Multi-tasking = An Overtaxed Brain

There comes a point in your life (likely when you’ve reached the summit of the proverbial hill) when you start diagnosing your own medical issues. This happened to me about a month ago when I began doing research (aka. googling) on some of the “symptoms” I seemed to be exhibiting. I brought up my suspicions with my doctor at a routine check-up and this was the gist of our conversation …

Me: “I think my thyroid levels might be low. Is that what’s causing my high cholesterol, slight weight gain in the past year and my fuzzy brain? I have a hard time remembering simple words that I want to use.”

Doc (with a matter-of-fact look): “No, your levels are normal. Your brain is probably just overtaxed. It happens a lot to people who multi-task, like women. We try to take care of the house, a job, the kids, etc. It’s a lot for your brain to juggle.”

Hmm. No kidding.

I came away from that appointment a bit relieved that my hormones were in sync (though disappointed that I now had to blame my weight gain on the extra sweets I had been eating, haha), but also concerned that I might never get my brain back to normal. Because I’ll be the first one to admit that I am great at multi-tasking. I’m talking about being able to nurse a newborn and cut a napping toddler’s hair at the same time. Being able to listen – and absorb – most of what two little individuals are simultaneously telling me and have an answer for both of them. Simply put, I’m a “doing a load of laundry while cooking dinner while wiping a child’s bottom while opening the mail while crafting my next article in my head while feeding the pet guinea pigs while unloading the dishwasher” kind of multi-tasker. (All you moms out there know I’m only slightly exaggerating!)

Even though I may pride myself on being able to do a bazillion things at once, I have to say the time has come when I’m starting to question whether or not I really want to be a chicken. You know the one I’m talking about – the chicken running around with its head cut off. That’s not a pretty image to conjure up, literally or figuratively.

Couldn't find a picture of a headless chicken running, so this will have to do! :)

Couldn’t find a picture of a headless chicken running, so this will have to do! 🙂

It’s been gradually dawning on me that my brain might really be overtaxed. I realized this when I forgot to pay a credit card bill on time – two months in a row. And the other week when I picked up a pot of tea and almost poured what I thought was soy sauce into the dish of wasabi I was using for my sushi. And most recently, this morning when I woke up and for the life of me could not remember the name of an acquaintance hubby and I were just talking about last night. (It finally came to me ten minutes later after I ran through a whole list of names in my head.)

Sigh, I think it’s safe to say that we have all wandered around like a headless chicken before. Maybe even in this moment you are feeling rather “fowly” as you attempt to simultaneously read this post, eat lunch and make a phone call or two. (I’ll admit I scheduled an orthodontist and an ophthalmologist appointment while I typed this up!) If so, it’s time to give our cerebrums a break.

Let’s remember to focus more on being, than doing. To remind ourselves that the world will not fall apart (and that thing or multiple things we have to do will still be waiting for us) if we take off our multi-tasking hats for a little while. For me, it was telling myself that it would be okay to write this blog post one day later than I meant to because sometimes schedules need to be thrown out the window. 😉

And just how do we rest our brains? Maybe by spending a few minutes unwinding with a good book. Going on a walk and listening to the birds sing. Turning on the radio and dancing like no one’s watching (even if you’re stuck in traffic). Setting aside some time at the start or end of the day to pray and just be still. Taking some deep breaths and pausing for a moment.

Ahh. I feel a little more rested just by thinking about resting. 🙂

So let’s try to slow down a bit today. Take a moment to rest and renew your brain. Cause if it’s headless poultry you’re after, it’d be best to take a trip to the market than to become one yourself.

Take a listen to Otis Redding’s “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay“, that reminds us to “waste our time” once in a while. Here’s also a cover of the same song by Sara Bareilles.

What do you do to rest your overtaxed brain?