Slow Down, It’s Not a Race: Reflections of a Busy Addict

I’m a busy mom. Today is the first day in at least four straight months where I’ve stopped moving, and my body didn’t know what to do with itself.

Busy Addict

Like many moms, I have a busy schedule. I like busy. Busy doesn’t stress me out.

But when you add stressful things to an already busy schedule, such as a major flood, building a home, new jobs, medical issues, and moving — the busy becomes chaotic and the body goes into survival mode.

Our bodies are equipped to handle short spurts of stress with the help of adrenaline. Adrenaline isn’t a bad thing, but over long periods of time, you create more cortisol which leads to fatigue, mood swings, mental fog, etc.

If you become accustomed to this chaotic lifestyle (or a busy addict), you might not recognize that it’s not supposed to be this way. That life doesn’t have to feel like an episode of The Amazing Race. Every. Single. Day.

Re-Evaluate Your Needs

The key is to know how to read your needs.

This takes practice and will never be perfect, but it can become easier. Let’s take today for example. A few months ago I changed my schedule so I can fit in yoga every Monday morning. And this past summer, I finally started physical therapy for my hips, which never got the memo that I’m no longer carrying twins.

This week, PT conflicted with morning yoga. I could, A) Fall into my current habit of busy non-stop chaos and go from PT, to errands, catch noon yoga, get home in time to shower and meet the HVAC guy, do laundry, then pick up the kids. Or, B) After PT, go straight home and take a nap, skip errands, yoga and laundry.

Today, I chose B.

Needs Can Change from Day to Day

Some busy days, it might be more stressful to skip everything if there’s no other time in the week for them. And some days cramming in yoga might be exactly what I need, but today, everything was negotiable and I was able to recognize what I needed and follow through for myself.

When there’s a string of stressful weeks or months, it’s hard to come down, to realize this “go, go, go” mentality is not sustainable or necessary. There are no winners in this race and we can become stress addicts if we’re not careful.

Think of What’s Negotiable

As you look at your week, what’s negotiable? What things can be saved for another day so you have an extra 20 minutes to sit in your car and relax during school pick up instead of cramming in another errand? Or, is there a morning where sleeping an extra hour is what you need instead of your morning workout?

See what happens when you allow yourself to slow down, to choose the path of least resistance, and see how your body responds. You might be surprised to find how much of a difference it makes when you decide to quit the race. You may actually feel like you’ve won!

For more on reprioritizing and slowing down, see Hey High Achieving Mama, It’s OK to Unplug.
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Katina grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and played field hockey at the University of Connecticut, and has never been in as good of shape since. She met her husband, Justin, at a bar in Pittsburgh and, despite many romantic Skype dates, found a long-distance relationship to be a drag and moved to Fargo in 2010. She's a bonus mom to Justin's son, Owen (2005), and they have twins Augie and Delphi (2016) and two Great Danes, Rainy and Moose. She's a Speech-Language Pathologist, Certified Brain Injury Specialist, and ADHD Rehabilitation Services Provider who enjoys helping her patients improve their quality of life. She loves showing the world to her kids (but also seeing the world through their eyes), trying new foods, listening to live music and publicly mocking her little brother on Instagram. On most weekends, you can find her at one of her kids' many activities by day, and by night on the couch in sweats, eating a homemade charcuterie board and drinking cheap wine she bought at Costco. She still has Skype dates, but now they're with friends and family who live all over the place.


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