Stress management is a leading search on google, and for good reason. The world needs to destress, but the expectations of society refuse to allow it.
“What do you do all day?”
Ask any stay at home mom if she’s ever heard this said to her, and she’s likely to say yes.
Because the world expects us to be busy.
Busy is how people determine your popularity.
When you see a line outside of a store at the mall, you think, “ooh, it’s busy, so there must be something good there.”
Or if you call a life coach and they tell you that they are booked out 6 months, you think “wow. she must be good because she’s busy.”
Busy is a value indicator for most of the world, and so it’s no surprise that people are taught to hustle.
We are taught to “Work hard until you don’t have to work.”
There are countless signs, mugs, tshirts and wall art that include the words “hustle”, “slay” “get it girl”
Busy is a badge of honor for most of the world.
But I would argue this: Busy is the reason most people are miserable and experience chronic stress.
The average day starts off busy.
- Your alarm goes off at a blaring sound
- you smash it to turn it off
- hit the shower
- get ready for work
- grab breakfast
- maybe if you have kids, you do the morning routine to get them ready for their day
- you’re off to work, sucking down coffee like it’s water, and you are hustling to get everything done.
- You eat lunch while working at your computer
- At the end of the day, you feel like you didn’t even make a dent in your to-do list, but you have to rush and get the kids
- get them to practice
- make a quick dinner
- do homework
- bedtime/bathtime/nighttime kid stuff
- around 9 or 10 you collapse onto the sofa from sheer exhaustion with a glass of wine that you barely even taste, but drink anyway because it’s the “wind down” thing to do.
- you go to bed, scroll your phone for a while
- wake up the next morning to do it all again.
Just writing that gives me anxiety and chronic stress.
Whether your day looks like that or some iteration of that, here’s the piece I want you to remember:
Being chronically busy creates chronic stress, chronic illness, chronic mental health issues, and a chronic need to be more, do more, give more and achieve more.
And that cycle? It sucks.
Busy is not a badge of honor, so let’s start by asking some questions about your particular brand of busy:
- In an average week, how many days do you feel absolutely exhausted at the end?
- In an average day, how much time do you have to just sit quietly and read a book?
- On an average day, what percentage of the day are you stressed?
- How many vacation days do you take every month?
- On your days off, do you step away from technology, or are you still busy being connected to the world the entire time you’re awake?
That last one gets people.
Most people will say they are only exhausted once or twice, and that they have every evening to read a book, and that their stress levels are low with little to no chronic stress… but when i ask them if they disconnect? The answer is always, “oh shit. no, I don’t.”
We are SO connected at all times.
If it’s not our computer, it’s our phone.
If it’s not our phone, it’s our watch.
f it’s not the watch, it’s the smart tv.
You are “on” and available every waking hour of your day, and the amount of stimulation you’re enduring each day is creating chronic stress, which ultimately creates an acute stress response in your body.
Basically: you’re in fight or flight mode all of the time, and your body is burning out.
When your nervous system is dysregulated from the information storm you’re swirling in, you’ll experience these symptoms of chronic stress:
- Constantly on edge or overwhelmed
- Irritable, or reactive. You lose your temper.
- racing thoughts. Inability to calm your mind
- panic or depression out of nowhere
- emotions that have big swings
- You’re exhausted during the day and not sleeping well at night
- Forgetful or scattered with concentration problems
- chronic pain, or illness
- You’re easily overwhelmed by strong stimuli – loud noises, lights, smells
- Immune issues and hormonal difficulties
How many of those are you experiencing?
Healing your nervous system takes time, and starts with deliberately noticing how much input you’re allowing into your experience.
- How much time are you spending online?
- How much time do you have free to care for yourself?
- How often do you step away from all technology?
- How overbooked is your schedule?
- How much chaos (drama) are you picking up from other people that doesn’t belong to you?
This is just the start of the process and it takes time to step out of the information storm, out of the chronic stress and begin to heal the nervous system..
If you’re interested in learning more about regulating your nervous system and living a slower, more intentional Lifestyle without chronic stress, check out Slow Living 101.
You’ll learn how to:
- Simplify your life so that you nip anxiety and overwhelm before they begin
- Embrace 5 slow habits that are designed to lower stress and improve wellbeing
- Recognize and redesign the areas of your life that disrupt your peace
- Use a life design tool to guide your path, your purpose and your slow living journey