Monday, August 25, 2014

Blog #175: EVERYONE RELAX


Here's the thing. Nobody cares how "busy" you are. Your stressful lifestyle is not a badge of honor. Having a terrible work life balance is not synonymous with being a "hard worker".

Everyone is busy. I'm pretty sure that's just called life but we're also pretty much just as busy as we choose to be. And some of us like a full calendar and thrive like that while others of us feel maxed out if our whole week is spoken for. I like to be busy but I prefer my busy to involve much more relationally based activities than work activities - at least on nights and weekends.

 True, some jobs have higher demands than others and many of us have passions that put us regularly in high stress situations. True many individuals unfortunately must over extend themselves to feed their families - though they are rarely the ones I've ever heard voicing how busy they are. I'm not against a busy lifestyle per se, but I do take umbrage with the tendency to equivocate being busy with being important. One does not necessitate the other.

This happens a SURPRISING amount in the caregiving and mental health field, where we preach and preach self care but fall into the trap of martyrdom because we think that we must suffer for the cause in order to be legitimate. We tell one another "Take a break! Take time off" while thinking to ourselves quietly "but I don't need to because I'm stronger/smarter/more disciplined"

We should really stop that. You are not important because you are busy. You are important because you are you. Yes, we do important work but we won't continue to be effective in said work if we keep these thin and/or nonexistent boundaries between what we do and who we are. No one is stronger or better for not taking breaks. No one is a harder worker because they answer their work emails from home and take calls in their off time.

 Today I overheard a conversation about someone who was out sick. "What happened before they had back up?" Someone asked. "They never called in sick" was the reply. Followed immediately by "So and so is a hard worker." That doesn't sound like a hard worker to me. Maybe this person is a hard worker but to me it sounds like either someone who was incredibly lucky and healthy or someone who had very poor work/life boundaries.

 I would wager that the vast majority of people who broadcast their stress and busy lifestyles are fully capable of making a choice to simplify and be less busy whether that means engaging in one less sport with their kids or finding an area to delegate. It is not always obvious but it is there, and to ignore the choice is actually an insult to those who really are trapped in a cycle of stress just to survive.

I'm not advocating for laziness or just doing the bare minimum and never going above and beyond at work. Sometimes a job might require a weekend day here and there but there should always be a way to balance it out whether through pay or flex scheduling. And maybe every now and then it doesn't quite balance - because life isn't fair and all that. But can't we all agree to make a concentrated effort to aim for a semblance of balance most of the time?

 There's something wrong when our family life, health, self esteem, and relationships become the collateral damage so that we can provide support to others in their family life, health, self esteem, and relationships. /soapbox

Let's just take a dance break to this song and call it good:

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