Do you sometimes feel that you are running round like a squirrel in a cage? Once you are finished with one project there is already another one waiting for you. You get through one deadline but the next one is already knocking on the door. When you think that you can finally relax you realize that there is some other emergency that you just have to take care of. And it never stops. I’ve had that feeling lately.
There is nothing wrong with being busy but if you overdo it then you feel completely out of balance. Being busy does not mean only working hard. It means taking care of the family, helping friends or relatives, working on new projects and even getting absorbed into your hobbies. I know that each of you has his/her responsibilities that can keep you busy all the time.
When you feel overwhelmed with everything around you it is time to stop and think. Is everything in your schedule really that important?
I know your first answer, “Yes, it is.” Most of us would agree at first glance that most everything we keep in our schedules is extremely important but more than often making our schedules lighter is the answer we really need. I guess Leo Babauta with his Power of Less was right after all
So when you feel that you are just too busy and have no time for yourself then it is time to stop and think. Here are some simple thoughts that will hopefully bring a little balance back into your life.
- Live according to your life priorities. When you decide to eliminate some things from your schedule it is important to look at your life priorities first. What will affect you more: not getting a job promotion this year or not spending enough time with your kids? If you give up one of your hobbies, will you still be able to enjoy your life and be yourself? There is a lot to consider but once you get your priorities straight it will be easier for you to make the right choices.
- There is always a good reason why your plans do not work out. Maybe it is not the right time, maybe there is a better opportunity waiting just around the corner, or maybe it is just time for you to take a break from everything. There is no point in beating yourself up because something didn’t go the way you planned. Just accept the result and go on with your life.
- Don’t spread yourself too thin. You have probably heard the advice to live each day of your life like it’s the last one and take everything from life that you can get. It is not possible to live like that in the real world without serious consequences. Look at the most important things in your life (turn to your priorities for this) and try to give most of your attention to them.
It is important to have hobbies and interests, it is great to build a career (if this is your goal) and try new things in life but if these activities drain you then you should consider eliminating some of them or devoting less time to them. You don’t have to play football, train for a triathlon and join a basketball league all at the same time. Just focus on the one that brings you the most pleasure (or money if we are talking about work.)
- Keep your dreams and goals in check. Having goals and dreams in life is something that we all need because it keeps us focused as well as gives us determination to get through the hard times. However, the old saying that “moderation is the key to life” can definitely be used in this example especially. Too many times our lives are thrown out of balance because we set unrealistic goals for ourselves. Do you really think that you can cut the grass, wash the car and have time to make it to your child’s sporting event in an hour? If you can then that’s awesome but most of us will just have to settle with driving a dirty car or let the grass grow for another few days. Make sure your dreams and goals are realistic for you and not somebody else.
- Just take a break. Sometimes all you need is just a little break. Avoid any activities that are not important and let yourself relax a little bit. You don’t have to fix super healthy meals all the time or follow a strict regimen of workouts. Relax about keeping your house clean all the time and let your kids enjoy some extra cartoons now and then in the evening while you are doing what you love. Avoid watching or reading news if possible and minimize your media exposure. Just one week of this “easy” life will help you get back on track.
- Spend some time outside. Nature has an amazing power to calm even the most unsettled mind down and set anyone in the mood of serenity. According to research at the University of Essex even five minutes of any green activity (walking outside, gardening, playing sports etc.) can boost your mood and self esteem. Why not let the nature show you the way to a balanced life?
- Ask for support. A lot of times we do not want to admit to the people around us that we need help. Of course, people are different but in my experience most people like helping others. Especially if these people are close to you. There is no need to be a superman or superwoman all the time (even if you want to be one then you can still take a small break from being super).
Today my husband went grocery shopping for me and got a lot of interesting things. He said that he is going to take care of supper this week. Just the thought of it made me so happy inside (his beanie weenies turned out great!)
- Stop procrastinating. Some tasks just create an illusion that they are difficult and time consuming. You put them on your to-do list but every time you look at those tasks you shift your attention to something else (phone calls about bills, little home-improvement projects or some boring tasks at work). These tasks will keep bugging you and making you feel stressed out for no reason. Just finish any tasks that you’ve been procrastinating and you will feel that you can breathe freely again.
- Have a spiritual break. If you are a religious person then praying will definitely help. If you are not religious then meditating or just practicing any mindful activity will help you clear your mind and shake off the stress you’ve been under.
- Have a positive experience. When I am tired I tend to look at everything with a touch of gray. This not-so-positive attitude does not make the situation look any easier at all. It is vitally important to have some positive activity to shift your vision from a gray mode into colored mode. Watching a comedy, hanging out with friends, playing with your pets, reading something funny or trying a new activity – anything that can make you laugh will do. Find time for this experience no matter how busy you are.
Now there is just one more tip I can give you. Take a deep breath in, listen to yourself and have a good night sleep. Everything will look better in the morning.
Keep it balanced!