The danger of being busy {5 tips to slow down}

For as long as I can remember I have been busy, I can tell myself that of course I am busy – I am a mum of 2 boys who we homeschool and I run my own business. Up until last month, I also worked in 3 volunteer roles.

But if I step outside of all that I can see that busy serves me.

It allows me to feel important and wanted. It also fills the space – space that I could use to reflect on my own internal struggles and what I really want out of life. It lets me put that to one side because I am busy, I don’t have time.

Busy has become so much a part of my life in the last few years that now that I have started to simplify my life it’s hard to have that space, it feels unfamiliar and uncomfortable. I feel lost and unsure in this space I have created.

I itch to fill it up with something and my first thoughts are what can I do to get ahead for tomorrow or next week while I have the time?

Tips on being overwhelmed

I start to create extra obligations and tasks to fill the void. A small light of clarity starts to burst through though and the glimmer of internal peace is created.

It’s enough to create the self control needed to not put my hand up to do more, to not create more obligations or strive to do better. For now, mediocre is totally ok.

It gives me the space to be content, to feel my own importance (especially to myself), to do and be nothing for however long I need to.

For a long time even when I had a good income earning week or managed to juggle all the balls in the air I wouldn’t congratulate myself, instead I made excuses for my success. I would say to myself “yes, you did well this week but you had extra help/ you didn’t spend enough time with the kids/ you could have exercised more”

At the core of not feeling important for me is comparing myself to other people, this fear of being left behind or not knowing as much as others do.

So, I can be cruising along nicely and then suddenly I will see a comment or a post on social media and I will start thinking to myself – “should I be doing this, should I know more about this topic, maybe I am not as up to date with the knowledge of my industry as I should be??”

I have found a few strategies that help me to be less busy and not feel stressed about it:

  1. Switch off social media – if I am feeling hyper sensitive I take a social media break. Despite it’s value social media leads us to judging our worst day by someone else’s best day and that is just not constructive.
  2. Check in with myself – before I make any commitment I ask myself why I am making time for this in my life, does it honour the priorities in myself. My biggest priorities are my family and my life so I always consider whether any new obligations is going to benefiting me or my family.
  3. Lower my standards – so maybe my kids have worn their pyjamas for 3 days (yay for homeschooling 😉 or watched way too much tv this week or we ate crap, easy to prepare foods. None of us are perfect all the time so it’s valuable to not put pressure on yourself to achieve the unachievable.
  4. Ask for help – for me usually it from my husband as we live far away from most of our family and friends. I have however hired a cleaner which not only takes the physical job of cleaning off my list but it also removes my responsibility for it which is worth far more. I don’t have the stress about when am I going to clean the house? I know that it will get done without me lifting a finger
  5. Celebrate the space – last week we went to the park, I didn’t try to catch up on work while the kids played or use it as a sneaky learning experience. I did however go to the newsagent, got a magazine and just sat and read it without any guilt or obligation to do anything else.

I would love to hear your thoughts on being busy, do you think we celebrate busyness in our society and how do you counteract this?

2 thoughts on “The danger of being busy {5 tips to slow down}

  1. Number 5 is a great one. I need to do that more. I have been trying to make more space in my life after being busy for so long. Great article Sharon

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