Busy bees

Joey Garcia

I have this really bad habit of not allowing myself to take a break from school or work until I physically and mentally break down. It always happens at inconvenient times. Any advice?

Replace bad habits with self-love. When you push yourself until you collapse in tears or become physically ill, you’re attempting to motivate yourself through self-hate. Anyone fed a diet of diatribes soon begins to believe it. That means your periods of overdoing will become shorter and less productive and periods of illness will become longer and more debilitating. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You have the power to create a life rooted in joy.

Binging and purging on busyness is a compulsive pattern that often starts in high school. Students who complete a major project the night before it’s due and still score an A, step into the addictive binge (pulling an all-nighter) and purge (zombie-like the next day, yet quick to anger, cry or catch cold). It’s difficult, but not impossible, to retrain the mind and body.

Begin by examining your behaviors. Do you put off tasks until the fear of potential failure overwhelms you, sparking an overload of adrenaline and cortisol that you channel into getting things done? You might think of this as a win, but the resulting stress damages your health. An alternative to procrastinating is to break a project into micro-movements, daily bite-sized actions that move you to your goal. If perfectionism interferes, nurture self-trust. Several times a day tell yourself that you embrace progress, not perfection. And if you tend to take on more than you can manage, stop enslaving yourself to overdoing. Most people overdo because they want to be admired, but instead feel unappreciated. Avoid burnout by appreciating yourself. Don’t say yes to anything new until you complete what’s on your plate or the assignments required for school or work. In the process you will learn that yes, no and maybe are equal when used with integrity.

One final thought, it would help to journal about why you began treating yourself unkindly. Shame and guilt propel people toward self-harming behavior. Get to the core of your fear and use that insight to free yourself. A life coach can help.

My teenage son refuses to honor the court-mandated visitation with my ex. He hates her because she cheated on me in our home and he caught her. What should I do?

Document each refusal by immediately notifying your ex via text message and your attorney by email. Keep that paper trail. If you’re confident your son is not being abused or harmed in your ex’s home, ask your ex to call your son when he refuses to visit. You can also invite your ex to come to your home to see your son, but only if you are assured that you and your ex will be civil. If your son still refuses to see your ex, contact your attorney regarding options and get your son to a therapist experienced in counseling teens.

Meditation of the week
“Real life is a series of slow, small, iterative events that result in gradual change and self-awareness. And it’s combined with a lot of steps backwards along the way,” says scientist and executive Lucinda Jackson. What is your relationship with patience?

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