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One busy day in 1992 my former executive director and I were en route to an early afternoon meeting. We were running a little late. She asked me to stop so we could pick up lunch. “Marie*, do we have time?” I asked. She replied with a smile, “I’ve learned that if I’m too busy for lunch, I’m just too busy.”  That was an important lesson, and one that in subsequent years I forgot and had to relearn.

Not many bosses would say that today.  We respect those who are too busy. It’s a sign of status. Our identities get tied up in our busy-ness. It might make us feel proud, needed and connected to be so in-demand. Busy people are important people.

For each of us, there’s probably an optimal level of busy-ness. We may thrive when demands on our time are mostly things we enjoy, find meaningful and have some control over. A good level busy-ness can cross the line to being too much when our coping capacities start getting overwhelmed. In fact being too busy can lead to a physiological stress response. This response is meant to help us handle immediate threats. The release of cortisol and adrenaline result in the “flight or fight” response to perceived danger.

When being too busy becomes a way of life, our bodies can stay in flight or fight mode all the time. That can have a negative impact on our overall health and well-being. It wasn’t until I had an episode of disabling back pain that I realized I had been way to busy for far too long. I began then taking steps to assure that I invested in myself, allocating a portion of my available time and energy to things I enjoy and to things I needed to do to take care of myself.

What about you? How is your level of busy-ness? Get in touch for a half hour free consultation.  Find out how life coaching can help you assess, envision, plan for and act on life changes to help you find that “just right” level of busy-ness.

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Stress Symptoms: Signs, Causes and Effects