STOP THE MADNESS: A Day in the Life of a Chronic Over-Scheduler
Several years ago I was grieving the loss of a long-term relationship, adjusting to living on my own and navigating a new career. I was "crazy-busy" by my own choice. Friends would ask if I wanted to hang out and I would have two other things planned. It started to be a running joke among us: "You better schedule a lunch with Liza a month in advance" or "You are always so busy, we never see you anymore!"
Except in hindsight, I now realize that my busy-ness was not at all a joke. In fact, it was a serious attempt to avoid life.
Little did I know that I was using appointments, outings and filling each minute of my calendar (Monday through Sunday!) to avoid facing my biggest fear... myself. I was so afraid of being "alone" that I would double book myself on purpose.
All of a sudden my calendar was out of control and I was left exhausted. Navigating all of those commitments was crazy making! A typical week day included working 8 to 6 (or later), dinner out with friends, and then a candlelight yoga class, ending with falling into bed to do it again the next day. Weekends were worse! Filled with errands, plans, outings, family time, you name it! Anything to not be alone or *aha! moment*: lonely.
I was so uncomfortable with the idea of being with myself....Being alone with my thoughts and nowhere to distract them meant I had to deal with reality.
The reality was that in my mid-30's, I was back in the dating world and no amount of "Sex and the City" watching was going to change that. I needed to face myself, hunker down and nurture the most important relationship I could ever have... the one with myself. Once I got over the fear of being lonely, I realized that I was actually pretty great company! I watched what I wanted, cleaned when I wanted, ate what I wanted, sang Beyonce's "Single Ladies" as loud as I wanted, etc.
It took time, but in the end becoming my own best friend was what I needed in order to be healthy with anyone else.
The only glitch was weaning myself off of the over-scheduling habit in order to make time to be with myself (or a cute partner... ). In the past, I would hem and haw if I had plans and then someone asked me to do something as equally enticing. I would try to "fit it all in" and rush through an event just to move on to another. I would feel guilty if I made an excuse to leave or be so tired that I sat in a corner until it was an okay time to slip out without anyone noticing. In my head all I could hear was, "STOP THE MADNESS!!"
Eventually, all of this took a toll on my body and mind. I was forced to slow down and learn new ways to manage my schedule, and most importantly make room for "me time".
Yes, you need to schedule that sweet time on your calendar! Send yourself a weekly (daily!) invite just as you would anyone else important to you. And if you do get that last minute invite and you already made plans, remember this tip...
Make the thing you said "yes" to first your priority.
This makes the wavering a non-issue. You have plans: go get ready! Or, maybe you have plans with yourself: go get your PJ's on!
If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with Liza, you can reach her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or call our intake line: 608-709-6972
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[This article does not create a client-counselor relationship. This article is general counseling information and is not to be considered legal or medical advice. Please consult with your mental health professional before you rely on this information.]