Keeping busy keeps me feeling productive. Even if I’m not in the greatest emotional state, at least, at the end of the week I can look back at everything I’ve accomplished. I can be proud of myself in at least one area of my life. I can feel like I’m gaining forward momentum, like I’m not as stuck as I’ve been telling myself, like I’m getting closer and closer to my goals.
Keeping busy keeps me in a routine — and I’m someone who thrives on routine. I could just as easily get into the habit of sleeping in every single day, of doing nothing, of accomplishing zero. I could easily spend my days crying, spend my nights moping, and it would be hard for me to stop. That’s why I try my hardest to stick to a healthier routine, to continuously better myself, to try to get things done, even when I’m not in the mood.
Keeping busy keeps me from spiraling. It distracts me. It occupies me. It forces my brain to focus on something other than the pain. I know it’s only a temporary solution. I know I’m going to have to cope with my emotions eventually. But in the meantime, it keeps me grounded. It keeps me from falling back on other coping mechanisms, more toxic coping mechanisms, like smoking or drinking. My routine is the healthiest way to give myself a break from my dark thoughts. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than most of my alternatives.
Keeping busy keeps me from giving up hope. It makes me feel like my life is headed somewhere, like things are going to get better, like I’m headed down the right path. It helps me ignore the voice in the back of my head warning me that there’s no point, that my effort is useless, that I’m wasting my time. It helps me feel like I have some semblance of control over my own life, like I can make my own decisions. It makes me feel more powerful, even during the moments when my emotions are tricking me into feeling weak.
Keeping busy keeps me from falling apart. Honestly, I don’t know how to relax anymore. I have a long to-do list that keeps me occupied from the moment I wake up in the morning until I fall asleep at night. On the rare occasions when I’m running ahead of schedule, when I have some downtime for myself at the end of the day, I don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t know how to unwind, how to let loose, how to enjoy myself. Even though a part of me is annoyed by my schedule and wants to finish everything as quickly as possible, I actually prefer it better when my mind is occupied, when it is kept from wandering. After all, too much time leads to too much thinking. And too much thinking leads to too much pain.
Keeping busy keeps me sane. It might not help forever. But it’s helping me today.