Ep#069 Overcoming Busyness – How To Identify and Heal Our Societal Addiction

We live in a society that glorifies being busy all the time. In our minds, busyness equates with importance and even worse to our self worth. In my coaching work, I have found this compulsion to be “doing, doing doing” the #1 health de-railing habit when it comes to caring for ourselves.

Learn how to identify the difference between addiction to busyness and living a full, active, productive life.

Understand the high price on our health and happiness of living in chronic busyness, what’s underneath and drives the cycle of frantic living, exhaustion and delayed self care and some strategies to heal your body, mind and soul.

Recommened Resources for Mind Body Healing:

Tara Brach
Brene Brown
Louise Hay
Don Miguel Ruiz
Mark Nepo
Gary Zukav

Podcast Transcript

0 (1s):
Welcome to the Soul Science Nutrition Podcast, where you’ll discover that when it comes to your health, you are so much more powerful than you’ve been led to believe. And now your host, she’s a holistic nutrition and lifestyle coach, chef author, and Yogi, Christine Okezie.

Christine Okezie (23s):
Hello, and welcome to the Soul Science Nutrition Podcast. I’m Christine Okezie. Thanks so much for tuning in on today’s special solo show. We’re going to talk about our addiction to busy-ness because at the root of our struggle with taking care of ourselves around food, caring for our health and wellbeing is what I believe to be the number one derailing habit. This addiction to busy-ness think about it. How many times have we heard? I don’t have enough time. I’m exhausted, have nothing left at the end of the day, this chronic overdoing leads to skipped meals, binge eating, emotional, eating, stress, eating an overdependence on convenience foods, a lack of physical activity.

Christine Okezie (1m 7s):
It interferes with our sleep. This compulsion to be doing, doing, doing is what’s responsible for that ever elusive work play- work-life balance. See all the clients I’ve worked with have extremely active lives and contrary to their own self perception. From time to time, they don’t lack willpower or self-discipline absolutely not. As I say, often they get stuff done, but ironically, it’s actually this compulsion about getting stuff done. That’s the source of so much self-sabotage and health derailing behaviors. See, I love this subject because it shines the light of awareness. It shines the light of self honesty on an all too common way.

Christine Okezie (1m 50s):
We’ve been programmed to fill a void in our life. At the end of the day, our addiction to busy-ness is an invitation to care and nourish ourselves at the soul level of our being. Now let’s face it. We live in a society where being busy is a badge of honor a status symbol. Really? How are you? I’m busy. How’s it going? You know, crazy busy as usual insanely busy busy-ness somehow in our minds is equated to importance. And the unspoken deal is that if you’re not busy or not having a crazy busy day, then you must be doing something wrong.

Christine Okezie (2m 31s):
There must be something lacking. Somehow we must be falling short or missing out in some way, but let me share a secret. There’s no accolades, no trophy. You get at the end of your life with something on your tombstone that says, wow, she was really great at being busy. Being busy does not make us happier, healthier, and it doesn’t even make us more productive. And at the core of this common lies, one of the most toxic limiting beliefs being busy is a measure of myself worth well. It’s simply not true. Well, let’s back up.

Christine Okezie (3m 11s):
How can you tell if you are addicted to being busy? Well, let’s go into how you feel. You feel frantic and rushed. Most of the time you feel agitated. Maybe you have trouble relaxing. You get easily bored. When there’s downtime, you feel like you’re constantly cat playing catch up. There’s certainly no time to rest. You have a hard time taking a break or slowing down, living with chronic. Well more chronic exhaustion is the norm. You are ruled, even obsessed with a to-do list. There is constant multitask. The, the opportunity or the ability to do just one, we were staying at a time is something that you just can’t even fathom.

