I’m a person who has always loved being busy. Whether in school or as a young married mom, I always had a packed schedule of business, kids activities, volunteering and various social events and hobbies to fill my calendar.
I was perpetually ‘busy’.
How often do we hear comments about being ‘busy’?
“I’m crazy busy right now”
“I’m just too busy for that.”
“I’m insanely busy.”
It’s almost as if being busy is something to be proud of. As if we define our importance, value or worthiness around how many things we have to do.
So what if we aren’t ‘crazy busy’? Do we stop being important? Do we matter?
The problem with staying busy, overscheduling and overcommitting is that we end up feeling overwhelmed, stressed and depleted. Without enough SPACE in our calendars, we fail to engage in our self-care and downtime.
What is it REALLY?
In Daring Greatly, Brené Brown writes about numbing behaviors that we use as armor against vulnerability.
“One of the most universal numbing strategies is what I call crazy-busy. I often say that when they start having 12-step meetings for busy-aholics, they’ll need to rent out football stadiums. We are a culture of people who’ve bought into the idea that if we stay busy enough, the truth of our lives won’t catch up with us.”
As a culture, we shame people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, but somehow we’ve normalized—we even praise—busyness addiction. In reality, there is no difference: alcohol, drugs, shopping, gambling AND being ‘busy’ are all numbing coping mechanisms. Designed to keep us safe, these mechanisms keep us from experiencing difficult and uncomfortable emotions.
So if I suddenly have more downtime, I find myself faced with the time to reflect upon my life…which is not always so pretty.
In these moments …these opportunities for clarity….these snippets of discomfort….we see things as they really are.
We connect with our souls and are faced with the reality of what we have created. In the quiet – the lack of ‘busy’ – we are forced to reflect on our lives: What is both good and bad, where we’ve succeeded and failed and what we need to work through, on and improve.
- Like the challenges in my marriage.
- How uncomfortable I am with feelings of shame and blame.
- How afraid I am of being ordinary.
- How difficult it is to be compassionate with my failures.
- How I tend to feel unworthy and unlovable unless I’m behaving as others would have me to.
- The guilt that I feel around the fact that my parents aren’t getting any younger and I don’t make the time that I should to go and see them.
- How lonely I feel, even when I’m surrounded by a crowd of people.
It’s within the silence, where there’s space to think, that we see what is really going on.
What’s The Solution?
What’s the cure for busyness addiction? Brené prescribes the care and feeding of our spirit. These behaviors soothe us, but are often also a way to hide. Brené invites us to ask the following questions: “Are my choices comforting and nourishing my spirit, or are they temporary reprieves from vulnerability and difficult emotions ultimately diminishing my spirit? … do they leave me feeling empty and searching?”
Tips for moving past ‘busy’:
- Admit that we are addicted to the disease of busyness.
- Take time to examine the “why” behind our busyness. Are we using success or work or outward successes as a way to measure our own self-worth? Are we trying to avoid a problem in our personal lives? What are we replacing through our busy schedules?
- Analyze our schedules. What do we absolutely have to continue doing and what could we cut down on?
- Seek help. Talk to a therapist or coach – there are so many avenues to get professional help, from online sessions to even texting.
- Slow down. Even if you have to set a timer on your phone, take time to check yourself throughout the day. Pay attention to your body: Are you tense? Breathing? How do you feel in this very moment?
My reality was that through meditation, I fostered a new connection with my intuition and learned to trust myself again. This connection with my intuition paved a new path to self-acceptance, compassion, worth and ultimately. happiness.
If you’re looking for guidance, a thinking partner or you’d like to learn more about how you can change your life, let’s have a conversation.