Being Too Busy and How it Affects Our Mental Health

In an article entitled “The Disease of Being Busy” by Omid Safi and featured on OnBeing, Safi ponders:

“Whatever happened to a world in which kids get muddy, get dirty, get messy, and heavens, get bored? Do we have to love our children so much that we overschedule them, making them stressed and busy — just like us?
What happened to a world in which we can sit with the people we love so much and have slow conversations about the state of our heart and soul, conversations that slowly unfold, conversations with pregnant pauses and silences that we are in no rush to fill?
How did we create a world in which we have more and more and more to do with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just… be?”

Truer words have never been spoken. We often live in a state of ‘rush.’ Long lists of things to do, our weekends packed with what needs to get done next, our work spills into our home time. We feel overwhelmed and under supported. This constant state of rush creates a ‘frayed’ feeling, one in which we are quicker to temper, quicker to react, and when we finally do sit down? It is an exhausted, crash on the couch, zone out in front of the TV response.

Safi goes on to write about the disease of being busy:

“This disease of being “busy” (and let’s call it what it is, the dis-ease of being busy, when we are never at ease) is spiritually destructive to our health and wellbeing. It saps our ability to be fully present with those we love the most in our families, and keeps us from forming the kind of community that we all so desperately crave.”

First, I love the definition that being too busy is a disease – for that state of rush I refer to, is as Safi describes when he notes that we are never at ease. Always thinking of the next thing we have to get done, the work emails that have to get answered after supper, the places we have to shuffle our kids to, we are constantly overstimulated.

Our emotional and physical states are affected by the disease of being too busy. We are much better served to consciously make the decision to slow down, to create goals that include cutting back screen time, limiting technology, building our time to include slower moments, richer experiences, meaningful conversations. Safi reminds us:

“Tell me you remember you are still a human being, not just a human doing. Tell me you’re more than just a machine, checking off items from your to-do list. Have that conversation, that glance, that touch. Be a healing conversation, one filled with grace and presence.”

To read the whole article (it is well worth your time):

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Photo credit: http://Photo by Karen Lau on Unsplash


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