Do you take pride in pushing through your fatigue? Are you a warrior, ambitious in your career, super mom or dad, doing it all until you are on the brink of collapse? Does your body eventually say, "I can't keep up this pace!" and shut you down by getting sick? Do you frequently answer the question of how you are doing with "really busy"?
Perhaps you are used to this way of life. It feels good to be productive and the busyness hides the loneliness, sadness, longing for something or someone else. Maybe it camouflages a lack of confidence or a sense of not being enough. Yet, you wonder if you can sustain this lifestyle and if there is another way?
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Being chronically tired and super busy have almost become a status symbol. Those qualities are not healthy and they are poor role modeling for your children, and it is possible to change and live a different way! I know, I have done it!
I am a reformed workaholic and busyness addict! I am not either one anymore; in fact that lifestyle repulses me now! I can't go back! So if you long to feel rested, vibrant and have free time to just do nothing or anything, then here is a list of ways to move away from your impending collapse:
- Become aware. Awareness is the first step to any change. Become aware of your health, how you cope and what drives you.
- Take some baby steps. Go to bed an hour early just one night. Decline an invitation to go out and stay home and relax instead.
- Do something that you have been craving or needing. If you long for a massage but never take time for one, make an appointment. If you want to go to a hot springs or spa and soak in mineral waters for hours, go do it.
- Take inventory. List all the things you are involved in: clubs, organizations and other obligations. Begin to create an exit strategy for any that are not really, really important or meaningful to you anymore.
- Practice being early to all you appointments. Being early allows you to drive slowly and safely, and it lessens the tension of always being a bit late.
- Create white space in your calendar. Begin to view white space in a positive light and make it sacred. Eventually, you will go crazy without it!
- Wear fewer hats. Stop trying to do it all and multi-tasking. Ask for help. Narrow your focus.
- Dedicate yourself to more sleep and rest. Make it a priority. Avoid caffeine and other mechanisms that combat fatigue and instead add an hour to each night's sleep.
- Let go of the guilt. It is a good thing to take care of yourself. Dropping dead of a heart attack is not a gift or positive legacy to your family and friends.
- Downsize and simplify. It might be time to move to a smaller home, get rid of some stuff and reduce your stress of taking care of more than you can handle effectively.
- Say "no" more often. Believe it or not, people will actually respect you for taking a stand for your health, sanity and purpose, as well as being honest.
- Stop buying into social pressure. The culture of value based on busyness and long work hours is old world. You can make a contribution to your work, family and community with good health and balance. Life can be more fulfilling when you slow down and soak in each day.
- Schedule playtime. Remember to play and be playful. Plan an activity that is fun for you.
- Get support from family and friends. Let others know you are making some changes and why. Ask for the help. They might want to do the same things you are doing or lend you a hand so you do not have to do everything yourself.
I took all these steps and have reformed myself. I wake up refreshed and rested each morning, feel great, enjoy free time, white space in my calendar, and I love my life! If I can do it, so can you! Begin today!
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