Multitasking, trying to juggle too many things and worried you’ll miss something important? Never finding the time to stop and relax. Sound familiar?
Busyness has become a disease which often can trigger stress and anxiety. Notice how you feel in your body when someone stressed or anxious sits near you. It’s contagious! Often we unconsciously start to react to their tension. As technology increases our 24/7 availability, we can become increasingly pressured to complete more each day losing much of our personal time. Busyness can become overwhelming unless we decide to make some clear choices in our lives. I have outlined eight tips to help you achieve more balance.
Get a reality check. Be honest with what you can actually achieve in one day! Make a realistic to do list prioritising 4 or 5 tasks not 10. Accept it’s impossible to do it all. Also remember to set achievable time frames to have these tasks completed.
Notice if you have shaming self talk, telling yourself ” I must…”,”I should..,” “others can do this, why can’t I ?” ” I’m not good enough?” Often the feeling of overwhelm is created by a mismatch between what you expect of yourself (listen to your self talk) and what you can realistically manage.
Is the busyness and stress stopping you from developing meaningful relationships and connections with others?
When stressed we engage the reptilian part of our brain which takes us into survival mode. By allowing time to care and connect with others, stress becomes replaced by relaxation, gratitude and a feeling of well being. Balance between your busy life and nurturing connection with others is important for your wellbeing.
How much do you value yourself? Answer honestly, do you consider your own needs such as getting enough sleep, exercise, sunshine, pursuing personal interests, connecting with others and nature? Can you take time out for just you, to allow your needs to be as important as the tasks and demands of others? Even if it’s only 5 minutes, just stop, breathe and relax. If this all seems too much, start with this easy exercise. Take this moment right now for you.
Firstly – Tune into your body, feel your whole body sitting on the chair. What do you experience? (It may be thoughts, sounds around you, butterflies in your belly, feeling your feet on the floor, your heart beating, the rhythm of your breath, the texture of clothing on your skin.)
Two – Now try sighing and then allow a full inhale to follow. Repeat this 6 to10 times, letting the exhale fall away and allowing a full inhale. This helps relax your body and reset your focus.
Three – Again tune into your body, what do you experience now? Has anything changed?
Give yourself this space for you, a few seconds each hour or each time you reach for a cuppa. This tuning in will enable you to be more aware of your body’s response to stress, helping you reset your focus and recenter yourself. Practising this regularly will develop more mindfulness, focus and help maintain your energy levels, feeling less drained by the end of your day.
Learn about your own body rhythm. Know what times of the day you are most productive, when you feel alert and focused and set the difficult tasks to complete at this time.
Have clear boundaries and say “no” to taking on more tasks, whether they be tedious or things you want to do, to let you achieve the things that are really important to you. The things that are right for you.
Learn to delegate tasks to others. You don’t always need to do it all. Trust that others may be able to step up and take responsibility for some of these tasks.
- How often is busyness caused by procrastination, being distracted, checking messages, emails, getting another coffee, rather than looking at the particular task you know needs attention now? Realise what you are avoiding and make a clear decision to begin to chip away at it so it doesn’t become overwhelming.
It’s how we feel about our busyness that creates stress and overwhelm. You can never do it all and when you can accept this, you can let go of the worry and guilt of never achieving all your goals. Don’t beat yourself up for what you haven’t done, celebrate what you have achieved. You are doing the best you can and that is enough.
I hope you have found this helpful.
Holistic Counsellor and Psychotherapist