We live in a modern culture where busyness is worn as a badge of honour. Being busy is compared to being successful. After all, if you are super-busy, you must be in-demand, influential and winning at this life. It is easy to feel pressured to be busy. To always have a full schedule. We begin to view leisure time and passive activities, like watching tv, reading or sitting with a cup tea, as being of little intrinsic value and we judge ourselves for not spending this time more productively.
I find it hard to detach from the need to constantly be doing. If I do take time for myself, I feel like I am procrastinating and not using my time purposefully. That little voice in the back of my mind questions if I could, and should, be doing something of more value. This guilt links strongly to traits of perfectionism and a tendency to see achievement as a measure of who I am and how I show up in life.
We must learn to disrupt this culture of busyness and put the focus back on creating a life of fulfilment, joy, meaning, and value that is aligned with, and an expression of, what truly matters to us. Busy does not mean important nor does it equate to significant, life enriching activities. Quite the opposite. Busyness and constant doing is the arch enemy of living an abundant life. It is emotionally, physically and spiritually destructive to our health, relationships and sense of self.
So, what happens if we do give ourselves permission to press pause? What happens is that we give ourselves the time and space to clear our minds and appreciate everything we already have. If you stop, even for only a few minutes, you give yourself chance to see the joys of a simpler life. Breathe. Remind yourself that this is life, right here and right now. There is so much abundance and beauty all around us – in the chorus of morning birdsong, in the sweet laughter of a child, in fresh scent of Spring flowers blooming.
Maybe you feel ready to embrace a slower life but are not sure quite how to do it. Try some of the suggestions below. Keep in mind that you do not have to do all of them. Keep it simple.
- Get outdoors – Go for a walk or just sit outside for a few moments. Be mindful and enjoy the experience of the warming sun on your face or the gentle sound of rustling leaves on trees
- Rest in stillness – take 5 minutes to sit quietly, close the eyes and observe the breath can reconnect you with yourself and the world around you
- Turn off the noise – for a few minutes or an hour a day turn off the tv, the radio, your phone etc and unplug from the constant noise of the outside world
- Laugh and be playful – make time for the things that bring you joy and allow you to be creative. Think back to what you enjoyed as a child
- Journal –5 or 10 minutes of journaling can help you slow down and connect with yourself. Writing naturally gets the thoughts out of your head and gives you clarity
- Start the day slower – avoid that immediate rush into the day when the alarm goes off by waking up a few minutes earlier than you need. Sit up and let your mind and body come to. Maybe include something you enjoy as part of your morning routine like reading or just savouring your coffee in peace.
- Embrace quality over quantity – instead of taking lots of classes or saying yes to every social event try being selective and only do the things that align with your values and bring joy to your life.
There is only one you in the world and you are worth taking care of. The world will still be there waiting for you. Take your time, recharge and come back stronger
Give yourself the gift of time. Just be.