The unexamined life is not one worth living.Socrates
Often a busy life is considered a full life, when in reality it may just be an exhausting life, one that is emotionally, physically, and spiritually depleted. Sometimes we believe that adding more activities will enhance our lives, while in reality, if we remove some of the activities, we may have a richer life.
We may be rushing from social activity to social activity, doing fun things. However, under these circumstances it’s even harder to know whether we are simply enjoying ourselves or even in the fun arena are too busy.
So how do we know if we have become too overscheduled, and are not taking enough time for ourselves?
- Do you find yourself second-guessing a plan that you made with a friend? Are there times you say “yes” to things because you’re afraid of missing out, however you’re secretly wishing that you could just stay home?
- Do you feel physically, spiritually, or emotionally worn out with all of the plans that you’ve made?
- Are you trying keep up with all of your friends?
- Do you feel as if you don’t have a lot of energy?
- Are the things that you’re doing still enjoyable or do they deplete you?
- Do you find yourself snapping at your partner, children, or colleagues, and feeling as if everyone around you needs to give you some space?
- Do you often feel bored or disgruntled by the day to day monotony of the tasks that you are doing (including housework)?
- Do you find yourself daydreaming about trips to be taken or otherwise escaping from your obligations?
While none of these in and of themselves necessarily means that you have overscheduled your life, a few yes’es probably indicate that a closer look at the schedule of your life is needed.
One important question to ask about activities – whether they be social, work, or other obligations– is whether that something brings you joy or not.
Selfish versus Self Caring:
When we keep going and going, even if it is for a good cause or for the people whom we care about, we tend to leave ourselves behind. We de-prioritize us.
If we do choose to do something for ourselves, like meditating, relaxing, or working out, we worry that we will be seen as selfish by others or even by ourselves.
However, there is a huge difference between selfish and self caring. Taking the time to do the things that we enjoy doing – whether that be a hobby, reflecting, reading, writing, a workout, coloring, or even just staring into space, is important not only to our overall well-being, but also to the others around us.
When we care deeply for ourselves, we naturally begin to care for others – our families, our friends, our greater global community, and the environment – in a healthier and more effective way… [then] We make choices from love instead of guilt and obligation.Cheryl Richardson, world-renowned coach, author, and speaker
For more information on prioritizing our own self-care and nurturing, including letting go of the guilt, see my article on this topic.
My wish for you today is that you are able to examine your life in view of what truly brings you joy.
Kathleen Dwyer Blair, LCSW, BCD, Director of Nassau Guidance and Counseling.