So in part one, you may have discovered that I have been a recovering do-doer all of my adult life. So my passion in talking about it, of course, resulted in the need for a two part blog!
How about you? Are you also an over-doer? Are you over doing because you’re driven for some reason or really is it a have to, and you just need to find the self-care within your life to support you? We need to develop inner balance.
So part of my overdoing recovery was an old story that I had internalized, and part of it was what I learned from our culture growing up. I just want to point out that our culture has changed so much and that’s pertinent here. We don’t still have the need to chronically overwork. Everything is so much more automated these days.
In the olden days, we were an agrarian-based society. Our sustenance was in farming crops and raising animals and it was really necessary to have the kind of intensive daily schedule at harvest time or planting time.
In fact, schools were closed early when it was harvest time because they needed all hands on deck on the farm. Everybody went home. Daylight savings time in the US was instigated by Benjamin Franklin for the same reason to maximize the work hours in the sunlight. Because in those days, we didn’t have the power grid and instant light we have now.
In those days, there may have been kerosene lamps or candles at night or the fireplace. However, we carry forward that similar work cycle and expectation into our modern world, that culturally driven necessity to work all hours of the day.
Perhaps it’s a high value for you? You love serving. You love working. Maybe you grew up in a culture, a church, or a philosophy that work was service, work was good. And that’s what we were here to do. So maybe that is where you’re coming from. If you find yourself overly busy, even if work is a virtue, don’t you still have to balance your busyness to serve well and be efficient?
Doesn’t offering our best work come from feeling energized, good and able? This is a state of balance. Isn’t it worth it to consider where you might be overdoing in your life?
What causes this overdoing? So in my own life, I had a 22 year, second career in education. As a teacher, I got to see firsthand what this force of nature, these people teaching… mostly women, because I was in the elementary schools. But the dedication with which teachers provide education for students is incredible.
It is a more than full-time job and they get a really bad rap, because it looks like a six and a half hour day with summers off. But let me tell you, if that’s what you believe, send me a message. I’ll give you the details because it’s not true. Teachers work so hard. Before school, they’re planning. After school, they’re grading. During school, they are caretaking, feeding, loving, nurturing, educating, managing, like the list goes on and on. They are champions at finding balance, or they could not survive the job demands.
These women made it look easy. I remember seeing these teachers and I would just think, how are they doing it? I’m working 12 hours a day, six days a week. I’m exhausted. How do they make it look so easy?
I started asking around and found out 9 out of 10 teachers I worked with had the same story. They gave everything for school. Then they gave everything for family. And so on. Time for oneself was a prized commodity one might dream of. They never had time for balance or any self-care. You’ve probably known women like this, or maybe you are one. If so, it’s not your fault. This is what many of us were taught… that women served selflessly… and sacrificed. And that is what so many of our modern institutions demand, and perpetuate. It’s a problem for health, wellbeing, and quality of life.
So let me ask you, what does your work look like? How are you managing your energy? Are you finding time to recharge every day? What are you doing to take care of yourself?
What we are really talking about is the stress and health drain that comes up with chronic overdoing, when we don’t have balance in our schedules. And what is the number one key to start busting that stress?
Here it is just one word. Awareness.
That’s right. Awareness. Because when we become aware of what we’re doing and over doing every day and how our schedule is affecting us, then we start to have power and the ability to make some hard choices.
But if we’re just plugged in on overdrive, we can go for years without a sane balance between work and non-work. I’ve seen it. I’ve done it. It’s not fun and it’s detrimental for your health or your wellbeing.
Overdoing and being out of balance initiates this chronic stress response and we don’t want that because that produces inflammation in the body. You’ve probably heard all about inflammation, and how even at low levels, this chronic inflammation actually causes disease.
It instigates things that weren’t there before. And you can go on for years with subtle symptoms, pain, gut pains, different things, all related to the fact that you’re overly busy, you’re getting into too much stress and you’ve got chronic inflammation going on. So being aware, making yourself stop and look.
So we talked in recent posts about metacognition, meta thinking, taking a 30,000 foot view above yourself and looking down. And in that case, what were we thinking? But how about taking a 30,000 foot view about how you are expending your energy every day? What’s your schedule? Look. And if you’re sitting there telling me, “But Jeannie, I have to do this, I have to work like this. And you want me to have balance?”
I get it. I said that. So many of us are called into this overly busy do, do work situation just for economic survival. So let me just reassure you that in future posts I’ll be finding you more tips for how you can manage yourself in your stress within a crazy busy do do schedule. The first step is awareness. What DOES the balance look like for you?
Look around and become aware and you might find tiny changes that you can make to reduce your overdoing and relieve stress. Just a little bit of a change can make the world of difference.
For instance, just give yourself 15 minutes a day to stop and truly go inside to relax deeply and feel the present moment. Or 20 minutes a day to literally stop and truly chew and taste your lunch or your midday meal. These little changes over time through the distance of time, add up to a huge lot of well-being.
There’s one thing I wanted to ask you to do, and that is take this time this week, or whenever you’re reading this and allow yourself to become aware by considering what is your daily schedule like looking from that 30,000 foot view? Is it great? Does it feel really good or do you feel overly busy? And if so, start noticing. “Hmm, I wonder where I could tweak this just a little bit?” Please don’t try to make a big change.
That’s not what we’re looking for here. We don’t want you to have to do one more thing because after all, this is about not doing and coming back into the peacefulness of being. Being here, not overly doing so you get pulled out, stressed out, inflamed, all those things. So just think about one little change you could make that would make you feel great.
Maybe you go out at the midafternoon break and look up into the sky? You could smell the breeze. You could take stock, do a little stretch, get up from the desk, whatever it is that you wish. Just consider, how can you support your own self?
And you know, it’s possible. It’s just saying, “No” to everything else for a few minutes. Or setting a clock to your work time, and sticking with it. So many strategies. Start to create more wellbeing by taking a look at how you’re doing.
And in that way, you empower yourself because the fact is, once you see something about yourself or your life you want to adjust, that gives you so much power. Because until you see it, you can’t change it. So think about this amazing power you have within to perceive what’s happening and consider it. And over this next week, a few days, what might it look like for you if you wanted to change one little tiny thing? Jus like my old favorite Tasmanian quote says little by little, a little becomes a lot.
Remember, this is not a doo-doo, this is one tiny behavior that you can easily achieve to help you destress and be a little more in control of your schedule. Honor your time and schedule by creating boundaries, doing things that your love.
Working from a balance that makes us effective and productive in how we want to show up in the world and remembering that overdoing is not the way. Instead of doing, practice being.
Enjoy your life by coming into this present moment and being mindful of what’s actually happening. Take stock with the 30,000 foot view to become aware so that you have the power to make tiny changes effortlessly, and create the life you love. Create your own wellbeing with Energy Tools Mentoring!
All Blessings & Love,
💛 Dr. Jeannie Arunimā