Busyness…An Addiction?

I've got about five things I want to write about, all at the same time.  My brain is on overload and I can't download it.  Is your plate sometimes so full you can't seem to shut your brain off? This has been me the past month.  Sometimes I'm even running around in my dreams, it seems as though I can't rest my mind.  When I get one issue resolved before I can't shut the book, here comes another.

This mental craziness could not be healthy. In the midst of it all, that's what I keep worrying about, the unhealthiness of it.  It's not all bad stuff either, it's just a lot of stuff.  Some unnecessary, some self-inflicted and self-sabotage, some of it is an addiction, addicted to busyness.

I cannot lay on the couch and enjoy a movie or television show from start to finish, you best believe I have paused it and started cooking or doing laundry.  Before you know it, I'm sleeping and missed the whole thing.  I've been reading up on busyness.

Merriam-Webster defines busyness as "the state of having or being involved in many activities."  Who even knew this was a word?  Keeping the mind active is a good way to stay mentally healthy, but busyness is a different kind of beast.  Michelle Braden, Forbes Coaches Council of Forbes.com states busyness is one of the worst kinds of addictions because people pride themselves on being busy, and it's habit-forming.  Being busy is usually not a bad thing.

Addiction is being physiologically dependent on something, and our first thought is usually alcohol, drugs, or food. Addictions are usually distractions or a way to avoid things we don't want to deal with, can't handle, or from certain responsibilities. The culture of busyness is, according to Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed:  How to Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time, is a pervasive problem.  Chronic busyness takes a serious toll because you cannot live your life and have the impact that you want regarding your family or career when you are overwhelmed, over-scheduled, and busy.  A constant state of busyness leaves you always with the feeling of never really being satisfied and constantly drains you of energy and doesn’t allow you to be great.  Busyness impacts those around you and creates a negative environment on personal relationships because those around you can feel neglected.

Dog Chasing Its Tail

A lot of us feel that our self-worth goes hand and hand with our accomplishments. Some feel if they are not busy, they are not doing anything interesting and are not successful or important. But this is not the case, what’s more important, a busy schedule does not enable you to spend time with loved ones.

Think over these things:

Why do you need to be busy?  I’m sure the reason is in one of the above, (I can fit myself a little in each of the addiction reasons)

Do you feel satisfied or just drained?

In order to put things into perspective, try these things:

Make small changes daily, something that can break the cycle such as making a goal one day a week to say “no.”  Tell someone I can’t make it this time, I can’t bake cookies for the retreat, or I’m sorry, I will not be able to serve on that committee this time.  This is surely a struggle for me, I can never say no, I feel so guilty, especially when it’s something I could easily do, but then I get secretly angry because I have to do it.

Go over your “to-do list” or calendar and cross one thing off.

Schedule downtime, resolve slots on your calendar to not check your phone or emails, for instance, I am not reading emails after 8:00 p.m., or log off social media by 9:00 p.m., or not check social media upon waking, (guilty of both).  Scheduling a nap, a certain day or time, or movie/TV time. Realize that the laundry does not have to be all finished, folded and put up by 7:00 p.m. on Sunday evenings.

Realize the importance of slowing down.

Take simple steps to free up much needed time in your life and mind space by making smaller daily choices to keep you from burnout busyness.  I will too!  Good luck!

References

Garam, Jennifer (2018)., how to stop being so busy all the time. https://www.seleni.org/advice-support/2018/3/21/how-to-stop-being-so-busy-all-the-time

 

Author: Carol Boynton

Carol Boynton is a special needs advocate and divorced mother of young adult twin daughters with Cerebral Palsy. She loves to happily share her experiences as a special need’s mom. In 2017, Carol completed the first class of special education advocate training (SEAT 1.0) through The Council of Parent Attorney’s and Advocates (COPAA). Carol calls her girls her “sheros” and readily admits that she would not be the woman she has evolved into without her daughters! Currently residing in Cleveland, Ohio, Carol just completed her master’s degree in Industrial & Organizational Psychology 27 years after receiving her undergrad degree. She is a 25-year employee of county government. With a handful of years left, she is excitedly awaiting retirement where she can devote more time to advocating and enjoying her favorite past times of reading, traveling (especially cruising), cooking, concert going and listening to music to name a few. Carol is very active in her church, a member of several social/charitable organizations and passionate about the disabled community, the community in which she lives, and social justice issues.

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