Hood Article

Busy being Busy

Are you busy? Really busy…

I am so busy being busy, time is flying away – as the saying goes ‘time flies when you are having fun’. And yes, that is very cool if you are an 8-year-old and out playing with your friends, but not so if you are a mother of two boys, juggling life and work and remember to feed everyone (never mind trying find ‘me’ time).

The fact is I am busy, and I can’t remember the last time I was not busy.

During 2017 I was in New Zealand and a friend shared how overwhelmed she was, and that she had found a book by a local author, Dr Libby Weaver a nutritional biochemist, called ‘Rushing Woman’s Syndrome’ (RWS) which resonated with her, I was intrigued.

Dr Libby says that our generation has new challenges – we can struggle to juggle families, career and the chaos of life which can leave us, and more importantly our stress hormones, in a state of turmoil.

When I first read her book, I instantly dismissed her claim that if you checked your email while on the toilet, you were an acute sufferer of RWS. Surely, this is good time management Dr Libby? Apparently not. She goes even further to say that if our standard reply when asked how we are is ‘busy’, if we don’t sleep enough and make poor food choices, or perhaps warm up in the morning with coffee and wind down at night with wine then we are full on rushing women. Add into this the fact most of us struggle to say no, and try to fit so much into our day (Chair of the Parent Council, go on then…) I can maybe see what she is talking about… Perhaps I could no longer deny my rushing tendencies?

How has this happened? We live in a different world to our mothers. We don’t have an off switch – no more relaxing after the 6 o’clock news for the evening, with work done and the house tidy. Our emails are pinging, we catch up on work whilst trying to make dinner and oversee homework. Our phone is both our social connection, and our work chain. Add in a little smart phone addition and this can be a downward spiral. This busyness phenonemum has crept in unnoticed while we are all so busy trying to have it all. When do we switch off?

While switching off is perhaps not as easy as it sounds, we can start by working out what is going on for us. I actually experience a feeling of ‘rushing’ when I looked out for it. It is like a fluttering in my chest. How long had I had this? Some simple yoga belly breaths slow it down, I just need to remember to be aware of it. This is not in high moments of stress, it can be when I am hanging up the washing with only 2 mins left before I need to leave the house, while remembering the list in my head for the day ahead.

So what is causing us to ‘rush’? Are our expectations too high, of both others and ourselves? Do we act as the CEO of our own homes? We might share the physical load but who does the mental work? What stops us asking for help? Are we worried it looks like we really can’t do it all? Perhaps we are the victims of our own success? If you want a job done quickly ask a busy person…

If this is you, perhaps next time stop before you say yes. Because every time you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else – most likely your chance to switch off and stop rushing.

And next time you ask me how I am, I am going to try my very best to say ‘well, thanks’ and remember that hanging up the washing is not a 100m sprint and then take a big deep breath.