Is My Family Too Busy? How To Slow Down And ConnectMay 17, 2023
Busyness has always been around, but it’s been embraced at a new level over the past century. Gone are the days of quiet nights around the table or in the living room. Activity has swallowed our evenings, or left us too tired to interact in a meaningful way. This shift has taken a definite toll, leaving our families and relationships more fractured and distant than ever before. In order to address this, we need to evaluate our own lives, and take action to cut down on the busyness.
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Signs Your Family Is Too Busy ⏰
It’s amazing how easy it is to be busy. It’s even applauded in our culture. Busyness is displayed like a badge, and we use it to show others we’re doing something meaningful, and that we’re not wasting our lives. Ironically, busyness often causes us to miss out on the most important things in life. The main one being our families.
Below are a few simple ways to tell if your family is too busy. Take a look, and compare them to your own experience. If one or more resonates with you, your family may be struggling with a case of busyness.
Your Child Seems Overwhelmed Or Easily Upset 😭
If your child is too busy, they’ll often respond by becoming more fearful or angry. Without time to decompress and process, it doesn’t take much to tax their patience or trigger insecurity. They’ll respond by being more accusatory, less likely to volunteer to help others, and overall, acting more tired and irritable.
Your Communication With Your Spouse Is Short And Sharp 😑
When you’re too busy, it’s easy to focus on all of the activities and projects coming up and become distracted from what’s truly important. This feeling of overwhelm can lead to less time with your spouse, and an overall harshness when you communicate. You’re less patient when they don’t do something you thought they should, you blame them more quickly for hiccups in scheduling, and you are more prone to criticism than understanding.
Your Child Is Exhausted And Isn’t Sleeping Well 🥱
Another sign your family may be too busy is the length and quality of your child’s sleep. Working hard and exercising can help your child sleep better, but not having mental or emotional downtime can cause them to have trouble sleeping at night, and lead to greater exhaustion during the day. This often stems from them worrying about upcoming activities, or their minds needing to process while they’re trying to fall asleep, thus keeping them awake and making their sleep fitful.
You Are Tired 🙇♀️
You being tired all the time is a dead giveaway of being too busy. You’re burning the candle at both ends, and you can only have so many late nights and early mornings before it catches up with you. You might struggle with watching TV shows to recover from working all day, or planning activities for every night of the week. Whatever the case may be, there’s no down time in your schedule, and therefore no chance to give your mind and body the rest they need.
You Can’t Say No 🤭
As strange as it sounds, when you’re too busy, you often can’t say no. This usually stems from an unhealthy way of looking at busyness that views it as proof you have value as a person. This perspective leads you to the conclusion that saying no to helping someone or getting that extra bit of work done would reflect badly on who you are as a person.
Tame Your Schedule
To help slow down so you can actually enjoy your family, and cut down on the negative side effects of busyness, here are a few tips to take back control of your schedule.
This is a hard one. It’s human nature to want to be efficient and not waste time. So it’s not easy to purposefully leave open times in our schedule. We can see so many ways to fill in that time. But don’t do it. Life has a way of filling those in for you, so if anything, we need to guard these empty times even more carefully instead of leveraging every second of our day.
➙ Let Your Children Have Space In Their Day Where Everything Isn’t Planned For Them
This one can be hard too. Controlling your child and their schedule is always easier than giving freedom with boundaries, but you’ll both be grateful you did as they grow older. To do this, block out time for already scheduled activities like meals, school, or appointments, but leave open slots in the day for time outside, reading, or independent play.
➙ Make Independent Play A Priority
Independent play is critical for your child’s development. They need time to explore and strengthen their imagination and problem solving skills. This also gives them the time they need to process everything they’re experiencing, and can help them feel less overwhelmed, and more safe.
➙ Ruthlessly Prioritize - You Have To Fight For Your Family’s Time
The key to all of this is being clear on what you’re sacrificing for. If you’re sacrificing for your job or social life at the expense of your family, that’s not a decision you or your kids will look back on with kindness. Making the decision, and then taking the steps necessary to prioritize your family will revolutionize your family relationships, and give you the best shot at lasting family harmony.
Here's some ideas on how to guard your families schedule
➢ Check out our Foundation Program on Family for more insights and practical tips
➢ Dive deeper with our blog on why you should start a Family Night
➢ Pick one way to Tame Your Schedule from the section above, and start implementing it today!
Your family is everything
Busyness comes for us all, but there are tools to fight it, and enjoy meaningful time with your family as a result. Taking one small step today might not feel like a lot, but every step adds up, and before you know it, you’ll be enjoying deeper relationships with your spouse and kids.
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