We live in a society that rewards being productive.  From an early age, we learn that by doing more, we can achieve more.

However, busyness can also be thought about as a modern day status symbol.  Being busy means that we’re doing many things. That we have a full life. That our time is precious. In short, it says ”I’m important”.  Because modern social structures reinforce the importance of being busy and productive, people often feel in someway guilty or less valuable for taking time out or ‘slowing down’.

Whilst we place such emphasis on the importance of being busy and of being seen to be busy by others, research has shown that being busier is not linked to more fulfilment or happiness and higher levels of busyness are linked with lower quality of life and higher risk of suffering poor mental health.

QUESTION: How has this time of coronavirus, when our lives have all changed dramatically over the past months, affected your sense of ‘busyness’?  Does it feel like a relief to have a slower pace of life or have you become more busy? What new form of ‘busyness’ have you adopted?  What do you think is driving this response?

For many people who are used to being very busy, they may be confronted with feelings of insecurity about their self-worth without this important aspect of their lives. This can feel very uncomfortable.  Keeping busy can also protect people from experiencing negative thoughts and feelings, and so it is important to be aware of how your mental state has been impacted upon in relation to the changes that have happened in our daily lives. If this seems to fit with you then it is possible that being constantly busy is your way of avoiding some difficult issues in your life.

Post written by Dr Lucy Viney – 16thMarch 2020