I’m officially out of gas. As in exhausted. Burned out. In desperate need of refueling.
This weekend is the first in three that I’m home and not boarding a plane or packing a suitcase. Granted, my escapes were all for pleasure, but I couldn’t be more grateful than to just stay home today. And tomorrow. And Sunday. Maybe Monday I’ll venture out. Maybe not.
I adore a comfort zone every now and then and am thriving in mine right now, so if there was a “dislike” button for the above, I’d use it. It kinda goes hand-in-hand with something I read on one of those flights I mentioned above, which I both agree and disagree with. The magazine article pull-quote read: “According to a study by Cornell University, investing in travelling makes us happier than acquiring physical objects. The reason: routine is one of the great enemies of happiness.” Yes, perhaps but also N to the N-O!
I have been cuh-raving my routine. I’m a nester and the great enemy of my happiness is too much chaos and too much commotion. Of course a travel magazine is going to encourage travel right? Another magazine article I read however was all about boycotting busyness. I’m on board that train, wherever it’s going!
Why oh why is being busy considered such a noble thing anyway?
The New “B” Word: Busyness
As Phil Ressler of “Greater Things Today” writes, “we wear busyness as a badge of honor.” Porque pray tell? Maybe it’s because it seems like everyone else is busy so if you’re not busy, you must be either untalented, lacking friends, or just plain lazy. But, busyness is not always good and surprise, it doesn’t always translate into effectiveness. In fact, being too busy all the time leads to only one thing: burn out.
“Most people are so busy knocking themselves out trying to do everything they think they should, they never get around to do what they want to do.” Kathleen Winsor
In our struggle to appear busy and therefore “important,” we end up spending lots of time on things that don’t really matter. Or, we stuff our lives with things we do enjoy but end up feeling overwhelmed, overscheduled, and end up not enjoying what we thought we would. In this sense, we might be busy doing things we love, but the fact that we never slow down and calm down is still not good.
Even more alarming, as Jennifer Boykin recently blogged, is that why our schedules are so full is as critical as the fact that they are full. Sometimes busyness is unavoidable, but sometimes we fill our days with things because we are running from something we don’t want to emotionally address. We tell ourselves, “If I stay busy I won’t have time for that issue,” but what we are avoiding will ultimately catch up with us.
It’s a fact of life that corporate America (and the world for that matter) travels for work, but I’ve never been one to be impressed with the constant talk of business travel, frequent flyer miles, and all the global glam they get to see in between meetings and presentations. It’s almost like I feel more sorry for them then envy. Same goes for those constantly scheduling dinners and get-togethers. If my get-togethers this weekend consist of me, Smitty, and Boomer watching The Masters and going to mass, I’m okay with that.
This societal insecurity of feeling most validated only when we’re depleted is also making its way into the lives of our teens.
A recent study by the American Psychological Association revealed that teens reported higher stress levels than adults and about one-third of them feel overwhelmed. Kids are apparently modeling their parents; parents who are too busy for their own business and are not handling their stress well. Cue the craziness.
It seems for kids and adults alike “downtime” has turned into a bad word. Social media is partly to blame, as we feel the need to always be “on” and “up” on various sites but we also need to look directly in the mirror and learn to be okay with being still. Just. Be. Still.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel, I love to learn new things, and I love checking something off any one of my numerous “to do” lists, but I also love to be in my home and chill. I’m comfortable alone and okay with not attending every event. We all should be. It’s important to tell yourself you don’t have to do it all. Before agreeing to go somewhere or commit to something, ask yourself “will this enhance my life or complicate it?” And be honest. Even if the outing is something that seems pleasurable, the scheduling of it might not be.
Instead make a concerted effort to make more time to rest, relax, and refuel. For some that might mean working out, for others it might be curling up with a good book. Whatever works for you, do it. Only you will know if it calms you or stresses you.
I keep a book titled “Positive Quotes for Every Day” on my desk. I try to read it every day but haven’t had time (ugh!) to do so of late. So, before writing this very blog I picked it up and read today’s entry. Amazingly today’s positive quote for me is:
Sounds like a good idea.