“Oh I’m just so busy and stressed”

I hear it all the time. From my clients, my friends, the lady standing behind me at the checkout. These days, everyone is busy.

But, when did being busy and stressed become such a badge of honor?

When did we start competing over who has more on their plate?

And when did we start using “busy” and “stress” as an excuse for inconsiderate and downright rude behavior?

Now I am normally a very positive person, but this really gets my goat, because you know what? I am just so over hearing people tell me that they are “busy” and that this “busy-ness” is making them stressed and that this stress somehow makes them better then everyone else.

Stress is nothing to boast over. And you know why?

Because all this excess stress we are so proud of, is making us sick.

Time for a little biology (I am a doctor after all).

When we are under stress, our bodies releases the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol helps our body deal with the clear and present danger we are facing, like say…a man-eating tiger. To do that, it dials down the systems we don’t require (like our immune reproductive and digestive systems) to combat the clear and present danger in front of us and mobilise energy stores from fat. In small doses, it’s great for us. It keeps us alive and gives us what we need, when we need it, to get through stressful situations.

But how often are we faced with a tiger? These days our stressors tend to be more long term. These deadlines, that client, those perfect instagram posts. The longer a stress is around, the longer cortisol stays in our system, which means the longer our non-stress bodily systems are suppressed.

Suppress our immune systems and we get sick.

Suppress our digestive system and we get stomach pains, our bowel habits change and we may even get Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Suppress our reproductive system and we may get irregular periods, PMS or have difficulty getting pregnant.

Too much cortisol in our system:

– damages the cells in the brain that are responsible for long term memory formation

– reduces bone formation, predisposing us to osteoporosis

– increases blood pressure by making us more sensitive to adrenaline

– produces an increase in appetite and cravings for fatty and sugary foods.

Stress is making us weak, fat, flatulent and forgetful. Hardly the successful entrepreneurs we want to be seen as and hardly something to be proud of.

There are so many ways to manage your stress, I mean, I wrote an entire book on how to manage your chemical, physical and emotional stress. You can also check out some of the handy articles on the topic from other entrepreneurs across this blog:

Need More Time? Think About This..

Do You Struggle With Overwhelm?

Time Management: Pick A Tool, Any Tool

8 Reasons To Add Yoga To Your Busy Lifestyle

The Struggle To Switch Off 

Now is the time to stop the glorification of busy. Stop wearing stress as some sort of medal and stop measuring our self worth and success by how little downtime we have. Because guess what? We’re all too freaking busy to listen to your complaining anyway.