Are you at breaking point? Stop.
Are you flustered, busy and feel like the world is spinning too fast and it's making you spin with it? Stop. Get off the merry-go-round.
Are you breathing fast and feeling anxious? Stop.
It's time to slow life down.
But you say you can't?
Yes. You can.
The world carries on without you being 'super person'.
You have to stop. You need to.
What if I don't?
"It took a breakdown last year to get some help. Breathe and enjoy life more. Sit and drink that cuppa till it's finished, while it's still warm. Learn to say NO if you can't stretch anymore." – Claire
"Chronic fatigue opened my eyes to this. Now I take a lot more time for myself. And I like it!" – Virginia
"Stop while you still can or one day, like me, your body may say, 'I'm not doing this anymore!' And recovery from burnout takes a loooong time." – Mark
"After many years of constant stress and busyness (that I thought was normal), I began to slow down. Adrenal fatigue got me. My adrenaline supplies were depleted and I no longer had enough to draw on. It has taken a long time to recover, but it's happening slowly." – Bianca*
"In hindsight, I would say that work became an obsession. I became so obsessed with being productive that I used every moment thinking, planning or being a visionary for my work. You may have thought of me as an awesome multitasking genius, but I was wholly trapped inside the 'too busy' cycle." – Karen*
A subscription you do not need
Don't subscribe to the idea that we NEED to and SHOULD be busy. It's a lie that robs you of life, joy and real relationships.
The world seems to project the message that being busy is necessary and a sign of your success. This may even be true, but being constantly overworked and overwhelmed is detrimental. We can only take so much before the body and brain starts to back out on our behalf and we begin to run in survival mode. This could present as panic, fatigue, confusion and/or breakdown.
Is your mind constantly looking for 'something'? Do you breathe fast and feel a sense of unexplained urgency? Is there constantly a feeling of things being unfinished? Feeling tired, sick and unhappy? Is your current life becoming unsustainable? Are you or the people you love starting to suffer in some way?
"Beware the barrenness of a busy life." – Socrates
My busy buzz
I had patches of time during my 11 years as a single mum where I was working myself into the ground. At one point I was working three jobs and then showed up at the doctor's surgery asking questions. After blood tests revealed I was under stress, the doctor's response was to question whether I thought I could maintain what I was doing. I knew I couldn't, but I thought I wouldn't survive financially. Something had to give and I had to be the priority in my prevention and recovery plan. I began to cut back on my financial outgoings and made changes to my life so that two jobs and then eventually one job was enough.
But that was only the beginning of my journey of getting off the merry-go-round. I still experienced breaking point a couple of times a year. It was a love/hate relationship with the 'busy buzz'.
Thankfully I had some wise counsel in 2009 and 2011, and over the next few years, I started to get it. I wrote an action plan that identified my stressor signs that the merry-go-round was going too fast and my need to alight, and also the prevention and recovery plan. But it was a deeper issue than that.
Why are you busy? Have you analysed whether you need to be as busy as you are? These are the questions we fail to ask ourselves.
My journey had to include questions.
Do I really believe that God can supply me with everything I need like He promises?
What are you striving for Belinda?
Quitting stress and busyness
It is really hard to begin with. It can take years to get your head around. Give yourself permission and start today.
When I first started to make changes, I would go into depression. I realised that my life was all about keeping the adrenaline buzz going. I started questioning my value and worth. I got bored, so I had to get creative. I had to learn things about myself (confronting) and about God.
Sabbath, rest, recovery, recuperation – whatever you need to do
Philippians 4 is a great chapter in the Bible.
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Verse 6)
"My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Verse 19).
A 'Sabbath' is a moment in time, be it a day or a constant state of mind. There is a greater truth than just taking one day to slow down, turn off the phone and do no work. If you were to do this and then proceed to wallop yourself for the other six days, then perhaps one day off is not as beneficial as you would desire. And it is possible you are only doing it for religious reasons, with the mindset that 'God requires this of me' (more work). It is wise to have a day of rest, but it is not the only way to recuperate from your overwhelming lifestyle.
"The Sabbath was made for human benefit, not because God's holiness needed it. In the old covenant, a specific time was required for work, and a specific time required for rest. But in the new covenant, the basis of our relationship with God is faith, not a specific time. Time is still necessary, but the new agreement that God has given us specifies neither day nor frequency nor length of time." (www.gci.org/law)
And this in its entirety points to the heart and the things most important to you and to God. Does God even want you running yourself ragged for Him? Does He really need you to do that? You don't always have to 'push through', 'push on' and 'rise above'. Because sometimes, you just can't and it's not good for you.
It's time to make some changes.
(*names have been changed for privacy.)
Belinda Croft has been writing for Press Service International since 2010. She lives in Melbourne with her husband Russell and their three children. Her passion for understanding the things of God in simple ways, social justice and news issues influence her writing style.
Belinda Croft's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/belinda-croft.html