Stress and busyness are two distinct ways of operating in our culture that have become as routine as showering and sleeping. And yet, we often confuse the two. To be fair, they share similar characteristics...often having a full calendar, having to multi-task daily, and even missing important events. One major difference, is stress has the power to kill, which is why it's important to understand where you're really at.
You can be busy and have a healthy amount of stress attached to it. This means you're excited about what you're doing, you know what you have to get done, and you're comfortable with the amount of time you've blocked out to do it. You may feel busy, but you're not stressed out.
The flip side is having feelings of anxiousness, being overloaded, and fearful of not being able to complete what you need to do. Perhaps on top of this, you have the pressure of not being able to pay the bills and not getting enough sleep. All of that will cause an unhealthy amount of stress. So how do you know if you're busy, stressed or both? Here are some indicators to help you figure out what, if anything, needs to change.
Five signs you're stressed out in an unhealthy way
1. You have anxiety induced insomnia, meaning, you toss and turn at night and can't sleep because of all of your worries.
2. You feel anxious about your to-do list, and you feel like you're drowning in the amount of work and tasks that you need to accomplish that are right around the corner.
3. You have not prioritized your well-being and can't remember the last time you worked out or did something for yourself.
4. The work that you're doing does not excite you. It's either boring or you feel like you're not the right person for the work. This means it's taking you a long time to comprehend what you're doing, and that alone is causing increased stress.
5. Your job doesn't provide any fulfillment. You're just doing it to pay the bills.
Five signs you're busy in a healthy way
1. You have a full plate, but you're excited about the work, and you feel energized when you think of the tasks involved with getting it all done.
2. Your schedule is packed, but there are also appointments that are focused on your well-being, such as time with friends, working out or doing something relaxing.
3. You sometimes feel like there are so many fun things to accomplish that you don't have enough time to accomplish them all.
4. Everything that is in your calendar is something you want to do.
5. Your relationships, both at work and at home, fill you up and don't drain you. You just don't have enough time to spend with everyone as much as you would like.
It's important to know if you're stressed out or busy. When you're stressed out over a long period of time, burnout could be on the horizon, and nobody wants to experience the crash and unhealthy impact of that. Check in with yourself and notice what's going on. If you're feeling rushed, hopefully you're busy in a healthy way, but if you're stressed, take action now.