Are You Doing Too Little?
We tend to feel overwhelmed by all we have to do in a day.
Is it, however, possible that part of your stress comes from doing too little?
Ludicrous you say! Read on.
Too Tired to Do Anything More?
One of the signs of excess stress or burnout is that we lose interest in the things that we normally enjoy. When we are stressed or anxious, the muscles in our bodies tense up and this can cause uncomfortable bodily feelings like headaches, backaches, or tightness in the chest. This leaves us feeling tired so we just can’t be bothered to do those things “we used to do when we had more time.” These are those very things that energized and mentally relaxed us.
When you feel stressed you can’t be bothered doing things. This can happen especially when we feel overwhelmed by things to do. A project is behind schedule. A proposal is due. There are conflicts within your team. It just keeps piling up.
Often, when stressed, people first give up the things that give them pleasure such as their hobbies, exercise and active relaxation such as being out with friends and families doing something in the community. Instead they plunk down in front of the TV or computer and fritter the hours away in inactivity.
Dangers of Inactivity
The dangers of physical inactivity are well documented. We need to consider the dangers of being under stimulated or mentally inactive when not dealing with our “have to’s.” Being underactive can act to increase or prolong the feelings of stress.
What Have You Given Up?
What do you enjoy doing that you would be doing if you weren’t so busy and so tired? I know for me when I get overwhelmed I tend to give up my walks and my woodworking. The very things that relieve that feeling of overwhelm and provide me with relaxation and inspiration as well as the creative solutions to whatever I am working on. I suspect you have something like this as well.
What Am I Going to Start Doing This Week?
What is it you miss doing? How can you get started, THIS WEEK, getting back to doing it? The following exercise comes from the British government and makes a great guide to getting back to it.
Imagine you were able to do the things you enjoyed or gave you a sense of achievement.
• How would you feel differently?
• How would you think differently about yourself?
• What would people notice about you?
• How would people around you feel differently?
Barack Obama goes home for dinner most days at 6:30. Why can’t you?