So there I was hurtling along the street trying to catch my daughter’s balloon that the wind had plucked from her hand as she came out of school, when I crashed into the branch of a tree and ended up at the emergency department.
Luckily the cut on my forehead looked worse than it was and I didn’t need stitches. So much for being ‘cool mama to the rescue’ when my daughter’s balloon took flight! I didn’t catch the balloon but… it did make me slow down and take a step back…
Why am I sharing this story with you? Because we’re all so busy being busy that we lose sight of the world around us – sometimes literally. And as we enter the craziness of the festive season where there’s lots of work, lots of social stuff, lots of ‘present buying’, lots of food, lots of family stuff, generally just a ‘lot of’ I can’t help but wonder how it would be if we decided to be ‘peacefully busy’ instead.
What might ‘peacefully busy’ look like? Would ‘peacefully busy’ help us to balance work and life? Would ‘peacefully busy’ mean we prioritise ‘me time’? What if you planned your day around a mindful walk outside noticing the sky and the trees perhaps followed by twenty minutes of meditation? I know life is hectic and we’re all busy, but trust me, if you plan these activities into your schedule first your day will be so much more peaceful. When someone asks you how you are, imagine how you might feel if you said, ‘I’m peacefully busy’? Does that make you feel less rushed, more serene?
Being too busy is killing us. Too many people are suffering from stress and anxiety because of an almost compulsive need to be ‘busy’ when we should set boundaries and say ‘no’ sometimes.
We tend to value busy people. It may be hard for us to stop using the word busy but ‘peacefully busy’ evokes calm and feels more nurturing. It means, ‘Yes, I’m busy, but I’m being gentle with myself and looking after myself. I’m taking time out to do the things I need to do to nurture myself and the things I love so that I feel less stressed but ultimately achieve more.’
Here are three ways to slow down during the festive season:
- When you wake up in the morning state the phrase “Today I am Peacefully Busy”. Visualise ‘peacefully busy’ as a golden colour, nurturing and healing. Make these your words for the day. Spend your day being ‘peacefully busy’ and taking time to nurture yourself.
- Practise saying ‘No’ to at least one thing each week. But make sure you’re not saying ‘No’ to yourself. At this time of year there are a lot of commitments but we really don’t have to commit to them all! Make sure you only say ‘Yes’ to the things you really love!
- But not the kind of testing workout that some of us turn to when stressed. Exercising vigorously is a stressor in itself, your cortisol levels will be higher at the end of a workout and intense exercise straight after an episode of acute stress increases the risk of heart problems. So be gentle on yourself .. gentle jogs, yoga, or a lower intensity class over a longer period of time will help you more than a short high intensity workout.
About the author
Cara de Lange is the founder of Softer Success – how to change your mindset to prevent burnout and learn to be more gentle with yourself. She runs workshops and talks that focus on relieving stress, overwhelm and preventing burnout. She shares powerful tools and tips on how to slow down, increase energy and become more resilient. Cara’s ‘Prevent Burnout Find Balance’ course helps clients & corporate teams to create a more harmonious, peaceful and productive life. Her book – Softer Success – How to be more Gentle with Yourself – with tips to prevent burnout will be available in 2019.