The glorification of busy – what’s it costing you?

busy is not a virtueHave you noticed how busy has become an auto-reply?

As in: “How’ve you been?”


Busy is acceptable. Busy is glorified. It creates all kinds of associations like productive. Things are happening. In our busy world, we’re busy all the time. Even when we have a free moment, an “unproductive” few seconds of waiting, the almost instinctive reaction has become reaching for your phone or some other screen to “check something.”

For many women, busy has become the (almost constant) expectation.

When you’re busy, you’re in demand and you’re getting things done.

Except when you’re not.

Unnecessary, extra, glorified busy is causing a lot of overload, overwhelm, and yes, overeating.

One of the lessons you learn in the world of fitness is that the rest days are just as important as the days when you work really hard. It’s when the muscles repair and rebuild themselves.

Rest between periods of intense activity is where the gains happen.

It’s the same with our brains, our spirit, our creativity, and ourselves. We need sleep and rest and quiet and periods of stopping to…

check-in and reconnect
and be our best selves.

Busyness is a choice NOT a virtue

We live in a culture that encourages constant doing. Busy is the expectation and the new normal. For many women, NOT being busy and NOT doing feels more uncomfortable than it used to.

I was at an event recently that included an unstructured opportunity for contemplation. There was a quiet room set aside for contemplation, meditation, and prayer. There were a number of people who walked into that room, looked around, and quickly began checking their cell phones – I guess because in that (perhaps) uncomfortable moment, they felt a need for something to do.

An extreme example perhaps, but they are not alone. It happens in churches. In art museums. In restaurants when your companion momentarily leaves the table. Places where we used to exhale and just be (if only for a moment), are now moments where we reach for something to do.

Many of us are finding it harder and harder to let ourselves sit quietly. To contemplate. To do nothing. And as a result, we are functioning (and over-functioning) with very tired brains.

You might even find that you now use busyness as a way to stop or avoid doing something else.

When you’re exhausted do you zone out by clicking mindlessly around the internet?

When you’re too tired to think straight do you head to the kitchen to find something to eat?

When you come home from work and you’re tired and cranky and exhausted by the thought of deciding what’s for dinner, do you kick off your shoes and lay down, or do you snack mindlessly while you attack the dinner question or one of the ten other things on your to-do list? Or do you check your email?

When it’s hard to stop, busy can become a way of zoning out, of “doing nothing” (doing being the operative word) or even procrastinating.

Too often, people who don’t want to do something at the given moment waste their energy “doing” something else that doesn’t matter instead of choosing rejuvenation and a reviving break before diving into the dreaded project. And all that busy procrastinating means that after the job IS done, there’s not enough time or energy for a real feel-good celebration or reward. That’s another place where chocolate and extra calories end up taking the place of something that might really feed your soul.

Do you suffer from the glorification or expectation of busy? Do you have guilt or discomfort over stopping or at the idea of allowing yourself to not do anything for ten minutes? An hour? A day? How hard has it become to shut down your brain and all its busy thoughts?

What price does the glorification of busy cost you?

An extra ten pounds? Guilt about saying no (and not doing more)? Stress or a cluttered mind? I’d love to hear how this affects you and your thoughts about busy. Just leave a comment below.

Take good care,

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