Why staying busy doesn’t work

Nov 11, 2022

Being busy seems like a logical solution in life after loss.

It’s the solution that many well-intentioned people offer us, and it makes sense.

Whether volunteering, journaling, or gathering with friends, staying busy seems to take your mind off your loss, at least temporarily.

And you absolutely deserve a break from the grief.

But here’s an important distinction: We can use busyness to take occasional breaks from grief, or we can use busyness as an attempt to avoid the pain.  

The primitive brain urges us to avoid pain. So, when unprecedented pain enters our life, the brain will suggest that you numb it in some way, perhaps with alcohol, food, Netflix, social media, or busyness, to name a few.

You may be attempting to numb the pain with busyness if:

  • Your calendar is booked but you feel that you’re not making forward progress with your grief.
  • After a long day of busyness, you still want to avoid coming home.
  • You’re dreading the approaching winter season because your current fair-weather activities will come to an end.
  • You get in the car and your grief washes over you.
  • Your life slowed down in some way (you got settled in your new home, or you are recovering from illness or surgery), and your grief felt heavier.

Using busyness to numb difficult feelings simply doesn’t work.

Feelings demand to be felt.

I once spoke to a person whose spouse had passed 25 years ago, and only when the pandemic removed her ability to be busy did she start to fully feel the pain.

Feelings wait for our attention.

Running from pain is a worse experience of the pain.

I ran for six years. It doesn’t work. I was only delaying my journey.

I want you to take the most efficient path forward and staying busy is not it.

Processing difficult feelings is counterintuitive and yet profoundly effective. It is the path forward. It reveals a future that once seemed out of reach.

Processing difficult feelings is what we do inside of Life Reconstructed, the coaching program I created exclusively for widowed people. If you’re tired of being on the run, join us and we’ll face it together. Simply click below to begin.

Learn more about Life Reconstructed.

Click here

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