Being ‘busy’ is a modern day malaise, mostly of our own making. Increasingly we seek to fill every moment with activity, constantly challenging ourselves to get do and achieve more in the hope this will make us happy and fulfilled.
Sadly this does not seem to be the case. The relationship between busyness, stress, health and happiness is under scrutiny with everything from unexplained weight gain to increases in the incidence of anxiety, depression, liver and heart disease – especially amongst young women – attributed to our crazy, busy lifestyles.
Recent calls to abandon ‘The Overwhelm’, get back to what’s ‘Essential’ and fully embrace the JOMO are all examples of the ‘backlash against busyness’ – a clarion call to take back control of our lives and give ourselves a shot at genuine fulfilment rather than just a full date book.
In my work with busy professionals, I’ve found 5 simple steps to be helpful in beating ‘the busy’:
- Become AWARE. So many of us are racing through life too busy to register the impact our constant busyness is having on our mental and physical health. Developing self-awareness helps you understand how what you do impacts on how you feel and pinpoint when enough is enough and you need to slow down. Writing things down helps, especially to identify patterns of behaviour about which you may have been previously unaware. For example, your level of unconscious eating on days when you are so busy you don’t even register what you are putting in your mouth.
- ACKNOWLEDGE. As the good people at AA have known for decades ‘acknowledging you have a problem is the first step’. The adrenalin rush that comes from constant busyness can become addictive so deciding to change the way you live has to be a conscious choice based on an understanding of the negative impact that living this way is having on your wellbeing and a belief that you can make it better.
- ACT. Decide what you’re going to do in response. Great techniques include: writing a ‘don’t do list’ or adapting Coco Channels famous edict to look at your diary and take one thing out every week.
- ASK for help. This might include delegating a couple of tasks to partners or scheduling a meeting with your boss to discuss how to reduce your workload. If you’re really struggling to start or stick with changing your behaviour, seeing a professional can help identify and unlearn old habits and support you to replace them with better ones.
- ACCEPT that this change may take time and doing less may even feel like more of a challenge than doing more. Putting yourself in control means that you will be shifting from reactive to proactive mode – making your own decisions about what to do and not do each day – which can feel a little scary at first but you will get there if you trust your inner voice and give yourself some time.
Tricia Alach is a Natural Therapist and Wellness Coach specialising in working with busy people who want to relax, rebalance and revitalise their lives! Visit www.flowmindandbody.com for more information or follow her on facebook