Busy is not a badge of honour

Slow down — life is not a rush or a competition. Enjoy the simpler things in life.

The Huffington Post (3rd April, 2016) published a letter by Di Westaway (CEO, business woman) that she wrote to her daughter called "An open letter to my daughter: Busy is not a badge of honour". I wanted to share it with you this week as I have been looking a busyness and questioning why we are so busy and if we are manufacturing our own busyness because we think we should — as a badge of honour. 

I think she has summed up "busyness" so well  and why being busy is not a good thing for ourselves or our families or in fact for society as a whole.

SLOW DOWN and op out of the rat race, you don't need to fill your day with activities to try and prove something. Whilst we must not be idle, we need to find a balance between productive work and time to smell the roses or watch the sunset.

To my darling daughter,

I wish I wasn't always rushing around, busy with shopping, cooking, washing, helping the boys with homework, arguing, nagging, negotiating with Dad, working, studying, counselling friends, helping others and running myself ragged. I wish I didn't snap.

I wish I hadn't let my diary explode with stuff that stressed me out until I couldn't even smile at your jokes. I wish I didn't yell all sorts of things I didn't mean. And I wish I didn't let myself get worked up until I exploded and we collapsed in tears.

I wish I didn't get consumed by FOMO every time I checked Facebook to see everybody having more fun than me. I wish I hadn't been a busy bee, a slave, a machine, a work-horse and worse.

It's okay not to follow me down this track. It might be a first world problem, but being a busy bee can make us feel rotten. At best we're always tired and emotional. At worst we're overweight, stressed, anxious and depressed.

I used to wear busy as a badge of honour. We all did. Most of my friends, in fact. Like the corporate lawyer with the exotic life who travels the world, but is always rushed and pudgy. Or my 40-year-old executive mate with two teenage kids, who works full time while doing an MBA instead of sleeping, jogs in her lunch break and wonders why she's so teary. There's my fitness trainer friend who's trying to quit sugar while running a cleaning business with injuries that never heal. Why?

In my mum's generation, it was the 'Protestant work ethic'. Grandma is still sometimes too busy to chat. She cleans the oven while she's still using it and starts washing the dishes while we're still swallowing dinner. She never makes time to lie on the couch with a novel.
She's busy with charity work, church work, volunteer work, gardening, kitten caring, grand-parenting, emailing and housekeeping. OMG. Lucky she's not on Facebook.

I, too, was the busiest bee. But I've stopped. Now I understand why.

Dr Libby Weaver, biochemist and women's health expert, calls it 'Rushing Women's Syndrome'.

She says 'Rushing Women's Syndrome' is the biochemical effect of always being in a rush. And urgent rushing is unhealthy for us -- in fact, it can lead to chronic health problems, and hormone-based health issues including infertility, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome and issues with menstruation and menopause.

A 'Rushing Woman' needs a daily coffee fix, constantly says how busy she is, has high levels of stress hormones, has sugar cravings, is tired but wired, has no time for self, checks her phone, texts and Facebook constantly, sleeps too little, always looks for more ways to feel loved or praised, can't say no and feels guilty when she does.

Weaver says we do all this stuff because we are in a "relentless pursuit to never feel rejected".

Sound familiar?

It's not our fault. This need to be loved is hardwired in us from birth. It's a survival mechanism to get adults to care for us.

But when we're all grown up, we can let it go. It's not easy, but it's worth it. Once we accept that we are perfect, gorgeous, wonderful women and learn to love ourselves, we can make simple, if somewhat difficult, changes to prevent busy-bee syndrome. Let's bin this badge of honour.

Let's swap self-less for self-love so we can make the most of everyday and share more joy.
For me, it has been a big mindset shift. I've had to prioritise me. I've learned to say "no" to things that are bad for my health like sitting for eight hours, drinking a bottle of red, or doing everybody's washing. I've learned to avoid things that bring self-loathing, like devouring a tub of Gelato or a packet of Tim Tams.

