I’ve got a confession to make. I’m addicted to being busy. Like most “busy-holics” I’ve been guilty of keep a frenetic and unsustainable pace in life at the expense of my health and my happiness (and often at the expense of my loved ones as well). Still, I often wear busyness like a badge of honor even while it creates stress, sleepless nights and strained relationships.
This is an area of my life where I’ve been working to improve, and I’ve made some improvements which I wrote about in my popular post on 5 keys to living a focused life. But I have a long way to go. I was reminded of this yesterday when I officiated the funeral for a young, seemingly-healthy guy (about my own age) who died instantly and unexpectedly from an apparent heart attack. Moments like that cause all of us to reevaluate our own lives and determine where we need to make improvements.
I’ve realized I’m too busy and need to make some changes. Take a look at this simple test below and if you can relate to one or more of these indicators, I’d say you’re too busy too. Take immediate action to bring more balance and rest into your life. It will benefit your health, your happiness and your loved ones too.
1. You have your cell phone within arm’s reach all day, everyday.
This one is a constant struggle for me. I unlock my phone every few minutes just to recheck my email, respond to text messages, scroll through social media feeds and stay “connected,” but all of that connection takes a huge mental and emotional toll. I’m trying to implement more “digital detox” by attempting at least one full day per week completely disconnected (a “Cell Phone Sabbath“) which, when I stick to it, does wonders to help me refocus and recharge.
2. You’re restless and “fidgety” even when you’re supposed to be relaxing.
Does your mind keep spinning even when the lights are off and you’re laying in bed trying to fall asleep? Do you obsessively check your phone even when you’re not at work? When someone has taken on an unhealthy pace that’s too busy, they find it nearly impossible to truly rest. Relaxation feels unnatural and they fight against it even though they desperately need it. If you can’t sit still for any length of time without reaching for your phone, laptop or anything else, then you’re too busy.I’m not judging you, because I’ve been there. If you’re caught in this trap, I’d encourage you to schedule relaxing activities (like a massage or time to just go for a walk) regularly and take an extended vacation when you can. Also, get a full 8 hours of sleep at night as often as you can and take a full day off from ALL work at least once per week.
3. You resent, judge or look down on people who don’t seem as busy and stressed as you are.
When you’re caught in the busy trap, one telltale sign is that you’ll start resenting people whom you don’t perceive to be as hardworking or busy as you are. You’ll subconsciously develop a kind of martyr syndrome where you feel it’s your duty to carry this huge weight. I see a lot of people in Christian ministry develop this martyr mentality even though Jesus said, “Come to me all who carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest.”
I heard a pastor named Perry Noble say that when he got into this busyness trap, his counselor told him, “The Bible says those who won’t work are lazy, but it also says those who won’t rest are disobedient.” Give yourself permission to rest. Rest is just as holy as work.
4. You skimmed this blog post for the “main points” because you’re too busy to read all the text in between.
Okay, this one doesn’t actually mean you’re too busy. It’s just my way of getting you to read the whole thing! I hope you’ll take some of these principles to heart, and like I’m trying to do, you’ll make rest more of a priority and you’ll embrace life and work at a healthy pace. If you’re feeling overwhelmed right now and you don’t know where to start, check out my post on Encouragement for the Exhausted.
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