Do you ever start dreading the day ahead the moment you open your eyes? In addition to getting everyone dressed, fed, and off to school or work, you’ve also got what seems like a zillion other things to do today – and that’s before you even get home! And then there are those other commitments – they seemed like a good idea at the time but now they’re weighing you down and causing you to wish you had a clone.
Yes, my friend – it IS possible to be so busy that you don’t enjoy your life. The good news is that it doesn’t have to stay that way.
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I ran across an interesting piece of data in a book not too long ago. It said that the Chinese symbol for busy is two pictographs, one for heart, and the other for killing. Hmm, so to be busy is to be killing your heart. Very interesting.
So I decided to check into this to get more information. It turns out that this little piece of interesting data may not be true after all. How disappointing for me since I thought it would make a great blog post. But then it dawned on me – it’s still an interesting idea whether the Chinese have pictographs for it or not.
Busy Isn’t Always Better
So the question then is, “Is being busy (or too busy) killing our hearts?” Or perhaps to phrase the question more succinctly, “Is our excessively busy lifestyle slowly killing us?”
Now I may not have any cute Chinese pictographs to add to this post, but I still think that the idea is an interesting one. For years I’ve noticed that the only correct answer to the question, “How are you doing” is for the other person to answer with a list of activities proving how busy they are. Almost like whoever has the longest list or the most activities to fill up their time wins some kind of prize.
Personally, I’ve never bought into the mentality that busier is better. But the concept that being too busy is unhealthy struck a chord with me because it wasn’t that long ago that I had a full-time job, three kids at home, husband, dog, house, and was in graduate school. Everyone in that situation is busy enough to feel like they have no spare time – and they really don’t.
But what I never got into was adding to the already long list of things on my plate. So instead of adding more things to my list, I began making a conscious effort to take things off.
It’s Okay To Take Things Off Your Plate
And people thought I was strange (which I am, but that’s another blog post). I didn’t have my kids in athletics or dance or music. I wasn’t the mother pushing for us to belong to Boy Scouts or gymnastics. Not that I kept the kids from doing anything they expressed an interest in, mind you. But I wasn’t actively promoting these activities because I felt like they (or the family) needed them. I felt like going to school, keeping up with their grades, and just being kids was busy enough.
Many time adults are exhausted and stretched too thin because of they spend all their time following their children from one activity to another. Our kids are exhausted and so are we. But why do we do it?
Are we parents so concerned our kids will miss out on some essential skill or opportunity that we schedule them into more activities than they can handle?
Signs that you or your child has too much to do
Down in your gut you already know if you – or your family – are overextended. You’ll notice these signs that make it clear.
- Exhaustion – even upon waking up first thing in the morning.
- Feeling tired all of the time. Since you’re tired when you wake up, you’re tired the rest of the day as well.
- Activities that used to be fun have stopped bringing enjoyment
- A general feeling of moodiness or anxiousness.
- Being short-tempered and cranky.
- Becoming more prone to illness. A weakened immune system stems from exhaustion.
- School-aged children may have a drop in their grades.
So what’s the cure? Take something off the plate.
That’s right. It may be time to examine your priorities along with every activity the family is engaged in. And it may be time to admit that something needs to go.
Perhaps I did this because I was lazy. Goodness knows I was exhausted. But I truly believed that we’ve raised a generation of children who have been over-scheduled, stressed out, and who don’t know how to entertain themselves because we adults have followed them around planning every moment out for them. As a result, we have a bunch of adults who are also exhausted and stressed out.
Maybe it’s time we stopped doing it.
If you know someone who might benefit from slowing down a bit, please share this post or pin it to your favorite Pinterest board. I’d also encourage you to check out 25 Ways to Bring Happiness Into Your Life and Get Intentional About Bringing Joy Into Your Life
Have you taken anything off your plate because it wasn’t adding joy to your life?
I am a huge reader – I adore books! These have been selected because they look like some of the best books about increasing your happiness and in helping us learn to draw our boundaries and say no (something that is sometimes SO hard to do!)