Happy Thursday! After night-shift this morning, the only thing I could think about was BED. It was just one of those night-shifts where I felt completely exhausted and could barely keep my eyes open on the drive home (eeeks, truth). Anyhow, I couldn’t even think about putting the finishing touches and posting the blog, so sorry for the delay 😉
I was on the stairclimber yesterday (anyone else have a love/hate relationship with that baby?) and I was reading Glamour. I enjoy Glamour because it talks about non-important stuff (makeup trends, clothes trends) and important stuff (women in power, career advice, empowering college women). There was an interview in there that really spoke to me.
It was about glorifying busyness. I’ve talked about this on the blog before, and it was actually one of the reasons I wanted to start the blog. I saw myself + my family + friends over-committing themselves. All of the sudden everyone was “so busy”.
But something changed about a month ago. I bumped into a friend at the gym. Instead of sympathizing when I said I was “crazy busy,” he simply asked:
“Really? So what do you have going on today?”
I had to stop and think for a moment. No one has ever asked me to “describe my busy.” So I conducted a mental review of our calendar before explaining that I had a worship band rehearsal in the morning, followed by a basketball game for my son, a church commitment for my wife, a birthday party for my daughter, and a date night that evening.
“Sounds like a full day. Have fun!” (Okay, I LOVE THIS RESPONSE)
At first, I was a bit resentful. He obviously misunderstood me. I wanted to remind him how horrible all of this was. I wanted to explain how driving from place to place in my comfortable SUV was a huge pain in the ass. Not to mention how Gabby and I would have to split up for part of the day. Buying and wrapping the birthday gift? Don’t even get me started! And then only having an hour to get the kids fed and get ready for our semi-fancy date that evening.
Didn’t you hear me? I am busy! Sweet Baby Jesus, have mercy on my soul!
Here’s the thing. I wear busyness like a badge of honor. Only there’s no honor to be had.
Busy is a sickness.
The American Psychological Association has published its Stress In America survey since 2007. They find that the majority of Americans recognize that their stress exceeds levels necessary to maintain good health. The most frequent reason they cite for not addressing the problem?
Being too busy.
It’s a vicious cycle.
Dr. Susan Koven practices internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. In a 2013 Boston Globe column, she wrote:
In the past few years, I’ve observed an epidemic of sorts: patient after patient suffering from the same condition. The symptoms of this condition include fatigue, irritability, insomnia, anxiety, headaches, heartburn, bowel disturbances, back pain, and weight gain. There are no blood tests or X-rays diagnostic of this condition, and yet it’s easy to recognize. The condition is excessive busyness.
As we come to the close of the summer, Drew + I took a moment to reflect on it. We both agreed that we had over-committed ourselves and we promised ourselves that next summer we would take more time to breathe and enjoy each other at HOME. It is just so darn hard to say no to lake weekends, isn’t it? But we didn’t need to say yes to every single invitation, especially if that meant being out of town for 80% of the weekends that I didn’t work.
Our priorities were misaligned because this also meant that we missed church a lot of the time. Sure we could/did sometimes watch it online, but we both feel we don’t get quite as much out of it when we choose that option.
As you probably know by now, I’m a huge fan of self-reflection. There are times where I need to check in with myself and be honest. When I’m too busy, I feel stressed and I can tell that I don’t have as much patience as I would like to. A lot of the stress in our life is self-inflicted, especially if being too busy is a chronic problem in our lives.
Take a minute to think about what your schedule looks like. Do you have enough time to relax? Are you prioritizing the things that are most important to you? OR….are you in every softball or volleyball league that comes your way and you work 60 hours a week? It is going to catch up with you and you can probably see some of the symptoms listed by Dr. Susan Koven (fatigue, irritability, insomnia, anxiety, headaches, heartburn, bowel disturbances, back pain, and weight gain).
If this is a problem for you, make a change to improve your health. -Ames