I personally think that every month should be stress awareness month. In fact, my book comes out this month and I have a whole chapter on stress. We have become so busy that we don’t really enjoy life anymore.
It is important that we help others and not focus only on our own lives. We need to find a healthy balance. And learning to say “no” is an important part of that balance. I counsel many moms who involve their kids in every sport there is, and they volunteer for everything they can. Why do they do it? Partly to show their kids how much they care, but also to show other moms how perfect they are. These are the moms who break down and end up on antidepressants.
The staggering statistic reporting the number of adults and children on antidepressants keeps climbing. Approximately one in 18, or 14.4 million people in the U.S., experience depression. Approximately 4% of adolescents are seriously depressed (NIMH). One big problem is that we over-commit ourselves and our children. We put our kids in too many activities, and that ends up encouraging them to be over-achievers. We pack our schedules so tight that we end up lacking in sleep and exercise. We are too busy to slow down, too busy to drink enough water, and too busy to eat good food.
Oftentimes we are so worried about all the things wrong in our life that we don’t see all the wonderful things around us. We don’t take time out to sit back and reflect, or soak up the sun, which, by the way, can help with that vitamin D deficiency. After a while, we snowball into a frenzy of depression and anxiety.
Now, more than ever, you need to stop and evaluate how you are living your life, and more importantly, how your family is handling life.
The bottom line is that life is too short. Your quality of life is too important to mess it up.
In Italy I heard the phrase,”l’arte di non fare niente.” It’s an Italian expression and translated means “the art of doing nothing.” Here in America, we think that we should always be doing something, but in Italy it is “dolce far niente” — the “sweetness of doing nothing.”
Do we have to go all the way to Italy to feel like it is okay to enjoy doing nothing? This needs to change!