The BS of Busy with Jen Lean

Are you busy? Most people are these days. But what if saying you're 'busy' is wearing you down and giving you low level anxiety? I chatted to Jen Lean of Soul Retreats - a woman dedicated to sharing her journey from being busy, to being real. 

1. Why is saying we're busy so accepted in modern day life?

“I think it’s about self-fulfilment. Not that long ago, when people would ask, "How are you?" I would say, "Oh, good thanks, busy, but good.”

When I’d ask people how they were, I’d hear things like "Flat out, exhausted, SO busy, I can't keep up". Particularly with mothers. 

It almost become self fulfilling. If I keep telling myself I’m busy, my brain goes, "Ok, must be busy". Then the anxiety really sets in..."Holy crap, I’m just not doing enough...must do more.”

After a while I was like, what is REALLY going on here? Why are we all saying we're so busy? I mean, do any of us single handedly run small countries? 
A great non-busy pic from an Aprivé Wellness Retreat

A great non-busy pic from an Aprivé Wellness Retreat

2. You've written about the BS of busy a number of times. Why did this become an area of interest for you? Was it to do with women you've met on your retreats?

“It is an area of interest to me because it was something I personally experienced in my own life. Also, many of the women I’ve worked with have had similar experiences.

People feel like they have to keep up with the cultural call for women to be all, do all, have all. 

I have come to see that a lot of women are exhausted. They’re exhausted from living a really masculine energy-driven life. The need to achieve, to DO, to have, to get to, go, go go....do more! A life that is completely out of alignment with their innate energy. It appears to be affecting their intimate relationships, their life passion and their health! Ah hello! That was me!”

A cup of tea without your phone at arm's reach is a great 'non-busy' activity

A cup of tea without your phone at arm's reach is a great 'non-busy' activity

3. Being busy has been likened to a drug. What are your thoughts on this?

“Rob Bell says "busy is a drug a lot of people are addicted to.” And if that is true, what do we know about using drugs? It numbs the pain. 

Thanks to the exhaustive research Brene Brown has done, we know if we numb pain, we also numb other sensations too like love, pleasure and joy.

Maybe busy has become the new 'socially acceptable' drug to be addicted to? The 'measure of success' drug? 

For me I was numbing out the fact I didn't feel good enough. As a mother, a wife a friend, a coach. If I did more, I might be enough. When I got sick, I couldn't hide from the BS I was telling myself. 

I had to get real. Real honest! I got some therapy, reconnected with yoga, began to write more, healed some old pain. Began to feel enough...slowly! 

queenstown wellness

4. What made you stop saying "Can't, I'm busy".

Honestly, I got really sick. My busy story actually made me sick! 

I had taken on too many projects had said yes to too many folk and was totally overcommitted on pretty much everything! Work. Kids. Family. Friends. 

My NO muscle was pretty weak. I thought I could do it all and everything was important. 

In the end it caused me such anxiety and stress trying to do everything and keep everyone happy. Internal voice sounded like, "Must help more people. Must do more stuff. People need me...and that makes me feel like I'm important (#truthbomb) More, do more"!!!

Watching a sunset - the perfect 'non-busy' activity

Watching a sunset - the perfect 'non-busy' activity

5. What’s different now compared to then?

These days (mostly), I am so past worrying if I will be accepted or not. I'm going to let people down. I am going to put people off.

Those that matter to me, accept me; imperfection, forgetfulness, over-excitment and all. And I get stuff done...more of the stuff that is truly important to me. Like writing this!” 

Now when people ask how I am, I answer, "Doing my best to be productive.” Sometimes when I am really brave I just answer, "doing my best.”’
Jen Lean not being busy at yoga!

Jen Lean not being busy at yoga!

Thanks so much to Jen for this great article! Follow her great musings and learn about her inspiring coaching right here: www.jenlean.com .

Sleeping in - the ultimate non-busy activity

Sleeping in - the ultimate non-busy activity

Having trouble getting out of the "No sorry, too busy" trap?

Try adding fun things to your diary so you make sure you set time aside for them.

  1. Sitting with a cup of tea and a book (map out just 10 mins)
  2. Meeting friends for an outdoor activity (picnic, skiing, or a short walk!)
  3. Having a bath 
  4. Cooking a meal or bake something yummy!
  5. Going to a yoga, meditation or Pilates class for fun not just for a workout
  6. Staying in bed for a few extra moments. Set your alarm 10 mins early and enjoy that blissful 10 minutes of cuddly blanket time.
If you're into cooking or baking - try not being busy and bake something tasty!

If you're into cooking or baking - try not being busy and bake something tasty!

What are your favourite ways to be 'not-busy?' Share them in the comments section and I'll post them on our facebook page!