Most of us live busy lives, probably too busy. We may be aware of how busy we are, and might not even like it, but unless we do something to stop the excessive amount of work we have, or activities we do, and not give ourselves enough idle time, we’re going to be stuck on the hamster wheel of busyness, and might not even know how to get off it.
Mindfulness, which is being in the present moment with total awareness, helps us be more conscious of how much we’re doing, and when we find ourselves over-extended, or stressed about how busy we are, we bring ourselves into the present moment with clarity, and decide that we need to stop, or make a change in our life that’s healthier for us.
Here’s how Mindfulness can work when you find yourself too busy:
1. The minute you begin to feel yourself tired or over worked be aware of it.
2. Do not tell yourself things like; “it’s okay” or“I have to do this”, but instead keep your awareness on how you feel.
3. Ask yourself questions like; “Am I doing too much?” or “Can I do less than what I’m doing?” or “Am I balancing my life between work and down time?”
4. Listen carefully to your answers and be aware of how you feel.
5. Take some time in your day to be present just“being.”
6. This can mean sitting somewhere quiet like on the beach or at the park, or if you’re at work, you can sit at your desk, or in your car with your eyes closed for a few minutes.
7. Be aware of when you go out of the moment of rest or non-doing, and what you tell yourself.
8. If you start to worry, or feel anxious about what you have to do, and start to feel it in your body, put your focus and awareness onto your breath, and take a few deep breaths in and out.
9. Be aware whenever you find yourself going into the “to do list” in your head.
10. Try and get into the habit of writing down or journaling your “to do list.” Make two columns; one “to do” and the other“time for me.”
11. At the end of the day, check and see how balanced your day was, and if your “todo” column was too long, and your “time for me” column not long enough, make a concerted effort to add to it whenever you can throughout your week, or carveout a special time or day just for “time for me.”
Mindfulness is a quality each of us has, but don’t necessarily use, and it is invaluable. The more we practice it, the more we can reap the benefits of it, and like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. You don’t want to wait until you’re so anxious or stressed that it starts to affect you mentally or physically, and that’s usually when people begin to feel that something’s wrong, or acknowledge that their life is out of balance.
If you practice Mindfulness daily, it will heighten your awareness so that just when you begin to feel yourself off, or not quite right, you’re going to know it, and instead of ignoring it, you will act on it immediately. Even if it means taking a few minutes to sit quietly, and doing nothing other than focus on your breath, you are sending an important message to your mind, body, and spirit that you are giving yourself total self-care, and your entire being will thank you by how much better you will feel.
Being busy is fine, but being busy to the point of stress, anxiety, or depletion of any kind is not okay.Mindfulness will keep you in present moment awareness, and the minute you want to slip into old habits of thinking or behavior, which could mean over working, or over doing anything that isn’t necessary, it will focus your attention on the imbalance you need to acknowledge, and you will find yourself addressing it quickly.
Making “time for me” isn’t just about balance, it’s about self-love, and you’re worth it.
Ora Nadrich is founder and president of the Institute for Transformational Thinking and author of "Says Who? How One Simple Question Can Change the Way You Think Forever". A certified life coach and mindfulness teacher, she specializes in transformational thinking, self-discovery, and mentoring new coaches as they develop their careers.