When people ask me if I’ve been busy lately, I say ‘Nope’.
And they look at me like this…
Shocking, I know.
I’ve written before about why I don’t do busy. And I’m still writing about it.
The biggest myth is that being busy = being productive. Or worse, that being busy = being important.
I call bullshit on that…
Forgive my harshness but my job is to teach people how to relax and cultivate calm. It frustrates me so much because if we really value our mental health, we have to stop being so busy all the time.
They call it ‘crazy busy’ for a reason. Excessive busy-ness makes us crazy.
Now I know what you’re thinking, that you’re the exception. That you’re good at being busy and getting stuff done.
But let me ask you how you feel?
Is your mind constantly racing?
How’s your blood pressure?
Body full of aches and pains?
That’s chronic stress my friend and it ain’t good for you.
Here’s some research that should stress you out.
- Chronic stress is associated with accelerated aging and mood disorders
- Chronic stress can lead to depression, affects the immune system and causes the development or progression of certain cancers
- Chronic stress impairs our cognitive functioning and makes us more vulnerable to mental illness.
Busy-ness is a modern curse, hexing us with stress, anxiety, depression and illness.
Busy-ness is a choice, and a poor one at that.
Busy-ness is an unconscious choice we made. Everyone else was doing it so we followed suit. We fell for the busy myth and tied our sense of importance and self-worth to the size of our to-do list.
And sure it CAN FEEL GOOD to get stuff done, but the thing is, IT’S NEVER ALL DONE.
The ‘to do’ list is endless. We’re kidding ourselves if we think it will all finally be done.
How do you get $#it done without being busy?
I do it all the time. It’s making a deliberate choice not to be busy.
It starts with an attitude or mindset. Instead of starting my day in a panic about everything I want to get done, I take a moment to decide how I want to feel.
And I prefer EASE over ANXIETY. But that’s just me.
I don’t like clenching my jaw, heart palpitations, tension headaches, nausea and panic.
I go about my day and get stuff done with an attitude of EASE.
I say no to things I don’t want to do.
I make time in my day to do nothing.
I take things off my to do list because they’re not necessary.
I focus on what’s important
I’m honest with myself about how I feel and if I feel busy, I stop.
I’m at my worst when I’m busy. I’m distracted, I’m stressed, I’m unfocused, I can’t think clearly, my creativity is blocked, my body is tense and I do a really poor job at whatever I’m doing.
Rushing, racing, being in a hurry and constantly needing to do more and more feels like crap. And I want to feel at ease.
So when I find stress and busy-ness creeping up on me, I take time out. I usually lie on the floor in constructive rest pose and feel my body and breath. When we’re stressed we’re stuck in our heads. When our focus is in the body, we calm the nervous system and the mind.
I still get stuff done but I go about my day with an attitude of EASE. I’m productive, attentive, creative, thoughtful, strategic and successful when I operate from a place of ease.
Being calm, relaxed and at ease makes me better at everything.
Calm is my superpower and I teach people how to find it.
I want to lead a calm revolution. I want people to see that there’s an alternative to an anxious lifestyle and it starts with a choice.
How do you want to feel?
And then we can see if our habits and tendencies are congruent with how we want to feel or if our mindset, attitude and approach to our lives is the reason we feel like crap.
What’s the point of getting to the end of our day having achieved everything on our to-do list and instead of feeling accomplished, we’re exhausted, cranky, anxious and already writing our next to do list?
How we do things is just as important as getting stuff done.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sitting around all day watching my tail. I bring conscious awareness to what I’m doing and I take stock of how I feel. And if I don’t feel ease, I do something about it.
I do less to get more done.
I avoid perfectionism – particularly when it comes to things that don’t matter to me. I do half-arsed, mediocre housework because to me, getting it done with ease is better than not doing it, or doing it in a way that causes me stress.
I save my energy for what’s important: my health, my relationships and my work.
Want to join the calm revolution?
- Stop what you’re doing.
- Feel your feet on the floor, your bum on the chair.
- Connect to your breath.
- Allow yourself 1 minute to do nothing.
- If you have 10 minutes, listen to this.
- Remove something from your to-do list.
- Pat yourself on the back for rebelling against busy-ness.
Know someone who’s busy, stressed or who could benefit from this blog? Please send them the link or share it on social media.
Want to start a conversation about busy-ness? Leave a comment below.
Want to learn how to cultivate calm? Check out the Art of Relaxation.
Main image artwork by Henn Kim
Simon et.al (2006) Telomere Shortening and Mood Disorders: Preliminary Support for a Chronic Stress Model of Accelerated Aging. Journal of Biological Psychiatry Vol 60, Issue 5, Pages 432–435.
Reiche (2004) Stress, depression, the immune system, and cancer. The Lancet Oncology Volume 5, Issue 10, October 2004, Pages 617-625
- Marin et.al (2011) Chronic stress, cognitive functioning and mental health. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory Volume 96, Issue 4, November 2011, Pages 583-595