Being constantly engaged can lead to being too stressed, which has serious effects on our physical and emotional health.

“High levels of stress for prolonged periods can lead to problems such as sleep deprivation, unhealthy eating habits, lack of energy, fatigue, and poor concentration,” says Jessica Ducey Akers, LICSW, a therapist in the Partial Hospital Program at Butler Hospital. “If left untreated or unmanaged for too long, stress can contribute to anxiety, irritability, depression, and physical health problems.”

We should each examine our lives for balance, which is a very personal thing, Akers explains. We need time for things we enjoy such as hobbies, exercise, and quiet time with family and friends.

“This includes recognizing what being ‘too busy’ means and feels like since each of us has our own threshold for stress and being busy,” she says.

To help clear your schedule of busyness, Akers suggests:

  • Be more assertive, saying no to some requests.
  • Ask family members for help with chores.
  • Schedule time on your calendar for your hobbies. It’s as important as a doctor’s appointment!
  • Unplug the electronics and those of your children. “If you are struggling to get through short periods of time without checking your social media account or perusing news online, you may need to reevaluate their role in your life,” she says.

“For many, achieving that sense of balance and fulfillment is key to feeling satisfied and contented in life,” Akers says. The other extreme of being too busy is boredom, which can be equally as detrimental to our health.

“An old coworker gave me a paperweight that says, ‘Time is precious, waste it wisely.’ I love that! Time is moving forward whether we want it to or not, so why not make some of that time really useful and enjoyable when we can?”

If you’re feeling way too stressed in life and wonder how much of a toll it’s taking on your mental health, take a free confidential online mental health screening from Butler Hospital. Share your #unbusy pictures and connect with us on Instagram (@talksyourhealth), Twitter, and Facebook (facebook.com/carenewengland). And for more great ideas, read a working mom’s real-life experience in how to get unbusy.