Simple strategies for super-busy people to kick stress into touch, take control of their life, and become their own best friend in the process

Mental Health StressWhen you’re super-busy, life can feel out of control. Before you know it, you are trapped in a cycle of simply trying to get through your to-do list.

Whilst you might recognise that you feel stressed, you probably haven’t got the time or energy to do much about it. Try these super-simple and doable tips to be busy without burnout…

Tip #1 Take it one breath at a time.

Being busy and feeling hurried are not the same thing, though they often go together. Feeling hurried is an optional state of mind, and it is possible to be super-busy without feeling hurried. How? By learning to take life one moment at a time. Even the busiest of days only happens one moment at a time. A practice that I call the ‘Single Breath Practice’ is simply to take a deep, conscious breath as often as you can remember to throughout each day to remind yourself to be where you are, doing what you are doing, one moment at a time. Taking those single deep, conscious breaths will help you to pace yourself throughout the day and remove the feeling of overwhelm when you have so much to do.

Talking of taking a deep breath…for a good night’s sleep; try practicing a few minutes of breath awareness before you try to go to sleep and at any point you wake up in the night. Simply inhale for a count of 4 and exhale for a count of 6, or whatever count you need it to be without strain (just keep the exhalation slightly longer than the inhalation, which helps to trigger the relaxation response in the nervous system).

Tip #2 Take charge of your time.

Grab your diary by the Feng Shui horns and get ruthless about what you are, and are not, going to spend your time and energy on. Particularly if you are a people pleaser – you are going to need to learn to say NO! Look at everything in your diary for the next 2 weeks, from the moment you get up in the morning to the moment you get into bed, and ask yourself, ‘is this the best use of my time and energy?’ You might also want to look at time spent scrolling through your phone. It’s a habit that sneaks up on us, consuming vast amounts of our time and mental energy and can create stress and dissatisfaction in life. Try a day without scrolling and see how you feel.

Tip #3 Looking after your own wellbeing is NOT selfish.

We all know how it goes…you get busy and you and your wellbeing immediately drop to the bottom of the pecking order. While taking time for yourself can feel like a luxury, looking after yourself is the most proactive thing you can do to enable yourself to do all the things that you need to do! So, if you are guilt-tripping yourself about scheduling a bit of you-time into your diary then quit that right now. Getting some valuable you-time will make you happier, healthier, and more able to cope with all that you are doing. Even an hour a week can make all the difference.

Tip #4 Quit an all-or-nothing mindset.

When it comes to looking after your wellbeing, never underestimate the benefit of small choices in the right direction. So often we go at diet and exercise with an all-or-nothing approach that keeps us stuck on the same loop. Committing to doable healthier lifestyle choices will produce lasting results and give you the energy to sustain a busy life. Instead of trying to cut out all caffeine, cut down. Instead of doing no exercise, start with 10 minutes. Instead of quitting all wine, drink a spritzer. When you’ve eaten cake by 10am on Tuesday morning you don’t have to go off the rails until next Monday. It’s all about momentum and any better choice one moment at a time is totally worth it.

Tip #5 Become your own-best-friend-self.

If you suffer from a harsh inner-critic then you will know that you can be your own-worst-enemy. When you are spinning a lot of plates, it can be easy to beat yourself up about all that you think you should be doing and all that you think you’re failing at. Learning to be a bit more best-friend-self supportive rather than own-worst-enemy is probably one of the most life-changing things you can do. A best friend lovingly accepts us as we are whilst holding us accountable to be the best that we can be. When we are struggling, they ask us, “what do you need?” When we lack confidence they encourage us, and they’re non-judgementally honest with us when we aren’t seeing the wood for the trees. Isn’t it time you started to be a bit more best-friend-self towards yourself? Remember that you are doing the best that you can and in the words of your own-best-friend-self, ‘you’ve got this!’

Louise LloydAbout the author

For nearly 20 years mindset and wellbeing coach Louise Lloyd has been helping people to hack stress, limits and mindsets. She understands the challenges people face and provides practical and effective tools to help even the busiest of people get their life on track.

Stresshacking by Louise Lloyd is published by Practical Inspiration Publishing, £12.99.

For further tips visit a and sign up for the FREE Stresshacking 7 Days To Less Stress Programme.

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