If you’re waiting for life to slow down all by itself, with no intervention on your part, you’re going to be a busy lady for a long time.
I know that feeling, when you keep spinning your wheels, telling yourself you’ll relax when it’s all done and dusted. That you’ll have a break soon, when things aren’t so busy. That you just have to get through today, this week, this month and things will settle down.
But it never does.
When you’re on a fast turning treadmill, and most of us are now, it doesn’t slow down unless you slow it yourself. The harder you peddle to keep up with the pace, the faster the treadmill spins. The more you do, the more there is to do sooner, not later.
One item might be ticked off the list, but a dozen more file on behind it. So you spin faster.
If you want to slow the spin, you have to slow the momentum yourself. You’re in charge of the wheel and how it turns and it’s only when we take charge of our own time that things change for the better.
That doesn’t mean you won’t be busy – if you’re a mum, you’ll be busy. Goes without saying. But you can control how busy and even on those busy days though, we can choose to create space. Space for breath, for calm, for refilling our tanks so that we can handle our load better. We can choose how we will feel, cope and be.
So here are five tips for when you’re too busy:
1. Take that five minutes
Ever said “I haven’t had five minutes to myself!”? Some days, it’s the honest truth: you really haven’t had five minutes to yourself. Those are the days that you really need that five minutes though.
So when you’re feeling the squeeze of overload, check the clock and step out of the zone for five minutes. Step outside, lock yourself in the linen cupboard or toilet – wherever you can find solitude – and stay there for the five minutes. Aim to do it every hour.
2. Use the space you have
I spend a lot of time in my car every day, just getting the kids to and from school, let alone sports drop-offs, groceries and food pickups, odds and ends and errands. Every mum struggles with being on the go a lot so you have to use the space you have to chill out, even if it’s in the car. Deep breathe at the traffic lights (this makes a big difference). Turn off the radio and enjoy the silence. Drive below the speed limit to reduce the feelings of being rushed (this really works). Before you get out of the car, sit quietly with your eyes closed and do a brief meditation – just concentrate on slow breathing. It’s the little things that add up to big things.
3. Skip the caffeine
Seriously, it’s one of the worst things you can do when you’ve got a lot to do. I know, I know, it gets you through the day. But you can’t fool me – I used to drink more than 20 cups a day, so I know already what it’s like to have a deep, intense love affair with coffee. I also know that extra buzz will cost you big time by the end of the day, in the form of intense fatigue and irritation. It also drains your immune system so you’re setting yourself up to get sick. You don’t have to go without completely but don’t rely on it as an energy source as caffeine is a wolf in sheep’s clothing in that department.
4. Put something down
Do you really need to do everything today? Or are you just playing Superwoman? Take the cloak off if it’s choking you. Letting something slip so that you don’t feel stressed is a GOOD thing, for everyone. Your to do list will still be there tomorrow. What’s most important today is that you find some balance.
5. Make the effort where it counts most
Often overload is caused by ‘bits and pieces’ – the myriad of loose ends that we need to get to and generally tack on to the end of something bigger. Like new laces for school shoes, picking up some milk, paying a bill that’s due or remembering your daughter needs new hair ties. All those bits and pieces compete in our mind and day for attention and adds to the feeling of being too busy. Setting our attention to what matters most on any given day, and discarding thoughts of the rest for now, gives us focus points that ease that sense of busyness. When the time is right and the bits and pieces are what count most, set your focus on them, all at one time.
What are your thoughts? Which of these tips resonate the most with you, or do you have one of your own to add? Leave a comment and you’ll be my favourite reader (this week) 🙂