By Laura Smith, Chief Groovy Chick, The Breakup Lounge
Boy, I was busy. I mean REALLY busy. I had a to-do list a mile long. When I did see a potential speck of free time, I made sure that it was full of activity. I was buzzing from sun up to sun down. Why you ask? Well, because I HAD to avoid something at all costs...my feelings.
Do you remember the story of Alice in Wonderland? There was a character in it called White Rabbit. He spent most of his time running to and fro exclaiming, "I'm late/I'm late/For a very important date./No time to say Hello, Goodbye./I'm late, I'm late, I'm late. " Well, I had become the White Rabbit of Minnesota.
Why was I so busy being busy? To be honest, I was so terrified that if I slowed down, even for a second, the pain would overwhelm me. You see, I was muddling through my second divorce. What if I let the sadness in and never felt happy again? What if the shame was more than I could bear? What if I discovered I had no inner strength left? What if everybody found out how much I was struggling?
So it became easier, for a while, to keep myself super swamped with things to do. I don't know if you've ever tried this at home but here's my advice: DON'T DO IT! Can you guess what happened? Are you with me? Let me tell you that staying occupied 24/7 takes a lot of energy. When I was alone, it was the hardest. I'd be watching TV while reading a book on the ellipitcal machine. I know that sounds difficult to do simultaneously but I'm here to tell you ~ it can be done. Pretty soon, I was exhausted.
Then it happened. What I had been running from for the past few months enveloped me ~ all the hurt ~ all the shame ~ all the sadness ~ all the fear ~ all the...RELIEF??? Wait! Nobody mentioned anything good coming out of this. But it did. Once I let my feelings in, I realized that even though it was painful there was a measure of relief to it all. On top of that, I found out that I HADN'T lost my inner strength. It was right where I left it and more powerful than before. I felt so much better letting the emotions in, dealing with them and eventually waving goodbye to that path and turning down a different one.
Here are a few tips to help you deal with busy-itis (I'm not a physician and that's not an actual medical diagnosis but you get my drift):
1. Lean into your feelings. I'm not saying dive in. LEAN IN. Accept that they're there. Notice them. Let them be. I tell my clients that the problem with pain is that no matter how long you spend trying to avoid it ~ it will always be there waiting ~ so better to deal with it and move on.
2. If you want to cry, go ahead and cry. Sometimes, I could feel it coming. I'd think to myself, "Hmmmm. I think I'm going to cry. Yep. I think so." So I'd have anything from a little squirt of tears to an all out ugly cry and then by the time it was over, I'd usually be laughing at myself because I really did have a lot to be grateful for ~ if I thought about it. So what was I crying about?
3. If you start to feel bad, put yourself on a timer. Ten minutes is a great place to start. It gets the emotion out but you don't have enough time to sink into the abyss. That's the key...no sinking! Once you've reached your time limit on having a cry or feeling bad, pick your cute butt up and get on with your life!
Here's to letting your emotions catch up with you! After all, you're way too fierce and fabulous to run from ANYTHING!!