Is stress a status symbol?

The Graceful Collective Stress Status Symbol

I’m Lucy ‘So Busy’ Allen and I’m a recovering Stress-aholic. God that feels good.

For as long as I can remember, being busy and being stressed has been my natural state-of-play. Right back to my school days I’d race from choir practice to netball, debating to theatre sports, piano lesson to Japanese drumming never mind… the point is, I was stretched. And it was a rush.

This pattern of jam-packing my days with people, appointments and deadlines has followed me into adulthood and proven a hard cycle to break. You see, keeping yourself busy, and in a constant state of stress, affirms many personal ideals we wish to be true:

I’m so busy = I’m in demand.

I’m so busy = I’m needed.

I’m so busy = I’m a part of something.

I’m so busy = I’m irreplaceable.

I’m so busy = I’m worthy.

I’m so busy = I’m successful.

Not only does it help affirm these for ourselves but we often activate the ‘busy card’ with the hope that it will affirm these thoughts about ourselves with others. “Wow, Lucy is so busy, she must be awesome at her job.” Damn right.

But let me tell you, busy is not always best. My liver’s busy after a big Saturday night and that aint a good thing. Being busy to the point of tearing your hair out can really mess with the way you think, feel and act.

So why exactly does busy-ness and stress suck?

It can severely impact your health

Stress is the result of a perceived or a real threat and your body reacts in the same way regardless. Hold up, let me dissect that for you. Whether you’re being chased down the street by a knife-wielding karate kid or you’re stuck in traffic running late for work, your body knows no difference, only that it’s stressed and an appropriate reaction is required. For many, this can mean headaches, tummy pains, exhaustion, sleep problems and zip zero interest in sex. Ah yep, no thanks.

You lose sight of the big picture

When we’re really busy and stressed out, our focus can become muddled. You know that feeling of ‘I’ve got so much to do that I don’t know what I’ve got to do?’ Awful. We’re unable to take a step back and see the bigger picture and as a result we can say goodbye to prioritising effectively, changing direction if we need to and rationalising with what we have to do.

There’s no room for spontaneity

Often the best things are those that are unplanned! But with back-to-back commitments and a To Do list longer than Mariah Carey’s tour rider, there’s no time to be spontaneous and live in the moment. Not only does that restrict fun and happiness but it closes us off from new people, new ideas and new opportunities.

The enjoyment is zapped out

Don’t get me wrong, when the adrenaline kicks in after spending the day like a blue ass fly it can feel good. Really good. But when this busy-ness is done day in and day out it can take a serious toll and the things you once enjoyed may no longer seem fun. Leaving space in your days will allow you greater focus, enjoyment and sense of achievement

So, from one busybody to another, let’s rethink this whole ‘I’m so busy’ status and invest this energy into how we’re feeling and what we’re actually doing. Let’s stop telling people how busy we are, cramming our days to the point of implosion and sweating the small stuff… the rest will sort itself out.

Are you craving more balance and calm in your life? You’ve stretched yourself to the limit for too long and you’re not sure how much more you can take? I’d love to have a complimentary chat to see how you can continue chasing your big beautiful dreams without risking a mental breakdown…srsly.

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