Anyone else always rushing? Busyness has become a badge of honor. When we catch up with friends and acquaintances the first thing we talk about is everything we’ve been doing. “Oh you think you’re busy, well listen to all the things I’ve been doing.” We talk about how we are running ourselves ragged but say it with a sense of pride. Why??
We are overbooked, friends. Kid activities, jobs, time with your spouse, school activities, volunteer opportunities, church community, clubs, neighborhood community, mom’s groups, time with friends, chores at home, sports…the list could go on forever. Nothing on that list is a bad thing. These are wonderful things that enrich our lives and the lives of our families. But what if we’ve reached a point where we are doing so many “good” things that we are actually harming our health and our sacred family? Maybe you don’t need to do them ALL. Maybe too much good is bad.
Being busy just kills the time you have available to spend on something truly valuable.
So I am proposing an elimination diet — an elimination diet for the health of our minds, bodies, and families. What if you cut out all unnecessary activities for just 4-6 weeks? Say no to afterschool activities that aren’t required for childcare purposes. Consider cutting out just one season of sports. Unless your kid is on track for the Olympics or serious scholarships, skipping a spring soccer session is not the end of the world.
Don’t stop at the kids’ activities. Weekly moms group, Bunco, bingo, or book club…volunteering for the pto or Girl Scouts. Whatever it is that’s keeping you busy. Take a break. I’m not suggesting you never leave your house or see a friend. But really examine all of the planned activities in your calendar.
The idea behind an elimination diet is that you remove all the foods that could be making you feel bad. Some say they didn’t even realize how bad they felt before until they felt really good. After all suspect foods are removed from your body, you slowly reintroduce each food type one at a time. See if you have a reaction. Reintroduce gluten: still feel good? Then you probably don’t have a problem with gluten. Reintroduce dairy: experience gas, nausea, or a breakout? You might consider not have dairy anymore. It is a short process but the rewards can last a lifetime.
I propose the same idea with how you spend your time. Cut out all the excess and slowly introduce one thing back at a time. See how you feel. If you are feeling energized and excited to get back to that community group, then awesome, You should be there. However, if you are dreading returning to an activity, then it should stay off the list. If an activity (that isn’t required) makes you feel bad, don’t do it! Maybe someone else is better suited to coach the team, or that mom’s group just isn’t a good fit for you. It is okay!
Take a look back on what happened over that elimination period. Did your kids fight more at first but then start playing together more than ever before? Did they complain of boredom but then really learn to use their imaginations? Maybe you found it easier to get to church every week? Or spend more time out doors? Family game nights and movies with popcorn and snuggles? What about more family meals sitting around the table?
A food elimination diet may relieve bloating, gas and nausea. A life elimination diet may relieve symptoms like fatigue, boredom, useless comparisons and anxiety.
Stop being busy. Be productive. Get shit done. Do the things that must be done in an efficient manner.
Then spend the rest of your very limited time enjoying your choices. Time is limited. We know this. Being busy just to be busy is killing your soul. Stop wasting the time you have, do the things you love, and spend time with the people you love.
True health and well being comes from a life full of joy.