Christine Okezie (3m 58s):
Doesn’t feel comfortable. You might find yourself compulsively checking, social media and email. And when it comes to your schedule, you might find it. You’ve got a heavily jammed pack schedule. There’s absolutely no room for error, no room for any type of change or variability. So when one thing goes wrong, the whole thing travels, maybe there’s a have healthy boundaries on your time. In other words, you have trouble saying no, when you really need to, you’re always he’s in the mindset of like, I just need to do this one more thing, and then I can relax. Then I will eat. Right. One more thing is, in other words, we, you delay self care habitually.

Christine Okezie (4m 38s):
You know, you’re, you’re always last on your to-do list. Maybe you’re not even on your own to-do list. Right. See, one of the things about this addiction to busy-ness is that there’s a two for one here. Most of the time, you know, another toxic kind of limiting belief is this idea that we need to be perfect. In fact, perfectionism, you could say, and addiction to busy-ness are a two for one package in this case, because at the end of the day, they share some very common links. The fuel that’s running is, is fear, all kinds of different fears, right? A fear of letting someone down the fear of disappointing other people, the fear of being judged, the fear of being average, I call it the fear of mediocrity, right?

Christine Okezie (5m 25s):
Which might mean not living up to someone someone’s specific expectations. All right. You might find yourself feeling restless when you’re not proving your own self worth to yourself, even nevermind to others, but your own self-worth unless you’re doing something to help others. Right. And at the end of the day, there’s a longing voice inside asking, okay, is this really all life is about, so how do you know the then between being busy and living a full, active life, a happy, purposeful life. When we go back to, how does it feel?

Christine Okezie (6m 7s):
You feel faxed, calm, mentally clear purpose-driven it feels expansive and open. It feels in flow. And the internal motivation is fueled by creative energy, not fear. Where does this addiction to being busy all the time, come from? So upon reflection, there are probably a few things that I’ve noticed the first at the top of the list is conditioning. Perhaps he grew up in a family where being busy, productive, you know, self-sacrifice, we’re equated with your value, with your acceptance, with your worth.

Christine Okezie (6m 49s):
You learned early on that somehow you were less worthy or perhaps even less lovable. If you weren’t over achieving, maybe you grew up with the constant worry of what will the neighbors think, right? External experiences mattered a lot. Perhaps there was a kind of a scarcity mindset and hustling and bustling was just how you survived. There was the message that life is hard, work harder. It’s a doggy dog world out there. And then finally, perhaps there was a lack of stability. Maybe it was a chaotic household growing up and, and consequently, it’s all you knew. And perhaps you can’t even comprehend really the feeling or the word serenity.

Christine Okezie (7m 35s):
Now at the end of the day, like every compulsive behavior, this addiction to busy-ness is a way for us to fulfill an unmet need, being busy all the time works perfectly as an avoidance strategy. It helps us avoid relationship, conflict, avoid difficult emotions. It keeps us from having to confront those unwanted, you know, health demoting habits. It allows us to naturally gravitate to the parts of our lives, where we feel more competent, more secure. For example, it’s why we might throw ourselves into our jobs, into our volunteer activities, into our parent, you know, kids’ school activities, et cetera, not to mention that living in chronic busy-ness serves as a socially acceptable means of distracting ourselves from all the uncomfortable stuff.

Christine Okezie (8m 29s):
It helps us mask or numb us from memories, thoughts, and feelings that remain unresolved and down deep cause us great pain. Interestingly enough, over busy-ness can be a way to cope with feelings of underlying anxiety. So for instance, there’s no time to feel or think when you’re constantly busy or just doing, doing, doing all the time. I think it’s really fascinating to understand that when I, we use the word addiction to busy-ness, it can mean that quite literally from a physiological standpoint, because the biochemistry of stress in a strange way is actually habit forming.

Christine Okezie (9m 9s):
So we’ve got, in addition to the hormones, adrenaline and noradrenaline stress also releases dopamine a feel good, chemical dopamine encourages repeat behaviors by stimulating their reward center in our brain. And this may be at the heart of many addictive behaviors actually because dopamine therefore is a highly addictive, naturally produced reward drug. And when it’s in the brain, it’s released in the brain, it provides us a burst of short-term enjoyment gratification. And so dopamine in many ways is the underlying main driver. It keeps us in impulse chasing mode in this constant busy-ness.

