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”!
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 Healthline.com, 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.
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…