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Redefining Success: Beyond the Badge of Busyness

Written by Julie Palmer



How often do you answer the question “How are you?” with a deep sigh, followed by “I’m just so busy”?

It seems like our default state has become one of constant motion, where being swamped is worn as a badge of honor—a misguided mark of success.

I’ve come to see “busy” as the four-letter word it truly is—a curse in disguise. Researchers at Johns Hopkins have even coined a term for our obsession with activity: “the cult of busy.” It’s a societal shift I’ve felt keenly, especially as the years seem to accelerate, a sentiment echoed across generations. Could our technological tether be to blame? In an age where moments of peace are often surrendered to the lure of screens and endless scrolling, I’ve embarked on a personal rebellion against the hustle.


Finding Stillness in the Storm

Amid the chaos, I’ve carved out islands of stillness. Just 10 to 15 minutes a day of quiet reflection has unveiled emotions buried beneath layers of tasks and to-do lists. It’s startling how unfamiliar this process of feeling can be when you’ve been in the fast lane for too long. Yet, acknowledging feelings like overwhelm, anxiety, or sadness is the first step in navigating through them.

This journey of introspection became more poignant as I navigated personal challenges, such as supporting my son through a difficult recovery period. The powerlessness of not being able to ‘fix’ his pain was a profound teacher in itself. It underscored the necessity of facing, rather than fleeing, our emotions.


A Breath of Fresh Air

Slowing down has allowed me to breathe—not just the shallow breaths of day-to-day survival, but deep, life-affirming breaths. As a yoga instructor, I’ve always espoused the benefits of breathwork, but applying it to my own life has been a reminder of its transformative power. This simple act of self-care is a beacon in the fog of busyness, a reminder that we can control our pace.


The Toll of the ‘B’ Word

Let’s face it: the glorification of “busy” is toxic. It cultivates a chronic stress that weaves itself into the fabric of our well-being, often unnoticed until its toll becomes undeniable. Symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and anxiety are just the tip of the iceberg. Recognizing this has been my cue to pause, reflect, and realign with my values.


A Call to Action

This is more than a personal revelation; it’s a call to arms. In sharing my story, I hope to inspire a collective shift. Let’s challenge the norm, embracing stillness and self-awareness as the true benchmarks of success. By doing so, we not only nurture our own well-being but also set a powerful example for those around us.


Join me in making “too busy” a thing of the past.

Let’s champion a culture where being present, mindful, and balanced is the ultimate goal. Together, we can redefine what it means to live a fulfilled life.

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