By Hanna Seymour
The College Girl’s Survival Guide
I was sitting at the kitchen table, practically crying to my mom. My schedule had gotten out of control. I was so busy and tired, and I just needed to vent to someone about it. “No one’s impressed,” she said. Like a bullet to the heart. It may seem harsh, but that’s my momma. Speaks truth like it is. No sugarcoating. She has the discernment to know when you can take it straight and when you might need it wrapped in a hug. “Honey, no one is impressed by how busy you are.”
We’ve all been insanely busy. The seasons when your schedule is out of control and you’re barely surviving: not enough sleep, not enough quality time with the important people in your life, not enough quality time with God, not enough rest (which is different from sleep, y’all!), and definitely not enough time for an actual personal life. When you and I get that busy, everyone gets the short end of the stick. Including ourselves.
At some point along the way, you and I believed our culture’s lie that busyness is next to godliness. If you aren’t busy, you’re not important. You’re not hustling enough. You’re not contributing enough. You’re not valuable enough. You’re not enough.
Being busy is king. We think our crazy schedules should be admired. That people should recognize how busy we are and realize how important and impressive we are.
But what does being too busy really mean? It means you’re a slave to your schedule. It means you aren’t prioritizing well. It means you aren’t letting go of things that need to be let go. It probably means you aren’t spending quality time with the people you love. It definitely means you aren’t taking care of yourself. And like my momma would say, that’s not really impressive.
So how do you and I get out of the busy trap?
- Stop glorifying your busy schedule. Remind yourself that no one is impressed. Being busy doesn’t mean you’re Superwoman. It means you’re overworked and your schedule is out of control.
- Say no. That two-letter word can be so hard to say, but if you’re too busy, say it. Say no to everything—and I do mean everything—until you start feeling balanced again.
- Look at how you’ve been spending your time and see what top priorities you’ve been neglecting. For me the top priorities that always go first are time with my face in the Bible, quality time with my husband, set time to actually rest and relax, and time for working out. I can’t expect to feel like I’m doing more than barely surviving if I’m not doing these things. Yet they’re always the first things to go when my schedule gets busy.
A quick word about resting: If you look up the verb rest in the Merriam-Webster dictionary online, you’ll find a list of definitions. The first few are what you’d expect, but two of my favorites are: “to stop using (something) so that it can become strong again,” and “to be free from anxiety or disturbance.”
True resting should make us strong again. True resting should free us from anxiety. I came to this conclusion during a time in my life when “resting” usually took the form of lying on the couch and binge-watching Netflix. Now, I’m not going to knock bingewatching. There is a place and a time for it, but it isn’t something that helps me feel strong or free from anxiety. Things that do make me feel strong and help free me from anxiety: opening the windows in our house, listening to music, dancing in the kitchen with my husband, prepping and cooking something fun or elaborate, going on an early morning hike in the fall, spending time curled up with a book, carving out intentional quiet/alone time . . . My list could go on.
While these things bring me true rest, some take planning and effort. Yet that is real rest. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that watching TV or scrolling through social media is rest. It’s not. Find out what makes you feel strong and free from anxiety. Make a list and refer back to it when you know you need to make time for rest in your schedule.
So let’s stop the insanity. Stop the busyness. As my momma would say, “No one’s impressed anyway.” And if we were sitting together at my kitchen table, I’d reach over to give you a big hug, just like my momma.
Author of The College Girl’s Survival Guide, Hanna Easley Seymour has mentored young women for over ten years, helping them transition smoothly from high school to college and beyond. She holds a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences from James Madison University and a M.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of South Carolina. Combining faith with a passion for helping others, Hanna explains how to tackle problems with good sense and grace on her website, HannaSeymour.com.
Adapted from the book The College Girl’s Survival Guide: 52 Honest, Faith-Filled Answers to Your Biggest Concerns by Hanna Seymour. Copyright (c) Hanna Seymour by Faithwords. Reprinted with permission of Hachette Book Group, New York, NY. All rights reserved.