Making Time for Kindness and Connection
Today’s culture preaches that busyness is a good thing. That it’s something to aspire to and brag about, that it’s a marker of success. But in reality, being “busy” usually just means being overworked, exhausted, and stretched too thin. It becomes impossible to be our best selves, connect with others, and treat them with kindness. Here’s why that happens, and how to fix it.
There’s no time for the things we value.
Perhaps the clearest pitfall busyness is that we don’t have time for the things we purport to care about. Most people would list their relationships, their health, and making a difference among their top priorities. But how often are we “too busy” to hit the gym, see a friend, or do volunteer work?
Business creates health problems.
Being busy all the time leads to high levels of stress and anxiety for most people. When you’re constantly on the go and there are too many items on your to-do list, it’s hard to feel at peace.
Busyness doesn’t just lead to feeling bad, either. The stress and exhaustion that accompany it are often contributing factors in high blood pressure and insomnia, as well as strokes, heart attacks, and other major health events.
It leads people to treat others badly.
When you always have somewhere to be and something you’re worried about, kindness often takes a backseat. You might not even realize how you’re treating the people around you.
You don’t have time to help out a friend or a family member. You don’t notice how other people are doing. You get impatient and snap because you’re tired and stressed. When you’re overly busy, it’s hard to give much attention to other people’s feelings.
Reflect on how you treat others.
The first step in being kinder is understanding how you treat others. Take some time to reflect on your relationships and interactions with the people around you.
How did you interact with your barista, your landlord, or your co-worker? How are you showing up for your partners, your family members, or your friends? What are you doing to improve your connections with them? It’s only when you identify where you’re at that you can start making improvements.
Commit to random acts of kindness.
There are so many small things we can do every day and every week to be kinder. Often, they take almost no time at all. Pick up coffee for a co-worker, run an errand for your partner, reach out to a friend who’s going through a rough time.
Think about the big picture.
When it feels like there’s not enough time for everything, considering the bigger picture can help put it into perspective. Do you want to be remembered as someone who was always busy? Or do you want to be remembered as someone who was kind, who cared about others, and who built meaningful relationships?
In the cult of busyness and accomplishment, basic human decency and even valued relationships often get tossed aside. But it’s never too late to change how you approach your time and your interactions with the people around you.
About the Author
Jen is a freelance writer, blogger, and yoga teacher who left her office job in Boston to travel the world with her husband. She previously worked in international development and academic research, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Rwanda. Some of her biggest passions include promoting responsible and mindful travel and helping her students develop their personal yoga practice.