Can’t concentrate? A bad memory? demotivation? If you have these symptoms and a busy life, you may have busy life syndrome, a mental disorder caused by a busy life and the constant overload of information you get, especially from your phone.
Next, we look at where the research on the “busy life syndrome” came from in a world of “voracious consumerism” and “technocapialism,” as well as the main signs of it and ways to stop it.
What is Busy life Syndrome?
In 2011, researchers from CPS Research in Glasgow started talking about a mental disorder called “busy lifestyle syndrome.” In it, they started with the idea that people were becoming more “forgetful” because they were getting so much information in this “information age.”
The CPS Research team said that subjective cognitive impairment, which is somewhere between normal aging and pathological aging, could be a sign that an older person will get dementia.
So, can forgetting things like keys, names, and wallets often be a sign that dementia is starting? Not at the start. The researchers at CPS Research didn’t go that far, but they did name a syndrome that is very important now that the pandemic is over.
Some people, especially working mothers and fathers with young children, had to do more than one thing at a time because of the pandemic, but others had to do less, which had unpredictable results: some were glad to have more time, while others were scared because they didn’t know what to do with so much free time.
After the pandemic and most of the restrictions were lifted, many people were able to get back to their full schedules. And this is how one starts to get the “busy life syndrome,” in which new technologies play a key role. This is the paradox of digitization: it makes it easier to do some things, but it also forces us to do things we didn’t do before, like using social networks.
So, the busy life syndrome happens in a society that is focused on getting things done. We have to be productive not only at work, but also in our personal lives, as mothers, as lovers, and even at the gym, where we have to meet a goal set by the monitor or by ourselves. Everything we do has to be focused on meeting goals and keeping us busy. We can’t just sit around for five minutes and ask ourselves questions.
Even the kids do their homework after school or institute to be as active as their parents: from English to violin, and from tennis to chess.
In a world where people have busy schedules, it’s worth thinking about what “free time” means. Is that time really outside of the normal pace of work? Are we not planning our time as if it were just one more thing we have to do to reach a goal? Even in our free time, we try to get more and more experiences, as if we were trying to fill a reservoir.
So, time stops being “free” and becomes another link in the iron chain of organization that is our weekly schedule. The last thing we want is an afternoon with nothing planned. Being busy all the time, even in our free time, has obvious physical and mental costs.
Four signs to identify the syndrome of the busy life
If you recognize yourself in any of these four things, you might have the syndrome of the busy life:
You Turn your Leisure Into one more Task
Of course, you need to be at least a little bit organized to enjoy your free time, but if you plan each activity as if it were a work project, you can be productive even when you’re relaxing. For example, if you plan a trip to “collect” experiences and then only think about sharing those experiences on social media to show that they were “useful,” you are more likely to have the busy life syndrome, among other things.
One of the most important signs of this syndrome is a tendency to do a lot of things at once, but not well at any of them. In a strange way, not being well organized makes it harder to do more than one thing at once. We don’t realize that we can’t do so many things at the same time. On the other hand, we mistakenly think that being very busy, even if it is “badly” busy, is the same as having a “full life.” Because of this, we rush to add more things to our schedules.
Stress and Anxiety
When we start to think that we might not be able to meet all of the goals we have set for ourselves because they are too big and we don’t have enough time, we feel stressed. Stress and anxiety can go together if we do too much and it hurts our work and/or our personal relationships.
Poor Memory and Lack of Concentration
As the researchers at CPS Research in Glasgow warned, poor memory is a sign of busy life syndrome in its later stages. We’ve been taking on more than we should for a long time, and we’re starting to forget things that we don’t usually forget.
In the same way, having a bad memory can make it hard to focus, which can be caused by having too much on your mind. If we try to do too many things at once, we can’t do any of them well, and it’s much harder to put all of our attention on a single task. Because of this, we can’t focus on a more or less hard task and get it done.
How to Stop Busy Life Syndrome?
If you have one or more of these signs and want to change, stop the busy life syndrome by following these four steps:
Improvise. Let yourself change up how you spend your free time sometimes. Some of the best plans are made on the spot, often with the help of good friends. Let yourself go for a while and don’t try to be in charge of everything you do.
Leave the mobile for a while. If you can’t relax because you’re always looking at your phone when you’re doing something fun because you want to show everyone how much fun you’re having, this is a clear sign of the busy life syndrome. Put your phone somewhere safe and enjoy what’s in front of you with your own eyes, not through the device’s filters. And don’t feel bad that you can’t “share” your experience; someone else will.
Do not constantly think about goals. Leave work jargon for where it makes the most sense: at work. Having goals outside of work can be a double-edged sword because it can turn life into a job. If you still think that you need to reach your goals in order to be happy, it’s because you need a time when you don’t do anything.
Throw out Do you really need to check off so many things? Don’t you think there are a couple of things that aren’t so “must have”? People who are “hooked” on being busy might find it strange to drop tasks to make more time, but this is the first step if we don’t want the busy life syndrome to cause mental and emotional problems. “Being busy isn’t enough; even ants are busy. What we are doing is the question.
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