Thursday, September 21, 2023


‘Hurry Sickness’ is a real thing, and it’s something I struggle with

I just realized that I have spent almost all of my adult life hurrying. I have concentrated on getting from one place to another, doing one thing and then the next. Always checking off a to-do list on paper or in my head.

Our RV trips have been the same, even after retirement. Rushing from one stop to the next stop, racing through one National Park after another. Checking them off my list. Hurrying against what? I have had to ask myself. Against the inevitable end of times? Or at least against the inevitable end of my time? What deadline am I racing to?

I took a breath the other day and realized I could take as long as I wanted to do whatever menial task I was doing. It was somewhat of a revelation and in that moment I stopped the rush to the next task. I realized that I had relaxed! My breathing slowed and I felt different—different in a good way. It was so unusual I just had to look up “Hurrying and relaxing.” Little did I know there is a name for that state of doing: “Hurry Sickness”!

Hurry Sickness

Cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman first noted the term “Hurry Sickness” after seeing a lot of their heart patients suffering from a sense of time urgency. They noted it as “a constant struggle and unremitting attempt to accomplish or achieve more and more things or participate in more and more events in less and less time.” They noticed that “Hurry Sickness” releases more cortisol in the body and that can lead to health problems.

Hurry Sickness is a real thing!

According to, Hurry Sickness really is a thing. Hurrying evidently has physical effects like trouble sleeping, changes in appetite, fatigue, decreased immunity, headaches, stomach and even heart problems.

Slow your roll

To help calm the hurry they suggest slowing down, slowly.

  • Take a leisurely walk, particularly out in nature.
  • Be mindful and quit multitasking. Be aware. Instead of just rushing through a task like chopping veggies, slow down, relax and pay attention to that simple act.
  • Take care of yourself with exercise, good food, sleep and companionship.
  • Prioritize relaxation. Even 15 minutes can make a difference.
  • Set boundaries and stop saying yes to more tasks before you reach your limit.
  • Stop and take a break.

True confessions

I will need to confess that I am not doing so well in all the points above, particularly in multitasking. In the course of writing this, I opened my treasured Amazon box, hooked up a new water meter, put anode rods away, read the directions for my new convection “Air Fryer” and started roasting peanuts in it. More on how that turned out later!

Looking again at the list, I think a break is in order. In my case, taking a break would mean sitting outside in our rocking camp chairs with my very relaxed husband. He is on the completely other side of the spectrum of Hurry Sickness. Hmmm, I wonder what the term for that is…


Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon has been a full-time RVer living “The Dream” for the last six years and an avid RVer for decades more! She works and travels across the country in a 40’ motorhome with her husband. Having been a professional food photographer for many years, she enjoys snapping photos of food, landscapes and an occasional person. They winter in Arizona and love boondocking in the desert. They also enjoy work camping in a regional park. Most of all, she loves to travel.


  1. When we both retired and on a trip into Utah, I had to slow my late wife down.
    We had spent the night camped at Escalante C.G. The next day pulled into Kodachrome S.P. Joyce asked me what was I doing, we’ve only been on the road for xx minutes?
    I looked at her and said this is where we are staying tonight.
    Do you have to be somewhere else tomorrow, next week,; next month..
    It still took her a while to slow down.
    Much happier lady and me too after that….. 😉 ……

  2. Another great article Nanci… a very special person in my life helped me learn to slow down and look around, think about what I was doing, in actions and in words.

  3. The Japanese tea ceremony was designed to remove one from such a hurried state of mind and give focus to existing only in the present moment. (For Elfquesters, desined to put you in the “now” of wolf thought) IOW you exist without past or future. I’ve always tried to be “it’s about the journey and not the destination”. The unfortunate corollary is that when I’ve designed interesting places to enjoy along the journey, or see something that looks fun along the way I’m urged by others in the family to “hurry up so we can reach the destination sooner.” Which defeats the purpose.

  4. Which is worse “hurry sickness” or “time blindness”? I saw a video of a young lady saying she couldn’t believe her employers didn’t recognize her “time blindness”, that she couldn’t get to work on time, meeting on time, etc. And the Cleveland Clinic says it is real (SMH).
    Since retiring I don’t really hurry but I am 10 to 15 minutes early for anything I need to do/be at or have promised to do/be at.

  5. Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go. This was my SOP all of my professional life and even after I retired. Then a friend gave me a book entitled “The Ruthless Destruction of Hurry”, by John Mark Comer. Wish I could have read this book years earlier. Corrie Ten Boom said, “if the devil can’t make you sin, he will make you hurry”. Both sin and hurry cut off your connection with God and to other people, even your own soul. I regret how my hurry robbed me of spending more time with family and friends. I have not licked all of hurry but I sure am experiencing the goodness of not being driven by hurry.

  6. “If you, or anyone you know, has experienced Hurry Sickness, ( a REAL medical condition! ), call our lawyers: Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe, who are standing by!”

  7. I used to hurry. Now I’m just busy. I have realized that’s the home chores and projects, one has by trying to keep a lot of “stuff” running, reveals one of the great things I love about RVing. When we are RVing, all those home projects and chores shrink down to just maintaining the 5th wheel and truck. Life becomes much more simplified and relaxed.

  8. As well as hurrying, or in some cases not doing something at all because it will take too long, I have realised that I have also tended to make everything “epic”. No short walks in the woods, has to be a long steep hike, no afternoon rides on the motorcycle, has to be a 500 mile day. No more!

  9. After 40 plus years of nursing this is me. Though I have no problems sleeping and do run/walk 3 miles a day. What I hate is what this has done to my kids and now I am really trying with my grandson.

  10. I push back against my spouse’s sense of spontaneity because she will frequently make me skitter between things then berate me for things I had to stop and forgot to complete. I much prefer to plan things and contingencies at a more relaxed pace. As a scuba diver, the mantra is “plan the dive and dive the plan”. With some thought about contingencies, I don’t have to hurry. I don’t have to get anxious when things go off track. We can just deal with them and continue to enjoy the day. Spontaneous things are things we enjoy, not life disruptions.

  11. My hurrying started in Marine Corps boot camp mess hall, recruits go through the chow line, sit down and eat as fast as they can in order to be finished and standing in formation before the Drill Instructor finishes his meal. That was 61 years ago, recently I had a physical problem with my food wanting to hang up before entering my stomach. After a Dr researched my condition he said I was eating faster than my esophagus could send the food down and was told to eat slower, something DW has been saying for a long time. Lol everything I do I’m in a hurry, I’ve got to slow down.

    • Your mess hall experience sounds familiar except mine was in the Navy. You’d just sit down with your chow and some guy would be standing next to your table shouting “Eat the @%$&, don’t shoot it!” But once out of that situation, I want back to leisurely everything. Even today, my wife is up and running every morning while I just putt along. I’ve learned not to argue with this situation.

  12. Good article. I’m sure I suffer or have suffered from this. Fasted paced, demanding, high stress career certainly is a culprit. I’ve always had a bad habit of taking on too much. Always been a can do guy, fixer, problem solver. Way too often putting my needs/wants dead last.

    Now retired, I’m doing better. But I have to often remind myself that It’s now my time. At least part of the time, it’s important to put me at the front of the line for needs/wants. Still hard for me to say no.

    I do enjoy the slower pace now retired. Sometimes I still feel overwhelmed by stuff but it’s much better these days.

  13. I’m pretty sure I have this, and now that I’m retired it doesn’t serve me at all. Your tips are somewhat helpful but just reminding me to slow down is very appreciated.


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