Finding the Balance Between Busyness and Happiness

Do you have a habit of staying unimaginably busy? I do. I do this thing when I’ve spent any amount of time doing nothing (watching TV, relaxing) where I feel guilty for not being productive. I tell myself could have been writing or doing homework (I’m working towards my Bachelor’s in Journalism) and I make myself feel bad about it. My doctor recently asked me if I hallucinate (I have paranoid schizophrenia) when I’m doing something I like like running or reading, and I realized that I don’t really do much of what I like anymore, so I couldn’t answer his question. I told him that I’m either working, doing. homework, or sleeping. He said that I really need to try to give myself at least one hour a day of something I enjoy, to see if this helps me unwind enough so that the stress of my life is not affecting my brain disorder. I really have been trying since then (hence my new goal of posting to this blog more often). Do you feel guilty about those moments of self care, or do you practice self care at all?

My old manager told me once that she got her degree while she was working full time and raising her daughter. Another colleague of mine is attending six classes in graduate school while working full time. I can barely do three classes, and it’s undergraduate! I barely get by, and when I mean barely, I mean I turn in homework mere hours before it is due. I can’t imagine having children. I’m so exhausted when I get home. I can’t imagine having to cook dinner, do baths, help with homework, and deal with bedtime.

I wonder what propels us to stay so busy. In my case, it’s to get a college degree, but some claim that we use busyness as an excuse to not think about our lives and how happy we are (or are not) in them. I wonder about that. Are we busy because there are things we always want to accomplish, or that we are afraid of down time? And why do I feel guilty when I am not being “productive”? Really, what is so bad about sitting down to watch a television show I like? My dad watches lots of TV, and it seems to work very well for him. (My father is a happy man.) And what does productivity mean anyway? When we talk about self care, isn’t taking care of ourselves productive towards living happy lives?

Some studies indicate that busyness is a status in the US, one that people are impressed by. Have we become more busy because it makes us feel popular? Does being busy make us feel good about ourselves?

I’m interested in the answer of these questions as I navigate myself to a life that is full as much as it is happy. In the meantime, an hour of leisure a day keeps the hallucinations away.

2 thoughts on “Finding the Balance Between Busyness and Happiness

  1. Michael Reply

    I like to think of my activity in terms of ying and yang. Pushing out or letting in. There’s nothing inherently wrong with “letting in” or what I used to call relaxing, but the active part of me always wants to make sure that what I am letting in, is healthy or at least neutral.

    Also, strangely enough, when I go go go, I find I don’t have enough people who I can chat with about my excitement. I know sometimes I, “do nothing” because I’m holding back to protect my feelings of over sharing successes.

    1. Allie Burke Reply

      This is an interesting perspective. I think a lot about that too, oversharing. I like what you said about it being healthy. That’s definitely important.

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