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We Need to Devalue Being Busy and Start Valuing Rest and Mental Health

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“We all have the same 24 hours every day … you have same number of hours as Beyonce.”

I mean we do … but also we don’t.

We are constantly bombarded by this grind culture, whether we want to be part of it or not. We wear sleepless nights as badges of honor. Those with jam-packed schedules are congratulated and those who dare rest are often condemned and told that’s why they aren’t further along on their goals, in their life.

Because we all have the same 24 hours in a day, right? We should all be trying to maximize our time, our output and our productivity. Even when it comes at a price to our sanity, mental health and general well-being. And when we don’t seem to be accomplishing as much as our peers, making as much money as our peers, going on as many vacations as our peers, we feel guilty. We shame ourselves.

We feel guilty for resting and slowing down. For sleeping and listening to our bodies. Because we all have the same 24 hours in a day, so if they can do it, so can we, right?


Our 24 hours are not created equal. Privilege plays a huge role in how our hours are used. When you have the means to hire someone to clean your home, buy pre-prepared meals, drive your children to school and generally have the financial capability to outsource menial and tiresome tasks, you add time to your day. Because instead of doing the dishes or folding laundry, all of a sudden, you have time to manage your tasks or work toward turning your passion project into your full-time job.

When you have extra hours in the day, you can take care of yourself and others around you. You have the mental headspace to take care of your mental health, whether it be making sure you have time to pick up your medications or just taking 10 minutes to journal before bed. Maybe it’s watching an episode of your favorite sitcom before bed or being able to make a second cup of tea. When you’re not completely exhausted from being a person, doing tasks you don’t want to do, you suddenly have the capability to do more of what brings you joy.

Twenty-four hours a day are not created equal, just as with everything else in life. So don’t feel bad when you don’t think you’re doing as much as you’re supposed to, when you are too exhausted after your 18-hour day (or even after an eight-hour day. Or two hours … whatever it is that is your limit) to also go to the gym. When you can’t make it to the farmer’s market that’s a 45 minute drive away. When you beat yourself up for not spending enough time at the office, while also spending more time with your kids, and also somehow spending more time with your aging parents, while also carving out time for your significant other.

We all exist within the same 24 hours, but we live our 24 hours differently. Be proud of how you spend yours because they’re your 24 hours.

Getty image by yanjf

Originally published: February 14, 2020
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