Christine Okezie (9m 50s):
Now of course, you know, the body gets stuck in the sympathetic nervous system dominance and the stress response takes its high toll on our metabolism. Our immune system gets you hooked and looking for more though, right? Cause like a drug addict, you need a big, a bigger fix all the time. So it creates this vicious cycle. In fact, research on workaholism and adrenaline diction suggest that much like an actual addictive drug adrenaline itself can produce enough pleasurable bodily sensations and create a dependency on that in some, for work persons, the costs of being addicted to busy-ness are quite high because we’re not engaged with life.

Christine Okezie (10m 36s):
We’re not able to show up and be present. We’re not able to live on point with intention. We kind of walk through life in a trance and life becomes just a series of becoming preoccupied with tasks. Busy-ness distracts us from having to deal with important life.

2 (10m 57s):
For example,

Christine Okezie (10m 59s):
Am I happy in my relationship? Am I being present with my family? Am I in the right career? Am I living a life that is true to who I am busy-ness is an obstacle to self-awareness and self-understanding, it keeps us from being the curious observers of life that we need to be this addiction to busy-ness is at the root of our epidemic of living a disembodied life. When we’re disconnected from our bodies, all the messages that it has for us around what our bodies need to feel well balanced, nourished.

Christine Okezie (11m 39s):
We tend to ignore those symptoms for an indefinite amount of time. So the fatigue, the headache, the insomnia, the low libido, the joint pain, the digestive problems can go unnoticed. And over time we develop an acute or a health crisis inflammation, cardiovascular disease, brain health, compromised immune function. And of course all the other compulsive behaviors that go with this addiction to busy-ness as mentioned before, as coping mechanisms, you know, whether that’s emotional, eating, binge eating, drinking, internet addiction, very likely as well, being busy.

Christine Okezie (12m 24s):
You know, we lose time. Days turned into weeks, turn into months and years, and it’s just these feelings of guilt and Discontentment that regret. And they will build up over time. Certainly, you know, being addicted to our busy, busy lives hurts relationships. We might not notice family and friends pulling away living in our busy thinking minds cuts us off from our intuition, from our wisdom. That’s deep in our hearts. Our energy stay stuck in our survival mode and our lower energy centers. And it keeps us, you know, cut off from our heart, from our higher wisdom.

Christine Okezie (13m 5s):
It distracts us from learning about ourselves. It inhibits growth personally and spiritually because when we’re busy, busy, busy, we go about living without purpose, without meaning. And without the intelligence of love itself, we live on autopilot. We’re literally doing things, but our heart is not in it. Okay. So how do we break this addiction to chronic busy-ness first? I think we need to understand and take in the knowing. And once again, that being busy is not tied to self-worth again, it’s one of those most toxic limiting beliefs out there. It’s just not true.

Christine Okezie (13m 46s):
I like to say you are worthy just for breathing period. So you want to notice the signs, take inventory of any of the behaviors that you know, I shared with you earlier resonate, and perhaps you want to begin to eliminate the activities that put you into overwhelm into that frantic state. And this goes to looking at your schedule, you know, are you over-scheduling yourself? Is your to-do list realistic? Is it, you know, overly exhaustive? Can we cut out the non-essential activities in your day to day?

Christine Okezie (14m 27s):
And in order to do this, we start with maybe an inquiry. Does this activity support? What most matters to me is this worth my time and energy are my choices nourishing my soul, or are they are means of trying to escape difficult emotions and ultimately depleting my inner what’s the worst thing that can happen if I let this go right now, these are important questions that we can use as we look at how we dedicate our time, our emotional energy and our time to the activities.

