How many times has someone asked “how are you?” this week? And how many times has your answer included the word “busy”?
It has become commonplace to replace “good” with “fine” and add “busy”. We’ve fallen into a cycle of busyness. In a pandemic, it's become even more complicated to set boundaries between work and home - which is why we're diving into signs that you're not taking enough time for you.
But first, why does this matter? Isn't being busy a good thing?
Science says no - constant, or chronic, busyness actually has significant impacts on your physical and mental health. In fact, elongated periods of stress take years of your life, so coping with or reducing busyness is essential.
So how do you know you're just too busy? Here are a few signs we've picked up on at Jiyubox:
1. You're never "good", always "busy" or "stressed"
If day-to-day conversations are just becoming the busy olympics, or you constantly find yourself complaining about the amount on your plate - it might be time to re-evaluate your responsibilities.
The language we use reflects how we feel about something, so simply by curbing this habit to frame it in a positive way will probably help you feel better about the workload.
2. Looking at your calendar makes you feel overwhelmed
If you've scheduled yourself to the point that your calendar looks like a bulletin board of meetings and work, or you don't schedule breaks between meetings, it might be time to slow down. Whether you need to set boundaries at work or be mindful about your screen time, you can make your calendar your friend by scheduling time to be unplugged, to let your mind rest.
Downtime is essential to workplace productivity and also your health. According to Scientific American, times of idleness or allowing your mind to drift actually can help you identify better ideas and process information more effectively.
3. You've forgotten the basics of your routine (more than once)
Whether it's something as simple as forgetting to put in a contact lens, brush your teeth or journal before bed - missing these key elements of your routine might mean you're spending more time on work or other things and foregoing your needs.
It also could mean your mind is preoccupied to the point it can't remember to remind you about your routine. Whichever the case, try to expand the time between work and sleep (in the morning and evening) to let your mind rest and fulfill those needs.
4. You haven't felt "caught up" in months
Whether at work or in your personal life, you might feel like you're always playing catch up. It's an exhausting state. If it's being behind on deadlines or a neverending to-do list, you might feel like it will be impossible to catch up.
Chances are you spend more time stressing about being behind then actually working toward getting something done. This cycle can lead to our final sign that you've taken too much on; burnout.
5. You're burnt out
Burnout is a state of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion caused by extended periods of stress which can affect all areas of your life, and your outlook. Burnout syndrome is a serious condition that usually comes from taking on unhealthy amounts of stress.
If any combination of these signs resonate with you, it might be time to consider how your responsibilities are taking a toll on you, and where you might need to set boundaries or let go of the responsibility altogether.
Ultimately, chronic busyness and subsequent stress (and burnout) can be very taxing to your health, so it's important to get ahead of it at the first signs.