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The Mis-Education of Busyness

Busy, Busyness, Stop The Glorification of Busy, What is Stress, Stress Level

A dear friend of mine had a startling aha moment the other day and I’m calling it the mis-education of busyness. You know what I mean – you’re busy. Constantly busy. On the go. Hurry here. Hurry there. Hurry everywhere.

Let’s all take a big DEEP breath and just stop for a moment.

My friend called and said that her aha moment hit her after a few long stressful months. She feels like she is continually on the go, doing SOMETHING and going nowhere fast.

As it always does, a simple little incident was enough to blow the lid off. She was sitting at a stop light and someone behind her didn’t stop fast enough and tapped her bumper. It was basically a t-i-i-i-n-y little fender bender (no real damage) and she said she just sobbed. Got back in her car and sobbed. On the way to work where she had to be perky and upbeat — and she’s sobbing.

Her stress level was through the roof and she wasn’t connecting the dots. Then, after work, she went home and sat down for 30 minutes with a glass of her favorite white wine. And the heavens parted with a shocking revelation.

Simply put: perpetual busyness.

Stop the Glorification of Busyness

American society is all about the glorification of busyness. For most, busyness equals productivity. WE MUST BE DOING SOMETHING AT ALL TIMES. IF NOT, WE ARE LAZY.

Amirite?

It’s ridiculous! 

If you think about it, we never shut down. Our modern life provides – even encourages – sensory bombardment. We are constantly deluged by noise, traffic, music, television, social media, crowds and – the worst – electronic devices that are always ON.

Food for thought:

  • When’s the last time you turned your phone off overnight?
  • When’s the last time you went more than 20 minutes without checking your phone?
  • Do you fall asleep with the television on?
  • Do you watch the news while you get ready for work in the morning?
  • Is the radio blaring on your way to work?
  • At dinnertime, do you talk as a family or is the television on for distraction?

Oh – and the worst is running all over hell’s half acre to take the kids to every single after-school activity known to mankind. I’ve lost count of how many people tell me the inside of their car looks like a fast food dump because every single night is a different activity and they constantly go through drive-through windows just to stay on time.

If you think you’re stressed out, whaddya think all this busyness is doing to your kids? 

When you’re always busy, you’re basically keeping your body in a state of perpetual fight-or-flight which will burn out your adrenal system real fast. Just ask me how I know that. And what do you think it’s doing for your stress level?

We must stop the glorification of busyness.

Overstimulation

One of the biggest hidden culprits of anxiety and depression is relentless overstimulation. By perpetually being “on”, we’re teaching kids that simply sitting down and allowing their imaginations to wake up is lazy. We’re not teaching kids to learn how to sit quietly and to like their own company because we have a DVD player in the back of the van. Turn on the ignition, the DVD fires up and everybody stays quiet until we get to the next stop.

An interesting article written by Deane Alban for the website reset.me wrote this about noise pollution:

We undoubtedly live in a noisy world. We are continually deluged by sounds that did not even exist 100 years ago — vehicle traffic, television, leaf blowers, muzak, and smartphones. The problem has gotten so bad that a World Health Organization report labeled noise pollution a “modern plague.” While noise pollution does not cause mental disorders, it’s been found to contribute to anxiety, stress, emotional instability, mood swings, neurosis, and psychosis. Noise increases blood pressure and stimulates the release of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. It activates the brain’s amygdala, the part of the brain sometimes referred to as the fear center.

Um…did you just read that? Overstimulation contributes to anxiety, stress, emotional instability and all that other exhausting stuff? 

AACK!

Clutter

Don’t even get me started about clutter! I’ve written before about the effect physical clutter has on your mental state. The vacuum doesn’t get run, there’s dishes in the sink (certainly not from dinner!), last week’s mail is still on the (unused) dining room table, and of course, there’s no time to deal with all junk in your car. Not to mention the 400 emails in your inbox.

Simply put, physical clutter equals mental clutter. When you’re incessantly mentally “cluttered”, you open the door to exhaustion and all the other modern-day maladies. 

Deane Alban further writes:

Clutter robs you of mental energy, leaving you feeling anxious, tired, and overwhelmed. Your environment is a direct reflection of your psychological state, so if your living space is a mess, it’s likely you do not have your mental house in order either.

What Is Stress?

The Stress Organization – yes, there is such a thing – gives this definition of stress:

Stress is not a useful term for scientists because it is such a highly subjective phenomenon that it defies definition. And if you can’t define stress, how can you possibly measure it? The term “stress”, as it is currently used was coined by Hans Selye in 1936, who defined it as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”.

So, whatever may stress you to the max is no big deal to me. Stress level is all subjective! GAH!

Now What?

Y’all, we’ve just got to slow down! The bottom line is our mis-education of busyness. Unceasing busyness does not make you a hero. It simply exhausts you and drains you of your best gifts to yourself, family and friends. Please don’t even tell me you can’t possibly slow down. It’s a conscious choice you make to either take care of yourself or run yourself ragged by always being busy.

One of the concerns I raise with my coaching clients is the constant state of busyness. Part of my job is to help you learn to say no as a matter of self-care; to help you learn to be happy with your own quiet (read that: unplugged) company; to teach you that quiet time isn’t counterproductive, it’s essential to your very health!

Don’t know where to start relaxing? Each of my coaching clients purchase a custom aromatherapy blend specifically for their lifestyle concerns. I also have two separate blends that will help you get started in slowing down.

Have I struck a nerve? Fill out this very short contact form and let’s talk today.

Blessings,

Melissa