You should be your top priority

Asia Simone Burns, Editor-in-Chief

Two words have progressively come to bother me more and more: “I’m busy.” They roll off people’s tongues and drip off their lips with ease.

“I don’t watch TV. I’m too busy.”

“I can’t even find time to eat today. I’m busy.”

“I don’t have time to do anything anymore. I’m busy.”

But what I actually hear hits me like a brick nearly every time: “Those other things are not my priority.” It’s usually said by someone in the senior class with horrifically tired eyes and no motivation even to leave bed, let alone to get work done.

As a society, we have come to glorify the word “busy.” It is the most desirable state for someone to be in. We equate busyness to productivity, and there is very little we value more than productivity.

But the glorification of “busy” has produced a generation with skewed priorities. We have come to the point where we value “busy” above nearly everything.

Fun is no longer a priority, because we are busy. Doing the things we once enjoyed, whether they be drawing or running or writing, takes a backseat to productivity. Even our health is lower on the priority list than finishing work.

That’s not our fault. We were shaped to think this way. We were molded to believe that we must constantly stay busy to be productive and, therefore, valuable.

But this isn’t good for us. We cannot continue to push ourselves so hard to constantly work, constantly produce. If we do, sooner or later, “I’m busy” will turn into “I’m burnt out.”

Many of us know that, and do it anyway. We convince ourselves that we just have to make it two more days, two more weeks, two more months with this heavy load. Taking care of ourselves is something we can do later, once the rough part is done. But each time we cross something off our to-do lists, we earn three more tasks to complete, and the prospect of unloading seems even further from us.

So we have to work on reprioritizing now, and when we re-make our to-do lists, taking care of ourselves needs to be much higher on them.

Maybe you can’t afford to drop all your obligations for self-care activities. That doesn’t mean you don’t have the time.
Do you remember that podcast you love listening to, but haven’t made time for in weeks? Blast it while you’re in the shower before class and start your day off right.

Before you got so busy, you loved to run. Maybe you could go for a run as a study break to relax your mind.

Eating three meals a day isn’t really optional; you have to do it. But we live in a wonderful world where Taco Bell is open until 3 a.m. and IHOP serves pancakes 24/7. We can talk about the nutritional value of those options later. Right now, you need something in your belly.

You have time to have fun.

You have time to eat.

You have time to take care of yourself.

Make it a priority. The other stuff will be there. It can wait.

We can’t afford not to take care of ourselves. Each of us must realize that we are the priority. Our physical health, our soundness of mind, our quality of life is the priority, and we need to dedicate time toward caring for those things despite the work we need to do.

I know you’re busy. But don’t burnout.

Burns is a junior journalism and mass communication major.

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