without boundaries, you can end up with a ‘helper’s hangover,’ where you feel overwhelmed, have less energy, and experience compassion fatigue.” —Jacinta Jiménez, PsyD, psychologist

Over time, this may just mean you become less and less likely to be empathetic toward colleagues who are asking for help, as you field more and more requests, says Dr. Jiménez. The result? Ironically, your capacity to help drops amid your impending burnout, and you’re left feeling disconnected from the colleagues whom you’d be better off befriending.

What boundary-less helping looks like in the workplace

This specific brand of unhelpful helping comes in two shades, according to Dr. Jiménez: helping indiscriminately and helping at the expense of yourself.

“In the case of the former, you’re just responding, ‘Oh, sure’ or ‘Yeah, okay’ to everything that comes your way without much regard for the nature of the request itself,” she says. Typically, this creates such a backlog of work—both yours and that of others—that you can’t help but become exhausted to the point of feeling disconnected from your colleagues.

And in the case of the latter, you’re actively sacrificing yourself, your resources, or your time in order to help, says Dr. Jiménez. “As a result, your key initiatives or your priorities to shine as an employee start to get compromised because of the helping that you’re doing,” she says.

By contrast, effective helping in the workplace looks like taking on opportunities to help that are aligned with your values (say, agreeing to take on an additional client whose work you genuinely love) or your strengths (like volunteering to take notes if you’re highly organized), says Dr. Jiménez. It also looks like considering your current workload, time, and resources ahead of agreeing to a new request for help, and passing whenever it would require you to exceed your bandwidth, she adds. Only in cases where the help you’re giving fits into the above guidelines can you expect it to be a worthwhile endeavor—for both you and the colleague on the receiving end of it.

Why boundary-less altruism at work can leave you feeling disconnected from colleagues

If you’re the regular workplace helper, chances are, you have really good intentions. “This is often the person who wants to show up in a big way for their colleagues during tough times, or, perhaps, this is the new person who really wants to prove their worthiness to the team,” says Dr. Jiménez. But no matter the situation or your intentions, when you give beyond your capacity, you’re kicking off a downward spiral toward resenting your colleagues.

At first, boundary-less giving can give way to energy depletion, decreased ability to focus, and difficulty with emotion management, says Dr. Jiménez. In that state, it’s tough to view your coworkers from a compassionate, empathetic lens, she adds. And that’s where resentment starts to brew, leaving you feeling disconnected from the colleagues whom you sought to help.

Not only does that resentment dampen workplace morale, but also, it can lower levels of trust throughout your team. “Your coworkers may become afraid to ask for help from you, which can restrict openness and communication, or they might feel like they can’t trust you to actually help with something because you’re so overcommitted with other things,” says Dr. Jiménez. Once trust is lost, especially in remote and hybrid work environments, it’s really hard to build the kind of collaborative team spirit and psychological safety necessary for everyone to thrive, she adds.

How to avoid the trap of over-helping at work

“Wanting to be kind and engaging in compassion does not mean you have to drop everything every time you’re asked to help,” says Dr. Jiménez. “Acting with compassion does not equal selflessness.” It’s quite the opposite, in fact: In order to show compassion and offer assistance at work in a way that’s sustainable, you need to protect yourself and your time, too. “This way, you can really be present for others and actually help more efficiently,” says Dr. Jiménez.

“Even if it feels uncomfortable to say, ‘Hey, I can’t commit to this,’ that’s a better choice than pushing past your boundaries to help out.” —Dr. Jiménez

This requires prioritizing requests for help based on meaningfulness, importance, and how many other commitments are already on your list, which will ultimately mean turning down certain requests. “Even if it feels uncomfortable to say, ‘Hey, I can’t commit to this,’ that’s a better choice than pushing past your boundaries to help out,” says Dr. Jiménez. “It might start a difficult conversation in the short-term, but that still beats long-term resentment.”

To navigate that boundary conversation effectively, consider the fact that your answer to any request doesn’t just have to be a “yes” or “no.” “There are so many beautiful ways that people can talk about commitments or giving, perhaps by saying, ‘Oh, I have this meeting or responsibility here, but I can commit to this [different version of the request]. Would that work for you?’” says Dr. Jiménez. “You can negotiate and find a happy medium.”

With this kind of helping, you’re setting yourself up for that helper’s high—the release of feel-good neurotransmitters that comes with doing something good for someone else—and you’re also strengthening the relationships you have with your coworkers. “The people around you can then trust that you’re going to come through on your commitments,” says Dr. Jiménez, “which fosters a culture of integrity that allows the whole team to feel closer.”

This content was originally published here.