Posted in Terms + Concepts

#NotImpressed by your #Stress

*Warning: sassy post ahead*

I’m convinced that some people don’t listen to the words that come out of their mouths. This especially happens when people describe their schedules, weekends, and evenings, by saying, “I’m just so busy,” accompanied by a sick grin.

I hate to play the role of mental health counselor, but… (couldn’t even type that with a straight face–of course I love to play the role of mental health counselor, though I’m wildly unqualified)… I have to wonder if you’ve caved to the idea of stress becoming a way of life. Does your desire to be busy double as your mechanism to hide? Do you know how to relax? Are you afraid of spending time with yourself? Why is your sense of self-worth intertwined with the completeness of your color-coded planner?

Ooooh, gurl. I’m not trying to read you to filth; I’m just tryna ask the important questions.

I will admit I’m underwhelmed by the whole “planner” lifestyle, though I know it works for people. Organization can be a great thing, but the idea of engineering a life based on appointments, tasks, and responsibilities–while spending a good deal of time recording those events in a planner, then doing them, and then complaining about doing them–leaves me wondering if there are better ways to be efficient.

Stress culture has become a competition in school and work. If you have even one ear open in a typical university campus’ Starbucks line (hell, even a high school lunch line), you’ll hear students brag about how they haven’t slept in days. It takes some of my students weeks to make an appointment for a 15-minute check-in. Even professionals will talk about how they spent all weekend buried in work. Teachers, even, take pictures of their cars in abandoned school parking lots and post them with exhausted captions: a badge of honor for being “so, so busy.”

We have been socialized in a capitalist culture that prioritizes work over play; just look at our labor laws. But, if we dig deep into our souls, we realize that all we want to do is play! There’s a reason we feel good when we take a walk in the park or dip our feet into the ocean. It’s because we have minimal responsibility to anyone or anything besides our own happiness, and we do need those moments–even if they are just moments. I feel sad at the idea that I was once a person who missed opportunities to connect because I was “too busy.” Too busy doing what?

I don’t want to be a person who says “I’m so busy” when someone asks me how things are going. Truth be told, I’m not that busy. I go to work, but when I get home, I nap, walk my dog, go to the gym, write this blog, watch Netflix, and hang out with people. On my weekends, I take road trips, go to bars, and disconnect. I recharge easily. Things have never been better since I simplified my life and committed to only a few very special projects. I can assure you that my resume will be nowhere near my ashes when I’m floating in a luminary somewhere over the Arctic Ocean.

Take some time and ask yourself a few honest questions: Are you willing to chill out when it’s time to chill out? What are the costs of simplifying and “playing” instead of working so damn hard? How does your values system prioritize “success” over happiness?




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