Busyness syndrome

Have you ever been that person who has bragged about how busy they were?

Funnily enough I know a lot of us do, and I have been guilty of this in the past to. It’s as if being busy gives us validation for our existence. But let me ask you this? How much happiness has busyness brought you? Let’s be honest most of us at our busiest are under heightened stress, heightened emotions and just physically running off adrenaline until we crash and burn… but thats success right? …..recognise yourself?

Actually typing about this gives me slight anxiety. Busyness to me, was very much a part of my validation. I created busyness and almost chaos which enabled me to hide away from other things, because I was just too busy to have to deal with it. Being busy meant at least to most, came across that I was winning and really successful and proactively improving. Actually for many years, I stood pretty stagnant because I was juggling too many pots. I was over burdening my diary which constantly meant I kept missing things, I felt unfulfilled, panicked, chasing everything, minimising sleep, and eventually ending up in a total burnout… then I kept repeating the pattern. I had a sense that as long as I was busy I was achieving. I actually would frown upon those that weren’t busy, thinking ,”gosh, come on, get up and do something with your life.” Being constantly busy can be somewhat of a status symbol, but all in all it’s mostly hiding underlying route causes. But what are they? What are you afraid to face?

I’ve reflected on this the most during the past 3 months. I actually made a really bold statement that, I panic that I achieved so much in my 20’s i’m scared I won’t achieve the same in my 30’s which makes me cram everything in. I sickeningly would envy those that were more busy than me, and ensure I made myself busier to make myself feel more accomplished – Sad right? Most of you that have known me or followed me for years, the amount I was fitting into my day was sickening! It actually gives me palpitations thinking of it. When I moved to London, all new to the big bright city, I was living off almost only £15 per week food shop. Yep – Mad right! But somehow I managed to actually do it, but to live a live in London, get out and meet people, I had to work extra hours to earn extra pennies, which included my full time job which was commission based and then teaching from 9 – 5 every weekend, plus socialising Thursday – Saturday evenings having a minimised amount of sleep of maybe 3 – 4 hours sleep per evening… and I wondered why my body broke down on me 5 months into Living in London… Sure! Being busy, created stress, but it also enabled me to feel like I had a purpose, so also my mechanism for when stressful periods arose I would then create busyness to deal with the stress adding extra stress, but it didn’t matter because at least I had a purpose…. ever heard of a busy fool? That was me! Hello!

I wanted to write about this as it is something I witness and myself have known and guilty of, and its so prevalent in our day to day society and something I am trying to improve without feeling guilty… constant busyness! How many of you have felt less stressed, more connected to your partner/relationships/family, more fulfilled, skin and bodies feel fresh, and you can actually have time to do some hobbies too since lockdown? Vast majority of most people! Maybe coronavirus was a blessing in our fast paced world thats killing our environment that we need to take more time to be mindful and more connected to whats going on around us. Being busy and over scheduling our diaries is something that can actually have harmful effects on many areas of your life: health, relationships, longevity, mental wellbeing. Maybe it’s time to take a step back and identify why you are creating so much busyness in your life.

Identifying Busyness

A few months back, I had started delving back into self development. I had gone through quite a stressful period at the back end of 2019 that meant I had really started to ramp up my busyness through many means – personal training, appointments, teaching, exercising and also ensuring I gave time to my amazing other half. My days would go like this, wake up at 4.45am, run to Barrys Bootcamp for 6am, Do Barry’s Bootcamp, Go to work for 8am, leave work by 4.30pm, clients/students till 8pm, travel home, cook dinner, spend time with my other half from September, bed by midnight, then repeat, followed by every 2nd weekend teaching courses. This had been consistent from May to end of October. Compounding months of trying to just get through, but stay busy. I had got to the point also if I didn’t have something in my diary, I would panic and book something in. Then alot of the time for social situations i’d be so exhausted from keeping up a front I wouldn’t be able to make it, or i’d only be there in body not spirit. What sort of life is that? Then my body woke me up. I physically couldn’t stay away. I had to take 3 weeks out. 3 weeks!!! I know those that are reading this – it panics me too. But I also realised, I need to stop this trend – being busy is great BUT also you need to appreciate and learn that not doing things is also great too and will benefit you also in the long run. So who wants to beat the feeling of guilt that comes with it all?

How to deal with feeling of guilt if you are not busy

This is something I am still learning, but also something I am greatly aware of. When others have said I am just so busy, my first initial reaction is, “URGHHH shit, I am not doing enough, I need to plan and get a million things done right at once,” then I take a moment to breathe and remind myself that, there’s no point being a busy fool. How do I deal with it: write out the things I would be happy to achieve today. Put end dates on things, and prioritise in those orders, rather than promising everything for that moment, within a couple of hours. I also put a priority on things I know make me feel accomplished such as running, so that needs to be a priority in my day – so how do I start every morning – doing exercise. Then I set myself the task to not sit at my desk before 8.30 and when I do I spend my first 10 minutes just going through my task list and picking out the things that need to be done that day, but not over burdening with 2 page worths of MUST DO NOW. The overall result – achieving so much more, feel happier, look happier, eat better, sleep better – okay who doesn’t want that?

So if you recognise yourself in the above, I want you to give yourself permission to slow down, relax and enjoy your life a little more. This is harder than it seems, especially if you are someone who is heavily involved with social media. Make a commitment to being more intentional in your life regarding your efforts, and choosing what you want to be a part of is crucial. You will also need to find your inner “no” and become comfortable with the idea that you don’t have to be part of everything, you are not the only one who can do things, and people won’t think less of you for choosing to sit something out.

What I want you to take away from this. It is okay to enjoy life, in-fact its more than okay! It’s EXCELLENT and life is there to be enjoyed and also work hard, BUT don’t compromise your livelihood and longevity by chucking away these years and being super busy all the time. Slow down a little, try and save more AND by saving more, means you can actually take more breaks and get aways. You are here for the long run, sometimes you need to be kind to yourself as well as pushing yourself and you make life the best experience it can be… don’t let years pass without finding happiness in your day to day. Life is for living.

Would you rather turn round at 90 and say, “I can’t believe I did that” or “I wish I did that”. It’s time to embrace balance and know that it’s okay to give yourself permission to switch off.

All my love,

Jayne x

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