Are you too busy to be yourself?

Life too fast

The speed of life for most Americans is fast. And the word fast doesn’t even begin to explain it. I have heard it called Hurry Sickness, and that is a good way of putting it. It has become the norm for so many people that even though they are stressed and overwhelmed at how their life is going, they don’t even know how to begin to change it.

hide behind a mask, depressionA great place to hide

One negative side effect of this Hurry Sickness is that it is a great opportunity to hide behind the busyness. You don’t take (or make) the time to examine your life. You tend to run on autopilot, going through the motions, not really determining if you are doing the important things in life. I addressed this a bit in the priorities posts.

Another thing we hide from is our feelings. With all the “noise” in our lives, it is easy to ignore them. Many of us don’t want to address our feelings anyway, and subconsciously we use our busyness as a justification to avoid them.

We are moving so fast, so busy, juggling so many things with our career, our family, their activities, our activities, our home responsibilities, that our feelings and emotions don’t have a chance to be heard. And we get used to this busyness and stuffing our feelings, until it has become our norm, our way of life.

A train wreck just waiting to happen!

That is what happened to me last year as I was working 80+ hours a week. Plus, I allowed my job to take up way too much mental energy as well, and thought about it for most of my hours awake, and I even dreamed about work! I didn’t want to feel the feelings of stress and overwhelm that were chasing me, the depression and anxiety that were haunting me, so the busier I was the better.

You see, I was miserable in my job and how I had let it take over my life. I was frustrated that the company required so much from us. I was angry and frustrated at dealing with my mentally handicapped brother who was defiantly refusing my help and guidance, but wanted me to be there to help bail him out of trouble when he screwed things up. I was not dealing well with my kids preparing to leave home, leaving hubby and I with an empty nest after 30 years. I physically was wearing myself at as well.

I didn’t know what I could do to solve the issues that were making me miserable, so I just kept going full steam so I was too tired to even think about them. This is what many of my readers are doing as well. Or, if you aren’t at that point, you probably know someone who is.

My solution was not the best one. I had a breakdown and came to a complete stop. I hope that you are not on your way there. I hope and pray that you can see where you are headed and use this journey to help create a better life for yourself.

The first step is that you learn to just BE. You may not even know how to do that at this point.

6 steps to learn to be with yourselfmeditate pray stress

  1. Turn off all electronics, including music at this point
  2. Sit someplace where you won’t be disturbed. Aim for at least 15 minutes a day.
  3. Have a journal or notebook and pen handy.
  4. Close your eyes, and focus on breathing, slowly and deeply, in and out.
  5. Take a few minutes to pray to center yourself and to calm your mind
  6. Think about the things in your life that aren’t working well for you. Begin to write what you are feeling. There are no right or wrong things to write. Just let your feelings and thoughts flow onto the paper.*

*If you don’t feel you are a writer, you can still do this exercise, just allow yourself to feel, that is the most important thing!

I encourage you to do this exercise today, as soon as possible. Come back, if you’d like and share what you found in the comments. If you feel it too personal, please feel free to send me an email at bernicemwood @ gmail dot com. Just know this is not a one-time exercise. This is something you need to allow yourself to do on a regular basis, daily if possible!

My goal is to reach and help as many people as possible with the 8 week Journey to Balance. Please share by clicking the buttons below to share by email, twitter, facebook, etc. Thank you for helping to spread the word!

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29 comments to Are you too busy to be yourself?

  • ram

    dear and divine… wisdom post… thank you

    Breath is truth….like God…
    neither attached nor dettached….
    breath in… love….
    breath out…. happiness….
    true ends of life…..

    every breath invaluable…
    earns… invaluable happiness
    learn = l earn = love earn
    happiness of body..mind..soul..spirit.

    right hand …body
    left hand ….soul
    bring them together…
    mirror of God…

    minimum for 3 minutes
    like prayers…..
    balance of mind……
    mind to no mind…
    life = dance of zero
    love all…
    so simple
    ram recently posted..God garland of dance 466My Profile

  • Over the past, I don’t know, 10 years or so, I have felt like I’ve really lost touch with who I am. I used to be so creative and now some of that doesn’t interest me, at least not in the way it has in the past. My life doesn’t have the focus or balance that I think it should have. I followed your exercise and sat quietly and thought about what’s not working asked God what he wanted from me.

    The word “TEACH” came. This word has come to me in the past and there have been things I’ve taught. I used to teach Lamaze classes. I’ve taught basket weaving and craft classes. For years and currently I’ve taught children religion.

    So then I sat and asked who I’m to teach and what I’m to teach. “Family and others” was the response I felt although it came to me in more words than this.

    I don’t know how this is all going to play out and I’ve put it in God’s hands to guide me. The phrase that came to me most clearly over all is “You know enough.” I’m thinking that means I know enough to get started.

    I do want to clarify that I’ve been doing an exercise similar to this since before Christmas so this was not the first day. I’ve heard of many people picking a ‘word of the year’ to focus on so I’ve been placing on my heart to be open as to where God wants to lead me in 2011. The word, teach, has been nagging at me for some time. I found it interesting that I really felt comforted by the phrase ‘you know enough’. It was almost like a warm blanket came over me.