I've replaced those things with activities that make me joyous, like going for a sunrise walk, riding my bike along the beach or strolling in the park, even when I'm busy.

My beautiful daughter, I know you sometimes roll your eyes when I suggest an ocean swim instead of wine, or a sunset hike instead of pizza. But it's fun. Diving into a challenging physical adventure in nature with loved ones brings pure joy. Yes, it's busy, but this busyness relieves stress because it's about nurturing ourselves. Then we can love others.
So, don't wait another 30 years to learn this lesson my darling daughter. Loving yourself by nurturing your health is the best insurance policy money can't buy to ensure that you can love others and they can love you. And, most importantly, so you can love yourself. Because you are enough.

Just don't get so busy you can't see it.

Love, Mum


  1. I see so many people out walking each day - but with their phones in their ears the entire time! Can't they just have peace and quiet and enjoy nature? Seems sad to me =( Personally I enjoy unplugged time =)
    This craziness of busy-ness surely isn't going to be good for our stress levels - we certanily need to take time to lie on the grass and watch the clouds float by =)

    1. I agree, its frustrating to see as they don't realise what they are doing to themselves and what they are missing out on :(

      Sky completely cloudy today, no chance of watching clouds floating by, perhaps leaves as they get blown off the trees. !!!

  2. I have a couple of friends who have made busy their idol; yet they just can't see it. Or say no.

    1. And its sad to see as they don't seem to realise what it is doing to themselves and their families :(

  3. True words.Thankyou for Sharing your wisdom with your daughter, and us, so we learn what is truly important in our lives. People, not things!It's hard to find the balance!

    1. I think this lady was very brave to write this to her daughter and publish it - it is a strong reminder to many women. Yes, it is all about balance.

  4. Wisdom.
    So many books written on this topic, if we stopped to read them all we'd be . . . too busy! Thanks for this sensible call to do what God has called us to do.

    1. :) Its all about balance and that is something millions men and women do not have and our families are suffering as a result.

      Have a wonderful week .

  5. This was so interesting.

    I know a couple of people who had very troubled childhoods and seem to always be busy, busy, busy. It seems to be a coping mechanism, like they don't want to be quiet long enough to be alone with their thoughts, so they keep striving, striving, striving.

    This open letter ties into that idea.

    It took me until my empty nest years to not be so caught up in cleaning and to just live in the moment. I did it backwards. When my children were young I should have not be so concerned about cleaning the house and should have been more present.

    Thanks for sharing this thought-provoking post.

    1. I do think some women fill their day because its makes them more important and needed - we all like to be needed, but for some women its a really addictive habit. I agree, I also thought the letter was very thought provoking and a very good reminder to many women.

      Thanks for stopping by :))

  6. No kids, but I can relate to being busy. It is touted in a badge of honor here in D.C., but I am trying to fight that. :)

    1. I work in a city where being busy is also considered a badge of honour and its just crazy :( I'm with you, I took take a much quieter route through life.

  7. This is a wonderful post. I know for me, " busy" is a pride issue.

  8. 'Rushing Women's Syndrome' - isn't that the epidemic of our culture! We are all so busy, but that's really not consistent with a life that imitates God. He built rest into the fabric of all he made, so the attitude of being constantly on the go can be a manifestation of a lack of faith and trust that God will provide. thanks!

    1. God never told us to be busy, He did say not to be idle, a big differences!! He also told us to find quiet times to focus on Him - many people find this very hard.

  9. Busy is an idol, busy gets too much, but there's something else in the article that we need to be wary of as well... And that is making an idol of "me time" and "self-love". It is very unscriptural. We shouldn't love ourselves... and we are NOT enough - I disagree with those last statements. Taking care of our health - especially our spiritual health, but also physical health, is important, but it can easily become an idol in our lives and that is also something to be just as wary of as being too busy.

    1. I agree and far too many women are sucked in by this idol. I know people who are hooked on exercise and its become a idol - they can't miss a session and it obsessive.


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