By: Dana Meshil, Clinician
The average person’s daily life has become one where being busy and always having too much on their plate has become the expectation. It’s gotten to a point where most of us feel pressured to say yes to any task, favor, or social plan asked of us and yet constantly feel that we’re not doing enough. If we aren’t juggling multiple projects at once, we judge ourselves as being lazy as opposed to respecting our limits. This fast-paced, nonstop lifestyle has the notion of being productive, but in reality isn’t sustainable and lessens the quality of the things we invest our time and energy towards. When did being overwhelmed become synonymous with success? It’s time to change this falsehood.
The issue with our over-packed schedules is that we’re all scared to say no. We’re worried if we say no to our friends or family that we’ll be hurting their feelings or be letting them down. We’re worried that if we say no to extra responsibilities at work that we won’t seen as team players or it will hurt our chances of career advancement. There’s this internalized pressure to be able to “do it all” and creates this sense of failure when we aren’t able to be superheroes. Let’s stop buying into the idea that more stress equates to greater achievement and learn how to set boundaries and maintain balance.
Children love saying no. it’s the first way we learned how to establish autonomy and assert our independence. Most of us probably had to go through that aggravating journey of accepting that sometimes no isn’t an option. Then our brains further developed and we adopted the idea that saying no is never an option. Not being able to eat candy for every meal isn’t the same as scheduling 3 events in one day on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean we should throw a tantrum when there’s a social engagement we’d rather blow off; it means we should learn how to delegate our responsibilities. If we were meant to handle everything on our own then we would be solitary creatures. It’s okay to say “I don’t have time right now” and it’s okay to ask for help. So let’s ask our inner child to take the reins every now and then and use that adult brain to rationalize why such a choice is necessary for our wellbeing.
Working downtime into our lives is a necessity. Daydreaming and zoning out would not be widely familiar terms if our minds did not require breaks. Rather than working so hard to the point that your brain simply can’t focus during a team meeting, make a point to incorporate nothingness into your day. That doesn’t mean spending every weekend binge watching Netflix. Too much downtime leads to decreased motivation, but too much busy time leads to burnout. The secret is balance, that nonexistent concept in our all-or-nothing American culture. For every exertion period there needs to be a recuperation period. You aren’t actually doing anyone (most of all yourself) a favor when you take on too many things, so let’s start being the ones who are brave enough to say no. We’ll achieve greater satisfaction if we apply our energies towards quality, not quantity.
Let’s Start Actually Listening To Our Bodies