You Don't Have to be "On" All The Time

Does This Sound Like You?

It seems like the latest trend in young professionals is constantly being busy. For some, it’s a coping mechanism. For others, it’s a habit that we didn’t know we had until we realized we couldn’t stop. Others will find that being busy seems to be the only way they can feel like they are making moves toward a better future or more solid career.

It's perfectly normal to strive to be busy every day, but just because you're always busy doesn't mean you're always going to be fulfilled. There will always be another fire to put out. You want your boss and coworkers to not feel like they’re picking up your slack, your children and family to feel attended to, your friends to feel cared about and your passions to be realized. When you take a break, it feels like you’re either forgetting something or neglecting something, and you’re not sure which is worse. When your main focus is making sure you’re always focused, you don’t even have a second to think about your short-term or long-term happiness.

My Story

When I was in undergrad, I didn’t think for a second that I needed (or even deserved) some time to take it easy and simply exist. I was convinced that in order to become successful, I had to have a full schedule at all times, almost every day of the week. If I wasn’t working, I was doing homework. If I wasn’t doing homework, I was with friends. If I wasn’t with friends, I was looking for extra curricular activities. The list of options was endless, and my schedule was jam-packed.

I’ll be honest, this worked for a bit, especially when I felt like I was all alone in the world. I was able to fill that time with other things that made me feel like I had a purpose, even if that purpose was forcing myself to say “yes” to yet another thing I didn’t really have time to do (or want to do). It was grueling and overwhelming, but I found ways to hide it like a pro. 

It wasn’t until my resident assistant started teaching me about self-care that I realized that I was spiraling into unhealthy habits and becoming a person I didn’t even recognize anymore. As I became more aware of my need to be chronically busy, I realized that I didn’t like the person I was; I didn’t give myself time to call home, my creativity struggled, and I was becoming pretty disconnected from the things that I loved doing. It was shocking for me to realize that being busy was actually pulling me further from where I wanted to be in life. 

Enjoy Yourself

Go ahead. Watch that next episode. Listen to that new album on repeat. Crawl under the covers and take a nap. Write it all out. Whatever you need to do to combat the voice in your head that takes the enjoyment out of life, do that. The peace you’ll feel before moving into your next responsibility will be far better and more rewarding when you become recharged. It's all about finding the crucial balance between ambition and enjoyment.

Need to make sure you have time blocked out for yourself this week? Set aside some time in your Weekly Planner, among the rest of the things you have to get done. This is a great way to make sure all of your emotional needs are met.

Related Articles

1 comment
  • Jeanna Paden
    Jeanna Paden
    I had a very similar experience in undergrad. Learning that it was okay to turn my brain off every once in a while and stop overthinking has been essential to my adult life. Great article!
    February 21, 2018 - 1 liked this