The Side-Effects of Fast Living

There are some periods in our life that are unavoidably busy. We might have multiple deadlines, an influx of unavoidable commitments or it’s school holidays and we’re trying to juggle between kids and work. But what happens if that busyness never subsides?

For far too many people these days, everything is urgent. Busyness has become a badge of honour and we feel guilty if we take even a moment’s break. To add another layer on top of this already burdened cake, many women feel an intense pressure to be all things to all people.

This relentless urgency and perception that there is not enough time, combined with a to-do list that is never all crossed off and a striving for ‘perfection’ in everything we do is driving significant health consequences. Not to mention nigglingly persistent symptoms.

These challenges are the side effects of fast paced living! Yet, for many people, they are simply accepted as part of modern day life.

It might be considered normal to get headaches each week or to feel exhausted at the end of the day, normal to get bloated after eating or experience recurring menstrual problems or debilitating menopausal symptoms.

These things are common – but they are never normal.

Here’s a list of symptoms that are linked to living a fast-paced life:

  • Feeling tired but wired or just generally exhausted
  • Poor sleep patterns or waking up just as tired as when you went to bed
  • Quick to overreact
  • Feeling overwhelmed often
  • Sugar cravings
  • Regular and recurrent issues with your menstrual cycle
  • Short, shallow breathing
  • Poor short-term memory
  • Easily panicked
  • Difficulty relaxing
  • Feeling as though you couldn’t live without coffee
  • Irritability or mood fluctuations
  • Digestive or elimination complaints
  • Recurring headaches
  • Ageing faster than your years
  • Beauty (such as skin, hair and nail) challenges

Really, any health challenge or symptom we are experiencing, is likely to have more of a chance to subside if we slow down our living pace.

Yet, think about this. If you’re running around at a million miles an hour constantly focused on what you need to get done, do you think you’re going to feel as though you have time to address some of these issues?

It’s more likely going to feel overwhelming and unmanageable—just another thing to add to the ‘to-do’ list.

The irony is, the antidote to those fast living side-effects is often slowing down itself.

When you start to slow down, time begins to match pace with you; a sense of spaciousness arrives in your day that you previously couldn’t feel.

When you go to an island they tell you you’re on “island time”. You might have experienced for yourself how the island inhabitants seem to live at a much slower pace and you naturally begin to match this pace while you’re there.

Sure, you might not have deadlines or commitments while you’re away, but you can harness this principle of ‘island time’ by learning to slow down.

Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Check your priorities

At the end of the day, we are busy with what we say yes to. What you spend your time doing will show you where your priorities currently are. Are they in line with the kind of life you want to live? If not, it doesn’t mean you need to quit your job or some other big change to make a positive impact on your health and wellness—simply start taking small steps towards living more aligned with what you want to prioritise. Often this involves considering our boundaries as well because more often than not we’re busy saying ‘yes’ to things because we are uncomfortable saying ‘no’.

Check your perception of pressure and urgency

If someone pulls out in front of you on the road, there’s a need for urgency in your response. Too many people live as if everything requires this level of urgency. It doesn’t. Think of true urgency as a matter of life and death. Of course there are going to be deadlines and requirements that need to be done in short spaces of time. But whether we see these things as ‘urgent’ and put pressure on ourselves as a result all comes down to our perception.

Let yourself enjoy what is already around you

When we are caught up in ‘doing’ we miss the beauty that exists in simply being alive. We don’t pause to enjoy the infectious laughter of our child at play or pay attention to a majestic full moon as it rises up over the horizon. The simple act of pausing to enjoy these things can help you to slow down the pace of your life—and enjoy it more.

Schedule in time for rest

If you’re so busy that you can’t imagine finding any room for downtime—put it in your schedule. Many people rely on their calendar to keep them up-to-date with what’s next on the agenda, so why not add yourself in there? Even if it’s a week or a month in the future, pop it in—and make sure you keep this vitally important appointment with yourself.