Slow down, you’re moving too fast

Everyone’s default setting these days is to do more, and more, and work becomes panacea for all things going wrong in our lives.
Slow down, you’re moving too fast

HYDERABAD: There was a time, many moons ago, when I was a doctor, struggling to set up a practice, when I thought that all I wanted in life was to be busy! 30 years later, I sing a different song. But the damage had been done! Busy has not just become a habit, its also something I get taken for granted about.‘Oh we’re having everyone over for dinner tonight, but I guess you’re busy right?’ or ‘Wow! You took time out of your busy schedule to watch a movie?’ Some concerned, some sarcastic, many genuinely surprised statements of my busy-ness come to me everyday.

Too busy to eat, rest, sleep, spend time with family and friends. In fact as George Burns once said, “Too busy to die!!!” Sounds familiar? Well, many of us don’t have a life beyond busy. Being a working person or a homemaker, busy is our mantra and in today’s hyperconnected, uncertain world, being ‘busy’ is like a badge of honour, that dopamine rush that makes it seem that’s all is well in our world and we seek busy-ness all the time.

Everyone’s default setting these days is to do more, and more, and work becomes panacea for all things going wrong in our lives. Little do we realise that work, or rather overwork is the wrong in our lives.
In the 60s, having leisure time was a symbol of being rich and important. Today, however, busy is considered a status symbol and of course, there’s the adrenaline rush and the dopamine gratification of being so busy that you cannot do or think of anything else.

Someone who is addicted to being busy, might feel a compulsive need to fill up their schedules and overfill their itineraries. Such people constantly suffer feelings of FOMO — the fear of missing out.
Here are a few signs of a person addicted to being busy:

  • Your calendar is cluttered.
  • You withdraw from social life.
  • Others notice and mention how busy you are.
  • You get excluded from parties and get togethers because you’re busy.
  • You avoid important events because of your work.
  • You find it hard to slow down.
  • You keep ranting about needing a break, but make no move to plan one.

Wherever you stand in the scheme of life, understand that ‘busy’ is overrated, and that being that ‘busy-ness’ will ultimately hurt your career, your relationships, and your health. Research dictates that building flexibility into your schedule could actually help build your career and business.
Here are some tips on how to ‘un-busy’ yourself:

  • Say no to non-essential things. Learn to delegate.
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Concentrate on self-care.
  • Make time for family, friends, and relationships.
  • Learn that it’s OK to party sometimes without a work tag

Business lunches are okay only sometimes, have lunch with your colleagues and friends and also sometimes alone, it helps you collect your thoughts and give you the much needed break. Understand that ‘busyness’ may lead to exhaustion, increase stress, stress related disorders, decrease creativity, burnout, and over time, decreased self esteem. It may also trigger anxiety, depression, substance abuse and other more serious mental health issues. Pick up a hobby, listen to music, have a good belly laugh, doodle ,do whatever it takes to take short breaks that will help you in the long run.

On the flipside, when we often associate being busy with being frantic, exhausted, on edge, and overburdened. Being busy can also have a few unexpected benefits: Increased energy, more productivitymore creativity, mental alertness and positive feelings of accomplishment.

While all of these sound increasingly optimistic initially, over time, they can all be impediments and reasons for stress and burnout. Being a workaholic myself, being busy is definitely good for our psychological well-being initially. But being conscious of over doing busy, getting addicted to busy and allowing busy to dictate your life leaving no place for love happyness, relationships fun and laughter will certainly go a long way in understanding that while being too busy may sound like it’s extremely important, but its also important to learn the fine art of slowing down and ‘making the morning last’.
— The author is a consultant psychiatrist at Dhrithi Wellness Clinic, Hyderabad

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