The Hidden Downside of Being Hyper-Busy

Published: June 12, 2023
Category: Mental HealthMind/Body Well-Being

Years ago, my hometown of New York City was immortalized in a popular advertising campaign with the moniker, “The City that Never Sleeps.” Living in a perpetually active metropolis, it’s easy to be swept up in turbo-charged energy and unrelenting motion. Newton’s Laws of Motion states that “an object at rest remains at rest, and an object in motion remains in motion.” So how do you downshift to get off the fast lane to take time to rest, rejuvenate, and be still? 

For decades, I prided myself on being an alpha momma, CEO, entrepreneur, loving friend, and active member of many non-profit boards who showed up and participated full throttle. I was in constant motion because I wanted to enjoy all of these worthwhile endeavors. Life is not a dress rehearsal, so I attended all of my sons’ basketball games, created new and exciting Soaringwords initiatives, made meaningful contributions to many civic causes, and also was present for my family and friends. We’re taught that we’re supposed to be able to “have it all.” Yet over-programming our days often comes at the expense of our own serenity and can send us into the dangerous whirlpool of hyper-activity. 


During those days, I grabbed some quiet time in nightly baths when the kids were sound asleep and the computer was powered off. These days, I appreciate the restorative power of snagging eight-hours of sleep each night followed by a dedicated and purposeful self-care ritual that includes 30 minutes of cardio followed by a morning swim. I know what my body needs to allow my energy to settle and my mind to be opened for the day ahead.

Oftentimes, because our society rewards ambition and accomplishment, it’s easy to get pulled into the allure of being busy. While a person can find a healthy balance in a busy schedule, the problem arises when busyness is used as a form of avoidance behavior—a way to distract or distance oneself from a problem, ourselves, or others. Simply put, being busy is a socially-acceptable method to avoiding feeling uncomfortable things or having to face confrontation. Maybe you’ve experienced this phenomenon. Have you ever used busy-bee behaviors as avoidance? This can show up in seemingly small ways, too: “I just need to finish reading my book, empty the dishwasher, write one more proposal, and check my socials.” Feel free to add your own busy-bee behaviors to this list and then ask yourself if there is something you are avoiding. Then take a moment to explore what thoughts, feelings, and emotions would show up in your answer. Finally, ask yourself a really important question: What do you need to do to give yourself self-compassion and support? 

PAUSE is a useful acronym which stands for Postpone Action Until Serenity Emerges. Breathing and being quiet are two simple techniques that can instantly recalibrate our nervous system and help restore us to equanimity. The power is in the pause as you connect to your inner knowingness and the healing power of stillness.

Over the years, I’ve often been a human-doing, piling more things onto my ever-expanding To-Do list than would be humanly possible. Today, I choose to take a pause to leave a little space to savor the experience of being a human-being instead of a worker-bee. Making this shift is a practice that takes time. It’s important to have grace for yourself as you make this shift to welcoming some moments of rest into your busy, active life. Awareness is a healing salve, try it out and see how great it feels.

I’m sending you strength and love.

Soaringwords is the power to heal.


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