Can you remember the last time you just sat down and did nothing without feeling guilty about it?
I have found that lately there is constantly a pressure to be busy in some way. Every moment I feel like I need to be productive. Even as I sit down to start writing this article I am multi-tasking. I am on my break at work, eating my lunch; and simultaneously replying to text messages trying to work out plans for after work. Why am I doing this?
To me it seems like life is a constant competition of who is most busy. People seem to wear how busy they are as a badge of honour and are almost proud to admit that they are struggling to keep their head above water. This almost competitive busyness creates a kind of pressure for me to always be doing something because heaven forbid I have a conversation with someone and say “I did absolutely nothing today and my world did not fall apart.”
Putting aside the fact that jobs, study, parenting are all demanding in their own right, why do we then feel the need to add to this with a never ending to-do-list?
The reaction of others when someone shares what they are currently juggling on their plate really stuck in my head last week. Phrases like “oh my god that is incredible” and “you’re such an inspiration” acted as praises to the busy person for their achievement of busyness. This leads me to my current point of self-reflection, am I busy enough?
I like to pack a lot into every single day. There are some days that I feel like I am going for hours and hours without a second thought. Each task rolls right into the next and taking a break just isn’t an option. I start my week with a list of things to do (an unrealistic one I might add). Typically, it will have my training schedule, study commitments, any shifts I have at work and catch-ups with friends. Something is missing off that list… me time. Where is the time for me to just sit and be? Why is that not a priority for me?
Last week I was fortunate enough to catch up with a beautiful friend of mine at her house for dinner. I asked her what she had been up to that day and she said “I did some work in the morning and then I saw the sunshine and just wanted to be at the beach, so that’s where I went.” In that moment I saw that her ‘me time’ was a priority and it showed. She looked relaxed and I could just tell her heart was full of joy. I’m sure my friend had plenty of other things she could have been doing while she was at the beach but that didn’t matter, she was able to bend her schedule.
My ability to compromise a plan is pretty much nonexistent at times. I can be, and a lot of the time am, so regimented with my schedule and any slight change sends me into panic mode. In panic mode I am not a pleasant person to be around. I feel like I am just playing catch up on the unrealistic expectations of myself.
I have made a decision to make myself and my mental health a priority this week. There are three things I am going to do differently:
1. Bringing back the morning yoga so I can start my day with a clear and honest intention.
2. Taking a long walk away from my desk when I need it. This means not pushing through even when I have lots I want to accomplish because content is not going to absorb that way.
3. Making time for all the different relationships in my life. Whether this is at home, my personal life or my friends. They all need attention and nourishment or they will disappear.
I am not the only person who is busy and has commitments. Everyone is carrying with them their own responsibilities. I am hoping that taking the time to take care of myself will help me to project positive energy so that I can then foster quality relationships, love with an open heart and be happier this week.
“Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I’m not going to edit your resume, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently. – Laura Vanderkam.