Someone once said, that no one is ever too busy to tell you just how busy they are.
Somewhere around the end of the 20th century, busyness became a way of life, a vicious cycle. In an article by Dr. Susan Coven she explains how she experienced this epidemic. A lot of her patients who suffered the same condition had symptoms ranging from back pain, weight gain, heartburn, fatigue and bowel disturbance etc. Although no blood tests or X-rays could be used to diagnose this condition, Dr. Coven believes it is the illness of excessive busyness.
There is a vast amount of research that indicates that stress in itself causes huge health problems. Notice how in Dr. Coven’s article she doesn’t call the condition ‘stress’, but rather ‘excessive busyness’. Approximately 2000 years ago, even Socrates said: “Beware the emptiness of a busy life.”
Why are we so busy? Think about it…when someone asks you “how are you?” we mostly reply “busy”. If we don’t say we are busy, what does that say about us and our lifestyle in this day and age? When we tell people just how busy we are, from the outside, it may seem like we are complaining, but inside we are rather pleased with ourselves and we feel important.
In early years the less fortunate were the busy ones and the people in power were the ones with the leisure and lounging time. Today, the more successful you are the busier you become.
It is so ironic that with all the technology at our fingertips and everything that is developed to make our lives easier and faster, we are busier than ever. So it spirals. The quicker we can do the things we need to do, the more things are put upon us to do. We are expected to do even more with our time, and then we try to multi-task trying to accomplish even more.
Mobile devices make us reachable anywhere and all the time. When we are relaxing over weekends for example, we are often bombarded with calls, text messages, emails etc. The Internet and various social media platforms is an information hub and we feel like we have to keep up with what’s going on and constantly need to update everyone on what’s happening in our own lives. Ever notice how much time and effort that takes up?
To create more space for the things that you love and bring you joy, it is up to you to start slowing down. Take baby steps. Here are 5 simple ways:
- Ask yourself the question: “Why do you do what you do?” Analyze your life and what takes up so much time and determine if it is worth it. Then try to limit your time robbers.
- Start small by giving yourself certain days off from Social Media. Also know that you don’t have to post everything you do. Sometimes being in the moment and truly experiencing it, is much better than the photo.
- Put your phone off for a period of time during the day. Leave it in a safe place and forget about it for a while. Concentrate on your family or friends or even your pet.
- Walk slower and take in the beauty and surroundings around you. For some reason, people feel like they must rush from one place to the next when it is really not necessary. Appreciate the smaller things around you.
- Realize that you don’t need to make drastic changes. You simply need to take small steps to create more time for the things that make you happy, bring you joy. These steps should come from you. You need to make a conscious decision to take life slower.
We realize that being busy is sometimes necessary. We are not saying that you have to go into complete Zen mode. It’s just about slowing down and refocusing. Consider this last quote from Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
*The Mindspa Institute is a corporate soft skills training and development company. Our courses in Time and Stress Management, to name but a few, are very popular. We offer these courses nationwide on both public and corporate platforms. Also note that this article is also available as a podcast on our website under ‘News’.