Not that long ago a friend of mine messaged me asking if I had time to talk, and that she didn’t want to bother me if I was busy. I had never shared with her, nor anyone else in my life, about a busyness addiction.
Sure. I said. I was just sitting here playing my singing bowl.
WHAT?! She exclaimed. How do you even have time for that?!
I responded to my friend in the same way I respond to anyone who questions how I have time to even breathe with a husband, 6 homeschooled children, a business… and a partridge in a pear tree. HA!
It’s a conscious choice. Every day.
See, not too many years ago I was pushing myself beyond what should be possible for any human being. I was go-go-go with my calendar bumper-to-bumper and, because I never felt like I was doing enough, I forcefully squeezed even more between scheduled activities.
To make matters worse, nothing in my schedule was really for ME either. It was easy at the time. I thought doing things for my children, serving the churches I was a part of, doing things for my husband…. Weren’t those things for me? I thought that because a person was a part of my life that me serving them, was me serving myself.
Being busy was easy for me because I thought I was doing good.
Little did I realize, I was breaking down. See, busyness is great… until it’s not. You can forget about things that mean most to you. It becomes easy to give your energy to things that are not of benefit to you… even making way for other addictions like I mentioned at the beginning. Most importantly, you lose touch with yourself and things like your mental and physical health can take a back seat.
I’m not sure what would have happened if I kept going. It wasn’t until I began homeschooling my children a few years ago that I saw that I needed to take more time for me!
That was when I learned about self-care and how important it is for me. It happened to coincide with the timing of the start of my holistic journey and my spiritual awakening.
As time went on, I began implementing more time for my own self-care as well as a much more flexible schedule.
And now, for my addiction confession.
Before your jaw hits the floor, I’m not going to share with you about an addiction to drugs, alcohol, sex, or gambling. What I am going to share with you is how I discovered my addiction to busyness and how it was on the way to destroying my life.
I have a busyness addiction.
I started having a thought or two about this last year when I began mentoring others. It seemed that I was attracting all the people who were like me when I started down a new spiritual growth journey after my awakening. It’s OH SO EASY to connect with people on your new path and become overcome with shiny-object-syndrome and want to dive into ALL the things… especially when you’re bound and determined to help yourself and those you love!
As I was mentoring others, my own issues with overwhelming myself with information became more and more clear. When the start of the New Year 2019 came around and it was time for me to pick a word of the year, I knew what I needed to do:
I started off the year “decluttering” part of my business that was no longer working for me. Also, I jumped headfirst into working hard to declutter my surroundings. It felt good to simplify things as I was doing it!
However, as the months have gone by this year, that feel-good feeling had begun to wear off, my health was not making the progress I had hoped for, and for the life of me, I couldn’t understand why. My calendar wasn’t full, I limited my clients per day… I’ve even learned to stop myself from making unrealistic to-do lists.
Then, it hit me. Yes, I wasn’t adding anything new and I took things out of my schedule, but I was completely complicating everything I had left. I found that I was adding more tasks to the things on my schedule, adding more to my programs and services in my business, even adding more to my own self-care processes and routines thinking to myself, Well, now I have time do to more!
It was in that reflection that I realized that I am addicted to busyness.
The Busyness Addiction
I know what some of you might be thinking. Why would someone be addicted to simply being busy? I believe there could be many reasons for this from people pleasing to anxiety to a way to ‘escape’.
For me, it stemmed from habit. I had become so used to being busy, so used to doing just one more thing, that it became a habit for me to continue being busy even after simplifying. It happened naturally… almost subconsciously.
In this realization there has been work to be done. I’ve had to work on releasing beliefs, internal voices, and external voices from my past, that told me I need to be busy, that I don’t deserve to choose to rest, and so much more. It has meant releasing any guilt or unworthiness or feelings of the like when I am in the midst of resting, relaxing, or simply not being busy. Like when my friend asked me how I possibly have time to sit and play my singing bowl, before my answer to her, I questioned myself. Should I be doing this? Do I need to be something something more “worthy” of my time?
The largest amount of work?
Making that moment to moment, conscious choice of whether or not I truly NEED to be busy in the moment.
What I realized, for me, is that I do need to be busy. It IS an addiction. However, I no longer fill my schedule nor do I even go out every day. I no longer allow myself to go down the rabbit hole of overthinking how I can be doing more. Where my life has changed is in the realization that I can choose to redefine it. I can be busy resting, playing, healing, enjoying my singing bowl, sipping water, breathing… living. I am learning to only be busy with things that I am connected to on a soul-level.
Simply being me is busy enough.