I have a confession: I used to be extremely addicted to being busy and feeling overwhelmed.
Now, I understand addiction is very serious and trust me, I don’t take this lightly.
For as long as I can remember, I have self-identified as being busy and overwhelmed. It wasn’t until recently that I started to become aware of the problem and realized that this had been going on for most of my life.
In today's society it is so common for people to almost brag about being busy. It’s often seen as a status symbol and as if we are more “worthy” because we are busy.
Have you ever asked someone how they’ve been and their almost automatic response is “extremely busy”?
I’m not going to lie, but this has been my response to this question for a while, especially since having children. And was I actually busy? Yes, I believe I was, but was it really necessary to be as busy as I was or felt? And did I need to emphasize that I was busy or could I just have answered the question with “Great. I’ve been doing a lot of awesome things”. I definitely think I could have had a better response and I believe it’s really all a matter of perspective.
But back to when I realized this was a huge issue for me.
I was working full-time, taking care of my 2 kids and a household of responsibilities (while my fiancé worked 70+ hours a week), taking college courses, and trying to obtain my health coaching certificate all while trying to start my health coaching business and running an Etsy shop on the side.
Just writing that out is pretty exhausting for me now.
During this time in my life (not too long ago), I began to get very nauseous, dizzy and my anxiety was extremely heightened. If one thing went wrong or I felt slightly criticized, I would quite literally lose my shit.
There were nights of binge-eating or drinking a little too much in order to just NOT think about everything for a second. After 2 weeks straight of feeling nauseous and dizzy I decided to pay a visit to my doctor.
The doctor visit went well. I wasn’t pregnant, suffering from vertigo, or any other serious illness or disease (all thoughts running through my head). My doctor simply said, “We may need to increase the dosage of my anxiety of medication”. I was shocked and horrified. Although I was prescribed medication, I was rarely taking it and definitely didn't want a higher dosage.
I was studying health and holistic integrative nutrition and yet, I realized I was extremely unhealthy. I didn’t necessarily agree with the fact that I needed more medication. I just realized that I needed to prioritize myself and my health or else who knows what would happen.
Back then, I didn’t recognize my addiction to being busy or overwhelmed. I just thought I was doing what had to be done to get to where I needed to be. I also don’t regret trying to “do it all”, but I’ve come to realize that being busy and constantly overwhelmed is no way to live. Believe it or not, we actually do have a choice on whether we want to live this way or not.
When looking back on the last 10 years of my life, I’ve realized that I was always taking on more than I could handle and performing at a mediocre level in all areas of my life. Since I was SO busy, I made the excuse for myself that B’s in my classes were okay and my “meets expectations” on reviews at work were fine since I was just too busy to give my all anyway.
What I've recently discovered is that I have been avoiding and resisting myself and my life all along.
If I had more time to spare then I would have more time to think, more time to give, and more effort to put in. If I had more time to think, then I would have realized I was completely insecure, had a lot of unresolved emotional issues, and was extremely afraid of failure. If I had more time to give, then people would expect more of me, but what if I wasn’t able to meet their expectations? If I put more effort in and failed, then what excuse would I have?
I’ve spent the last year or so on a journey of self discovery. I’ve spent a lot of time meditating, reading and learning. I’ve realized that I no longer want to live in this fog of busyness and overwhelm. I would much rather feel my feelings and truly experience my life.
I haven’t figured out all of the answers. Sometimes I still take on too much. I even respond with “I’m so busy” from time to time. But each day, I am more aware and working towards a life of peace, presence, and fulfillment. And I truly believe it’s possible.
So, although I may not have a lot to offer you if you are struggling now too, I just to know you are not alone and there is another way.
I believe the first step in the journey is awareness and prioritizing self-care. And by being aware and prioritizing our self-care we can slowly start to change the way we live one day at a time.
SO TELL ME - do you struggle with being addicted to being busy & overwhelmed?