The past three days, I’ve barely left my apartment. (Granted, I was coming off a fever/stomach bug, and the weather in Chicago is rainy, cold, and makes you want to stay in bed for the rest of your life, but still). Yesterday I walked five minutes to Trader Joe’s and I was absolutely beat when I got home – not like me at all.
It got me thinking about how our culture deems being busy, exhausted, and burnt out as positive things. Meaning, if you’re not constantly moving or rushing from one thing to the next, you’re not working hard enough. You’re not achieving any goals. If you answer, “How are you?” with anything less than a laundry list of how busy you are, you’re just sitting around with your mouth wide open letting life pass you by. And that is some deep-seated bullshit.
Yes, there are times where I feel like everything is flying by so fast I can’t get a grip. And yes, I am not always blessed with a clear schedule. But it is so so so important to take time to re-center and recharge. If you’re constantly hanging on by a thread, how can you truly enjoy all the amazing things you’re doing? If you’re too “busy” that you can’t pause to breathe, feel feelings, and appreciate your work (and your self), then what’s the point?
I’ve always been a self-proclaimed “Busy Body;” I’m friends with many “Over-Achievers” and “Perfectionists.” It’s taken a massive mindset shift to realize that these phrases/attitudes, while glorified, are negative. They’re harmful to our well being as healthy, functioning humans. There is no such thing as perfect and there is no such thing as over-achieving. Each moment, accomplishment, goal, whatever it is, should be taken one step at a time. Allow yourself to lean into the process and celebrate the progress you’re making – don’t just barrel past it.
That’s not to say that being determined, hard working, and motivated are bad qualities – it’s the exact opposite. It’s being so hell-bent on living your best life that you know when you’re taking on too much. It’s slowing down so you can re-align with what you’re really trying to accomplish.
I mean, while on house arrest, I forced myself to take pause and get back to the basics. I deep-cleaned my entire apartment so I didn’t feel trapped and cluttered; I journaled for hours so my headspace felt the same. I lit candles, took long showers, practiced yoga – all with the intention of cleansing and setting myself up for the new year. At times I felt guilty that I wasn’t doing “enough.” I wasn’t “busy” enough. But self-care and self-love should always be a top priority – there is nothing wrong with allowing time for you.
Even when it feels like there is no time – there is. Take a breath. Check in. Give permission to put yourself first. Decide that your happiness and well being is more important than your hectic schedule. You'll be more apt to handle everything life throws at you if you're charged and centered. All you need is a change of mindset and busy is a thing of the past.