Curing an addiction to being busy all the time

Being busy, particularly after retirement, is key to not only to keeping you active but also making sure you don’t feel lonely or isolated. But could being too busy actually be detrimental? It turns out it could, and you might be affecting your relationships.

Busyness can actually be an addiction. It is an addiction to make the most out of every day, leaving no time to be by yourself or be bored to the point where you get frantic about filling in the blanks on your schedule.

Signs you may be addicted to being busy:

  • You feel like you when you’re busy and doing things
  • When you’re doing ‘nothing’, you feel guilty for not being productive
  • You like when people make a point of saying you’re busy
  • You never say no to anything.

Detrimental effects of being busy all the time:

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  • You lose creativity because you exhaust yourself elsewhere
  • You don’t form or keep meaningful relationships because you’re always too busy to commit for too long
  • Stressful multitasking – not paying attention because you’re doing too many things at once i.e. taking a phone call or texting during a coffee catch up
  • Lack of satisfaction.

“Western society puts a high value on being busy,” Dr Christiane Northup, a women’s health expert and New York Times best-selling author said. “We are conditioned to believe that being busy equates to being good, worthy, and successful.”

But being busy isn’t that great for your physical and mental health – you could be trying to ignore something important in your life, or sweep it under the rug. Sometimes people are afraid to be alone with their own thoughts and problems, and as a result have a very busy life.

How can you deal with the need to be busy?

Face the truth

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When you stop for a second or maybe when you finally get into bed for the night, you are faced with the issues you’ve pushed away. You might be hit with the realisation you haven’t spent time with your partner lately, or you might feel restless, or worry if others think you’re boring. Whatever it is – face up to it and embrace the feeling. Don’t be afraid to be human and take a break. Learn to say no and spend some time with number one – yourself. Run a bath, read a book, watch a TV show – make time to enjoy your own company.

Be okay with doing nothing

It can be hard for busyness lovers to try and do nothing – binge-watching TV shows or sitting around the house just doesn’t work for them. You may feel a lack of accomplishment if you waste all day in bed or watching a TV show, but think about it like this: time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted time.

Find a purpose

What’s the cure for busyness addiction? Find a way to channel your want to do something, into a meaningful venture. If you like meeting up with people, start a meet-up for others. If you love spending time with family, instead of seeing them all individually, do something altogether twice a year. Your purpose is to be fulfilled and be happy in life, but if you live to please others, you’ll never find inner happiness. Focus on what you want and what you may be hiding with your busyness, then learn to find a balance.


Tell us, are you guilty of being too busy?