We all want to be successful and like to be recognized for our hard work. Words like “grind” & “hustle” are more than just expressions of action but they’re often used to show importance and status. Let’s be honest, being busy is trending heavy, but how busy are we really?.. & what does it mean?
Research done by the American Psychological Association has provided clear insight into America’s obsession with busyness. Over 134 industrialized countries have laws setting limits on the length of the work week. The U.S. has none. As a result, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), over 65% of Americans in the U.S. work more than 40 hours per week.
Although productivity is important in maintaining a growing economy and in enhancing an individual’s sense of fulfillment, this influx of busyness is damaging to our quality of life. The Better Life Index contains a series of statistics measuring different topics that contribute to overall happiness. Topics testing the quality of life of populations around the world range from the percentage of the population with housing, employment, and healthcare to the number of people who have a good social network/support system. Under Work-life Balance, 74% of the U.S population is beneath the global average of prioritizing personal health and career. We’re so obsessed with being busy that we don’t know how to relax… & it shows.
“We know that chronic stress can take a toll on a person’s health. It can make existing health problems worse, and even cause disease, either because of changes in the body or bad habits people develop to cope with stress. The bottom line is that stress can lead to real physical and emotional health consequences,” said Katherine C. Nordal, Ph.D., APA’s executive director for professional practice.
A little stress here and there doesn’t make or break us. In fact, it is within those challenges that we develop new skills and grow. However, relentless, constant stress can be the culprit for both physical and psychological symptoms such as migraines, weight gain/loss, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. At this point, busyness is ingrained in our culture and in our health habits.
The desire to constantly be busy can involve many factors. For some, busyness can serve as a distraction from something painful or difficult to address in one's life. For others, it can be rooted in how much we value what others think about us in comparison to how we think of ourselves. This directly relates to how we measure our own self-worth. These deep emotions and issues often go unnoticed and disguise themselves in various ways. One of the first signs of a disguised issue is evidence of an imbalance in our lives. Turns out this chronic busyness that has taken many of us over may not be the crown we thought it was, but a sign of some inner work needing to be sorted out.
How do we pump the brakes? Time management & self-care are two important skills to build. “I don’t have time” is a common phrase, but the age old saying “You always have time for the things important to you” rings true in every instance. Allocating time to tend to your well being is the bare minimum. Aside from time spent eating and caring for our physical health, our mental health needs attention too. You can’t expect to reach the finish line if your mind can’t even focus on which direction to go in.
Self-care has been filling the media waves lately, and by the looks of it, we’ve been needing it. Meditation, yoga, writing, and taking walks, are all examples of popular self-care tactics to help re-center your being. Self-care practices are not just important for de-stressing but they create a time and space to be introspective - a time to quiet the mind enough to bring awareness to the kinks we carry throughout our days and how they influence us. Self-care can be a form of at-home therapy needed to set that busyness crown to rest and reinstate balance back into your life.