As working women and mothers, we are feeling the burn of hurry these days. Like it or not, we live in a culture that glorifies busyness. We’re bombarded with messages that achieving and acquiring are the keys to happiness. And we pile on ourselves, expecting that we should have the ability to do it all easily, quickly and flawlessly.
The reality is we’re drowning in everything we’ve put on ourselves.
Did you know there is such a thing as “hurry sickness?” According to Psychology Today, hurry sickness is “a behavior pattern characterized by continual rushing and anxiousness; an overwhelming and continual sense of urgency.” As if that isn’t bad enough, it’s also defined as “a malaise in which a person feels chronically short of time.”
Can you relate?
When we feel overwhelmed, we look at new ways to manage our time or review responsibilities to determine if there is more we can delegate. We may vow to make time for rest or outsource where we can (childcare, shopping, cleaning, etc.). But instead of looking for outward solutions, we would benefit from looking inward to examine what’s causing us to hurry so much.
Hurry is not just the state of your affairs, it’s a state of your mind. It’s driven largely by the beliefs you hold about yourself and your place in the world. It’s a belief that you have to do more in order to be more. While you can treat your hurry with healthy habits, the first step in curing your hurry is understanding your “why” behind it.
I see four drivers pushing women to do more in order to “be” more:
Comparison. FOMO is real, and many women fear being left out or falling behind in the workplace.
People Pleasing. People pleasers tend to put other people’s feelings and needs before their own, which in relation to hurry, means overextending yourself by taking on more and more in order to keep the peace, keep the project moving forward or trying to stay in the boss' good graces.
Perfectionism. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to perform flawlessly, oftentimes catastrophizing the consequences of any imagined misstep. Furthermore, women in senior positions often describe feeling tremendous pressure to “set a good example” for younger women in the company, believing they have to make the right decisions because other women in the organization are depending on them to do so.
Guilt. We have a number of roles in life - wife, mother, colleague, boss, friend - and we have to hold those roles in tension because they often compete with each other. We feel we need to be all things to all people at all times, and we feel guilty when we can’t.
Here’s the truth: hurry has a cost. It has an emotional, physical and spiritual cost. For some of us, it’s cost us everything – our identity. We’ve been so busy doing that we’ve forgotten who we are and what’s most important to us. We’ve started measuring our worth by the number of checkmarks we can accumulate by the end of the day, and that scares us because we know the pace we’re going is not sustainable.
If you find yourself struggling in one or more of these areas, this is a great time to take inventory around the beliefs you have about yourself. When you find yourself overwhelmed and faced with a decision that feels urgent or important, take a moment to reflect and get curious. For example: Where is fear a factor? How is insecurity coming into play? What story are you telling yourself when you feel like you can't say "no"? Keep a journal to track the times you feel hurried and note your thoughts and the feelings you're experiencing.
Have you felt God calling you to rest more? God's command to observe a day of rest, or Sabbath, was given to us not only because God knew we needed to rest, but so that we would find that rest in our relationship with Him. Why not try to take an upcoming day to find rest and reflect at the same time? Go back and visit the coffee shop that felt so cozy or head back to that park with the beauty that made you feel grounded and hopeful. Take a notebook, a pen, your Bible and an open heart, and simply capture your thoughts and prayers as you reflect. Invite God into the process with you.
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