September is the time we prepare ourselves to get back to routine. We may start out ready for some predictability and new challenges after an unstructured summer, but quite often, before we know it, the overwhelm sets in. Life can be busy… but when do you need to be concerned that your tendency to gravitate towards busyness is becoming problematic?
“Busy Life Syndrome” was coined by Scottish researchers to describe a type of memory loss. The cause of busy life syndrome is hectic life and sleep deprivation which leads to memory loss and lack of concentration. (International Journal of Neurological Nursing, 2019). It refers to a condition where an individual experiences high levels of stress, overwhelm, and exhaustion due to a consistently busy and demanding lifestyle. This can result in physical, mental, and emotional strain that negatively impacts quality of life. It’s important to note that while not a diagnosis, the symptoms and experiences associated with a busy life are certainly real and can have a negative impact on our well-being.
What Are the Causes of Busy Life Syndrome?
Taking on too many tasks, responsibilities, or commitments without considering the available time and resources.
A demanding job, multiple jobs, or a hectic work environment can contribute to a busy lifestyle.
The constant connectivity provided by smartphones and other devices can blur the boundaries between work and personal time, making it difficult to truly disconnect.
Societal expectations or personal desires to achieve certain goals can lead to an excessive workload and a busy lifestyle.
Lack of Prioritization:
Failing to prioritize tasks and activities can lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed by a never-ending to-do list.
Poor Time Management:
Inefficient time management skills can result in spending too much time on less important tasks, leaving little time for rest and relaxation and a feeling of perpetual overwhelm..
Striving for perfection in all tasks can lead to spending more time than necessary on each task, contributing to a sense of busyness.
Failing to prioritize self-care activities like exercise, proper nutrition, and sufficient sleep can contribute to increased stress and exhaustion.
We are all guilty of some (if not all) of the above. Recognizing the signs is a good start, but there are steps we can take to help manage BLS.
How to Manage Busy Life Syndrome
Here are some tips you can try out yourself:
Identify the most important tasks and focus on completing them first. Learn to say no to tasks that are less important or don’t align with your priorities.
Use techniques like the Pomodoro Technique, time blocking, and task batching to manage your time more effectively.
Delegate and Outsource
Don’t hesitate to delegate tasks that can be handled by others, and consider outsourcing certain responsibilities if possible.
While it might seem efficient, multitasking can reduce your overall effectiveness. Focus on one task at a time for better results.
Just as you schedule work tasks, schedule time for relaxation, hobbies, and spending time with loved ones. Treat this time as non-negotiable.
Prioritize your physical and mental well-being. Get regular exercise, eat nutritious meals, and ensure you’re getting enough sleep.
Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Turn off work-related notifications during your off hours.
Mindfulness and Stress Reduction
Practice mindfulness, meditation, or deep breathing exercises to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
Understand that not everything has to be perfect. Sometimes, good enough is sufficient to move on to the next task.
If your attempts to implement these tips don’t seem to be yielding results, seek support! Most people have experienced times in their lives when their busy lifestyle is affecting their mental health and overall well-being. Support from a therapist can help turn things around. Quite often, it only takes a few sessions to talk about the overwhelm, take a look at the habits that are that are contributing to the busyness and to remind you of the skills you have to overcome this struggle. Reminders to prioritize yourself, as well as the accountability that comes from working with a qualified therapist can work wonders.
Pick one of these tips and try it out. Don’t take on too many changes, or you may find your attempts to reduce the overwhelm will increase the overwhelm! Remember, managing a busy lifestyle requires intentional effort and adjustments. Here is something I say to myself when I am struggling: if you want things to change, you have to do things differently! We all face it. Getting some support to conquer Busy Life Syndrome, let us help.