Have you noticed when you ask, “How are you doing?,” people often reply, “Busy. Crazy busy.”
Busy has become a badge of honor, and it’s not sustainable.
At work, the busyness trap has us constantly striving to keep an untenable pace. At home, it leaves our children dizzy from the frantic clip and leaves us depleted, resentful, and disconnected from loved ones. Our society does not implicitly value caregiving, but it does value being busy, so as parents, we cram our days full of activities to show that we, too, deserve credit for a job well done.
Here’s the real issue: We’re all caving into this broader narrative without realizing we create the narrative.
Breaking Up with Busyness:
“Look, busyness, we’ve had a good run. Thank you for getting me all those gold stars. I won’t lie, I’ve enjoyed the high from the adrenaline and cortisol I get when we’re together. But it’s taking a toll. I thought if I was with you, I would matter and belong. But I’m tired of running on fumes. It’s time to move on. We need to see other people. I’m going to start dating both rest and renewal. If that goes well, I might take things to the next level and start to see nourishment, leisure, and pleasure too.”
How can we escape our frantic lives? Get curious.
What’s underneath the busy as a badge of honor and hustle culture?
We’ve equated busyness with worthiness.
This means if you want to get out of the busy trap, you have to learn how to cultivate a sense of lasting worthiness from within. You can do this by appreciating yourself frequently.
You are worthy of love and belonging, of being seen, simply because you exist. You do not need to prove your worthiness or hustle for love.
When I first tried to stop being busy all the time, I panicked.
The thought of doing nothing triggered my sense of worthiness. Who was I to lie on the couch in the middle of the day unless I was sick or had already completed all my To-Do’s? Even deeper, allowing myself to do less forced me to confront all the things I’d been running from with my “productivity” and busyness behavior.
When you slow down, you realize how exhausted you are and you start to feel the uncomfortable feelings you’ve been running from or ignoring. You also start to tune into what you actually need, rather than responding to everyone else’s demands.
Busyness as a Decoy.
What if busyness is an excuse to mask painful truths and circumvent the scary work of creating change in your life? What if busyness is a form of denial, a pretense, a sneaky avoidance that pretends to do important things on the surface, while neglecting the most important work of all – the evolution of your soul?
The busier you are, the harder it becomes to pause and check – in with yourself and ask, “How am I really doing at this moment?”
As you break up with busyness, you may feel anxiety or panic well up. You may have to face some difficult truths. You might feel lonely, sad, depressed, restless, or scared.
Simply breathe through it, notice the sensations in your physical body, and allow yourself five or ten minutes of quiet time to do nothing.
I’m offering you a compassionate hug and an energetic high five every time you do this.
Quick Embodiment Exercise
Read these two sentences, and notice how you feel in your body after each one:;
“I am busy.”
(Check in with your body, how do you feel?)
(Wiggle your hands in front of you to break that energetic state.)
“I am relaxed.”
(Check in with your body, how do you feel?)
Just reading the words, “I am busy,” I can feel my whole body begin to tighten, and my mind starts to spin.
As I read, “I am relaxed,” I automatically took a deep breath and felt my body start to soften. My mind is quiet.
The words we tell ourselves about ourselves matter. The words we use to describe ourselves to others matter. Mind your language, and your reality will follow.
One very simple yet effective action you can take immediately is to stop saying, “I am busy.”
Whatever you put after the words, “I am,” is an affirmation that will become a self-fulfilling prophecy over time. Saying, “I’m busy,” will keep you running in circles instead of finding your true path.
The Soul Solution Move:
Instead, say to yourself:;
“I have plenty of time for everything I want and need to do today.”
“I am enough, just as I am.”
“I always have plenty of time for what matters most to me.”
“I am exactly where I need to be.”
Try it out for yourself and notice how you feel. Leave a comment below and let me know – what helps you get out of the busy trap?! Was this post useful to you?
May you have plenty of time for everything you want and need to do today, and everyday,
P.S. Want more tools to deal with the inner busy bully? I have resources to help quiet your mind, and live life with greater ease and (dare I say it!) JOY on my website here.
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Thank you for this! I really appreciated the affirmation, “I have plenty of time for everything I want and need to do today.” This is replacing, “I am enough” in my morning affirmations.
Love this so much Karen!! Thanks for sharing how you are replacing that affirmation.