The Addiction to Busyness
It’s no secret that Americans are just plain busy. Whether work or family related, our days seem to be filled with an endless loop of activity from after school programs for the kids to juggling a full-time job and managing a household. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day.
And we are exhausted, burned out, and stressed because of it.
For many, it may not be readily apparent that we are experiencing a constant hum of stress in our daily lives because it has been our “normal” for so long that we don’t notice it. But your body and mind do — and it can cause a host of unpleasant health issues like weight gain, anxiety, depression, headaches, insomnia, brain fog, cardiovascular disease, and more. Personally, if I don’t maintain a healthy work/life balance, my body will let me know pretty quickly that I am off-track.
Being chronically busy is also addictive as it allows us to escape and numb ourselves from aspects in our lives that may be uncomfortable to face. Oftentimes, it’s a pattern we have inherited from our parents. As Americans we are culturally conditioned to believe that constant busyness equals success, importance, goodness, and worthiness. It is also considered a badge of honor these days to be overly busy.
It’s interesting to note that countries with the highest level of work/life balance and vacation time also have the highest levels of productivity, happiness, and overall life-satisfaction. I think we all can agree it’s time to let go of chronic busyness. Here’s how.
Tips for Cultivating Life Balance
As with any habit, adopting a new way of interacting with the world can take time and most likely won’t be comfortable in the beginning. But the benefits far outweigh any initial drawbacks. Researchers believe it typically takes around 30 days to adopt a new habit. With this in mind, try to follow the suggestions below for at least a month and see where it leads you. My guess is that you will love this slower, less busy way of life to the point where you can’t imagine going back to your old ways!
Prioritize. Many times when we are chronically busy, we end up spinning our wheels. This inefficiency costs us not only time and productivity, but also creates a life tangled with things that really aren’t all that important. A Bullet Journal is an effective remedy for this conundrum. Unlike an ordinary planner, it helps us to take a look at the big picture of our life and zero in on what we want to accomplish for any given day, week, or month. It has an ingenious layout and rating system that helps us to slow down enough to really think through what we want our day (and overall lives) to look like — and eliminate the areas and tasks that unnecessarily contribute to chronic busyness.
Make Quality Sleep a Priority. It’s all too common for us to fall into a busy whirlwind of non-essential activity during the day that leads to a late night of work or “catch up time”. But what we are really cultivating is less productivity overall. Along with prioritizing, committing to a consistent bedtime routine is crucial for breaking the cycle of chronic busyness. If our minds and bodies are spinning with activity at the end of the day, you can be sure that rejuvenating, quality sleep will be out of reach. This in turn leads to less clarity, efficiency, and productivity overall, thereby continuing the vicious cycle of stress and ineffective busyness. Have a look at my post, “Sleep Easy with These Top Herbal Remedies” for inspiration on how to get a good night’s rest.
Formulated to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, my Sleep Blend Tincture is a convenient, easy-to-use blend of hops, valerian, German chamomile, passionflower, and magnesium glycinate. Visit the apothecary today to read about these outstanding herbs for promoting deep, rejuvenating sleep.
Learn to Say No. More often than not, chronic busyness is a result of having a difficult time saying “no”. Whether it is that extra project at work, a request from a family member or friend, or a community need, we all have the desire to be helpful and accommodating. However, it’s important that we are aware of what we can realistically manage. If you find you are chronically busy and it is negatively impacting your wellbeing, it’s time to learn how to say no and set boundaries. The surprising aspect about this is it will actually make you more effective and efficient in all areas of your life, so that you can focus on the quality, not the quantity, of activity.
Take Time to Recharge. With this, I don’t mean going on a Netflix binge or zoning out in front of the television. Instead, choose activities that will enhance your life by slowing down. Think: spending time in nature, gardening, reading, taking a power nap, yoga, meditation — you get the idea. When we carve out time each day for an activity that gives us mental and physical space, it will calm our thoughts so that we have more clarity and improved decision making power. In the end, we will be able to consciously choose how to spend our time, instead of spinning with chronic busyness.
Sometimes we need a little extra help in relieving stress. Herbal remedies are a gentle and effective way to clarify your mind and soothe your spirit. My favorite calming and adaptogenic herbs include: Ashwagandha, Lemon Balm, Lion’s Mane Mushroom, and Reishi Mushroom, which I’ve combined in my convenient Anxiety & Stress Tincture.
Beyond the suggestions above, you may want to consider a media detox or the art of doing nothing to help break the habit of chronic busyness. All in all, it really comes down to the choices we make. The time has come for us to embrace vibrant, balanced lives. I hope you find these tips and resources to be helpful towards this goal!