I avoid using the word 'busy', but sometimes, it's inevitable.
Usually, busy is a way to describe priorities. Someone may say something like, "I wish I could volunteer more, but I'm just so busy!" But that same person may spend hours per day following their favorite show, perusing Facebook, or interacting with their kids. It's not that they "can't" use their time for volunteer work; it's that they've already allocated their free time to other activities. And these activities may be important and useful - either by providing important downtime or affirming other life goals. These are the priorities of life, so why not just be honest about that and stop making excuses?
"Busy" sounds helpless, as if you're a victim of the activities you participate in. As if these things happen to you, and you're not the one in charge of how you use your time. But what's the downside of using your free time the way that works for you? "I'd like to spend time volunteering, but I choose to relax or connect with friends and family" is more honest -- and more affirming.
That said, I find myself facing contention. Work issues are coming to a head this week, and wanting to do right by my clients is at the top of my list. But I've also got two groups of family in town, so that's a thing. Meanwhile, my instincts towards self care have fallen by the wayside, and my rituals are shot.
It pains me to say I'm "busy", but I am definitely feeling the friction of competing priorities - important things that are also urgent. This time will pass quickly, but it's one of the few times when I don't feel very much In control.