    I can potentially see how teaching can bring balance into my life. I can potentially see that perhaps it will respark my creativity. Guess time will tell how this will all play out, and I’m going to be open to opportunities to teach and keep it in the forefront of my mind.

    Thanks for the steps to the exercise. It made me really sit quietly for a time and really listen to what was being spoken to me.
    Have a blessed day.
    Nancy recently posted..A Good Morning Recipe for SuccessMy Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    This is so awesome! I am glad you got some direction, even if you are not exactly sure where it will lead yet. I know I feel as if I am supposed to be moving forward, but yet I don’t think I am ready, but I feel the hand of God nudging me along, whispering in my ear, “you can do this. I am with you.”
    I love to teach too and miss that part of my recent career!
    Thank you for participating!

  • What a great post!
    I try hard to find balance and take time to be myself, but I do get too busy too often to practice it. I lit when I get stressed out and overwhelmed by life.

    Visiting from SITs.
    Bibi recently posted..Weekly Dinner Menu – January 17My Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    Ahh, but that is when it is most important! A catch 22, eh?
    Thanks for coming by, come back again soon!

  • You know when you’re dreaming about work that something’s out of whack! I too have had those terrible work dreams, trapped doing my tasks in my sleeping life as well as my waking life!

    Then slowly I was able to change my cycle. I cut back, I dropped side businesses, I focused on my priorities (often still pulling in 60 and 80 hour weeks but with many of those hours geared towards becoming self-employed with my websites). Now I’ve done it and it’s taking time to cut back to a normal level of work. I’m working for myself but I’ve still be driving myself too hard!

    Lately I’ve cut back tremendously, not going over 40 hours a week and giving myself weekends off no matter what. Ahhh. Life is more sane now.

    I have to ask, are you still working that intensely or have you cut back from your 80 hours now Bernice?

    Tanja from Minimalist Packrat recently posted..The Minimalist Packrat Guide to Dealing with Other Peoples ClutterMy Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    Very good for you Tanja, that you have been able to decrease the hours worked. Plus you are helping to take of your mother-in-law too, right?
    I did leave that job, on medical leave and have not been able to go back. Sends me into a panic mode if I even think about it. I am hoping I am developing my new career right here!
    Really enjoying your blog!

  • Amy

    So true! It is my heart cry to help people honor themselves by not hiding behind the busyness of life. Love. This.
    Amy recently posted..For the Good Girl- Grace for Me as it turns outMy Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    Very good way of putting it. if we don’t honor or respect ourself, or feel we have value, we won’t take care of ourself. Hmmm, I feel another post coming on!
    Thanks so much for coming by!

  • Bernice,

    I totally agree with “being to busy” to even think about our problems. Until recently, that was me too. The real issue here is that the problems don’t go away, the perpetuate and snowball and eventually become much bigger than they originally were.

    Take care,

    Joshua Millburn
    Joshua | The Minimalists recently posted..CONSCIOUS FREEDOM- A Welcome Message to New Readers- Friends- and Aspiring MinimalistsMy Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    That is so true Joshua. And sometimes they will snowball into an avalanche that will take massage time and energy to recover from! Better to learn to listen to our “self” and help it be healthy!
    Thanks for coming by, can’t wait for the rest of the series!

  • I heart those 6 steps. Tonight – a candle, Laska the love kitty, a pad, a pen, and I know it’ll be sweet. Thank you.

    And regardless of what I said before – maybe I’ll bring the black dress to Blissdom :)


    looking forward to meeting you

    bernicewood Reply:

    Glad this moved you. Hope your time with yourself was good. Can’t wait to meet you too!

  • Oh boy is it easy to get too busy to be yourself. Great post. Really like your #4 tip. I have found breath work to be a great asset.

    Lana recently posted..How to Set SMART GoalsMy Profile

    bernicewood Reply:

    Since I have been working to be more balanced, I find that I can calm myself more easily and quickly with just deep breathing. It seems you can train your body inot calming down just by deep breaths in and out.
    Thanks for coming by!

  • i really like the idea of the post , that fast pace of life lets us forget about many important things
    thank you:)

  • A great saying I heard recently suggests, “don’t just do something, sit there!” I think of this when I find myself too wrapped up in busyness, expectations, goals- whatever is keeping me from enjoying my day.
    Chrysta Bairre recently posted..Want change? Try acceptance.My Profile

  • So very very true. Your six steps are simple and can reenergize someone to a whole new level. I had a therapeutic massage this weekend and was refreshed with simple peppermint oil aromatherapy at the end. A $4.50 bottle of oil that you rub a few drops on your hands and breathe in deeply – it is a total prescription for thoughtlessness and would be a nice touch to your 6 steps!


  • Rafe

    What has worked for family and friends was actually scheduling in thir date-books and calendars time for sleep, lunch, doing laundry, getting groceries, gym, shower, etc. In other words, personal (not work related) stuff.

    Also “chore day” moved to wednesday. EVERY chore/errand/etc. has to be done on wednesday. That way when the weekend came around they had nothing to do; it was all done midweek. What ended up happening was some started writing, painting, gardening, or photography again; something they got too busy to do or enjoy.

    By having a wall between corporate/hive-mind and Me-mind they reasserted their reason for living; not as another drone helping stocks rise by a fraction or as a mere consumer (Vs. Citizen of a community), but to achieve soul-level, radiant happiness.


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