Christine Okezie (15m 7s):
In the course of our day, I love to invite clients to add in what I call reset breaks throughout the day. Perhaps even in the beginning, set an alarm on your phone to chime every hour or so, just as a way to kind of mindfully pause, take a few deep breaths, feel your body, literally check in just like you would on a good friend or someone you were caring for. You know, notice have you been sitting too long? How does your back feel? Maybe you can relax your shoulders, stretch your legs. Do you need to drink some water? Can we tune into, you know, some hunger signals that might be happening, those reset breaks during the day are ways for you to again, you know, get out of the busy thinking, thinking, thinking, and look for those ways to that we can interrupt and build in some healthy check-ins.

Christine Okezie (16m 2s):
As I like to say, another practice might be to practice eating mindfully. If not every single meal, perhaps start with one meal, you know, I gree make an agreement with yourself, not to multitask. Let’s say, you know, during breakfast or during lunch along these lines, I like to practice every day. Mindfulness. So even just the mundane, you know, before you turn on the computer and check email, can you just take a little pause, you know, sit for a minute, just breathe, check in, get intentional, you know, maybe you’re doing the dishes or unloading the dishwasher. Can you be present with yourself?

Christine Okezie (16m 44s):
Can you not find yourself? You know, following your mind, bring your awareness back to, you know, what’s going on in your body. How does your back feel? How does your stomach feel, right? What’s your energy level? What are the thoughts that are going through your mind? The more that we can practice becoming a curious observer in just the mundane, the important work of, you know, becoming present gets done sometimes just in the, in the simple day-to-day tasks. And of course, I believe, you know, one of the most powerful ways to interrupt autopilot living and chronic, you know, doing, doing, doing is to create a healthy morning routine because nothing says more that you value your time, that you value where you put your energy intention than when you show up for yourself on a fairly consistent basis every morning, to make time to reflect, to sit and connect with the moment and the liveliness that’s right here, you might create a healthy morning routine.

Christine Okezie (17m 47s):
That includes some self-reflection journaling. You know, it doesn’t have to be anything complicated. Maybe it’s just, you know, writing about what stressed you out and then forgive yourself, right. Offer some kind supportive words, and then maybe write about what you do feel grateful for. What brings you joy that brought you joy? I love suggesting inspirational videos. You know, Ted talks, there’s a fantastic website or YouTube channel called green Renaissance. You can listen in on, you know, podcasts or YouTube videos. Some of my favorite teachers and inspirational teachers who, who work with this embodied approach to our health, our personal and spiritual wellbeing, Tara Brock, certainly, you know, Bernay brown and Louise hay.

Christine Okezie (18m 39s):
I love Don Miguel Ruiz. I love listening to podcasts by sod guru. You’ve got the poetry of mark NIPPO the, all the books and programs with Gary Zukav. So, you know, at the end of the day, right, we, we have responsibilities. Everybody has deadlines and projects, people counting on us. You know, we’re all cooking meals needing to clean our homes, take care of our loved ones. I think the core message here is we need to remember that busy-ness is a choice we can consciously commit to staying mentally calm, prioritize, caring for our inner lives.

Christine Okezie (19m 23s):
Busy-ness is a state of being that you can choose not to live in. In fact, you know, busy became a four letter word for me quite some time ago and kind of like how I left behind another four letter word, you know, that starts with D and ends with T when it comes to our eating. But, you know, I like to replace it with the word active. So instead of, Hey, how you doing instead of the automatic, oh, I’m really busy today or I’m so busy if he goes, well, I’m really having an active day or I’ve got an active week ahead of me. Right? Just notice how, just that simple change in semantics really kind of neutralizes any of that disempowerment because it puts you in choice, right?

Christine Okezie (20m 10s):
There’s just a feeling of more agency and purposefulness, give it a try. I’m really having an active day. I’ve got a very active week ahead of me. Just try it on and see how it feels. So I think I’ll close with a couple inspirational quotes or mantras that I found to be useful. And the first one of course is from one of my favorite teachers, my Angelou, she says, you alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody you alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody along those lines. I like to offer this personal mantra.

Christine Okezie (20m 52s):
I do enough. I have enough. I am enough. So I hope that’s been helpful. My friends, thanks for listening and bye for now.

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