The busyness syndrome has become pandemic. And it creeps into every facet of life, leaving us trying to plan time to have moments to take care of ourselves or to see friends and family.

Editor’s note: Loretta LaRoche is off this week; she’ll return next Monday. Here’s a LaRoche oldie but goodie that ran on Nov. 6, 2000.


I think it’s time that people stopped saying they have no time for themselves. We are a culture that has just about every gadget and convenience imaginable to make life easy, yet we continue to act like we are plowing the back 40 and hauling the logs in to heat the house.


When I was a young housewife back in prehistoric times – actually it was the early ’60s – I spent the entire day taking care of kids, cooking and cleaning.


Cooking was a project. A meal took a couple of hours to make and then you cleaned up. The diapers were not disposable and no one I knew had a dishwasher. Futurists predicted that we would see a time when appliances would take over most of the mundane tasks and leave us with more free time than we would know what to do with.


So what happened?


The moments that were freed up from washing dishes by hand and mowing the lawn with a hand mower have been replaced with blabbing on phones, answering voice mail, driving to malls and a host of other activities that keep us busy, busy, busy.


The busy-ness syndrome has become pandemic. And it creeps into every facet of life, leaving us trying to plan time to have moments to take care of ourselves or to see friends and family.


The reality is that everyone has the same amount of time to deal with: 24 hours. There are individuals with hectic schedules who manage to exercise, meditate, eat well and involve themselves in having supportive relationships.


Then there is the majority who decide to become victims of their schedules and become the walking wounded, staying one step ahead of the grim reaper.


It’s ironic that most of us don’t get it.


Taking care of yourself is – and should be – the first line of defense. It is also the best gift you can give to your family.


When we manage our well-being it enables the rest of our loved ones to care for themselves. If you have a heart attack, stroke or accident as a result of years of self-neglect, it then becomes the responsibility of someone near and dear to you to give up their time to care for you. If you are engaging in behavior that you know is detrimental to your health, I suggest you begin now to ask a family member to put you into their schedule.


If we paid more attention to ourselves, there would be less anger and more joy. We would have more energy than we knew what to do with, and who knows? We just might be able to spend some time making the world a better place for future generations.


Author, humorist, PBS star and Fortune 500 trainer Loretta LaRoche lives in Plymouth, Mass. To share your pet peeves, questions or comments, write to Loretta LaRoche, The Humor Potential, 50 Court St., Plymouth, MA 02360, send email to inquiry@lorettalaroche.com, visit the website at www.stressed.com or call toll-free at 800-99-TADAH (82324).