I know a thing or two about busy schedules. I currently work full-time, just started this blog, and am in grad school (eek!). Also, I help out my elderly grandmother and have two super fun grandchildren (talk about epic distraction), and four fur babies who need my attention. I am continually fighting overwhelm.
When you have little time to fit everything in, it’s easy to become stressed about what you have to get done. The to-do list seems never to end, and there’s always something else that you need to do. Often, when you’re pressed for time, you neglect self-care.
However, self-care is the one thing you should not neglect.
While it may seem counterintuitive to add more to your already overflowing plate, self-care is vital to your well-being, your ability to work, and to your family. After all, if you’re not taking care of yourself, you won’t have the strength, love, and energy to take care of anything else.
If you think you don’t have time to add any new habits into your tight schedule, keep reading. These five lifestyle habits won’t take up a lot of your time once you get them down, but they increase your energy and decrease your stress. That means you’ll be able to function at your best for your family and have the energy to work on your blog.
Use these five simple lifestyle changes to fight overwhelm and feel energetic enough to tackle the never-ending to-do list of life.
Create Sacred Space
Sacred space helps us to connect with our inner selves. It serves to remind us that we are whole and perfect beings and that we are connected to everything. Sacred space doesn’t have to be limited to an actual space – the silence and peace within us is the sacred space. Wherever you can find to be alone with yourself for a few minutes will do the trick. However, creating an actual space can be helpful. I have a little altar in my bedroom that I use. It’s full of items that were given to me or mean something to me. An altar need not be religious either if you aren’t given toward spirituality. It can be as simple as a family picture or a seashell your child gave you, anything that can ground you and remind you why you work so hard.
Take as little as five minutes every day to close your eyes and just breathe. Or if you prefer to be out in nature, watch nature and focus only on it. Try to avoid thinking at all, especially worrying about what you still have to do or what has gone wrong in your day. Our minds like to take quiet moments to remind us of all the negative and stressful things in our lives, but this is your time, so you have to learn to quiet that voice. It does take some practice. If you find you’re having trouble with focusing on your breath, you can create a little chant to repeat. Anything will work, but be sure to make it a positive one. If it rhymes, you’ll find it’s easier to continue chanting without too much effort. For some reason, rhymes seem to lull our minds into a quiet space.
Eat Whole Foods
The importance of nutrition in our health cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, when we have a busy schedule, it’s much easier to eat fast food or grab snacks than to make a healthy meal. In the long run, such choices will cause fatigue and illness though. I’m not a big planner, but one of the few things I plan every week is my meals. I have a whiteboard monthly planner that I use, and I plan a week of dinners at a time. Knowing what we’ll be having for dinner means I’m not as tempted to seek out fast food just because time is limited. It’s honestly not much more time consuming to cook a meal from scratch than to grab fast food. There are tons of quick and healthy recipes out there. I also shop every week and pick up lots of produce and healthy snacks. Whole foods support your body so you can be healthy and vibrant.
I hate exercise. I love the way I feel when I do it, but exercise is a chore. Sadly, we sit too much in our society, and studies link sitting to a decline in health. I don’t often have time to do a workout (and honestly, I hate them), but moving our body is vital to optimal health and energy. If you can’t negotiate time in your schedule for a full workout, just be sure you’re getting up and moving your body. Take a short walk outside, use the stairs, jog in place while you’re bingeing Netflix or any number of other creative ways to add some movement to your day. At my day job, I have a standing desk, and I recently saw that there are versions (<—not an affiliate link) you can purchase for at home too. This is another way to avoid sitting too much. Exercise helps to increase energy levels, and it helps to decrease stress, which is vital to fighting overwhelm.
Be Present and Be Thankful
One of the strategies I use to avoid feeling like there isn’t enough time is to slow down and be more present. Shifting our mindset can make the difference between feeling calm and feeling stressed out. One of the problems with a busy schedule is that it can seem like the to-do list never ends and that there’s never enough time in the day. When we start fixating on how little time we have, it begins to affect all areas of our lives and can make us not only stressed but also pessimistic, depressed, and angry. Conversely, a simple change in the way we think can affect all areas of our lives. When you find yourself stressing about all the things that still have to be done, breathe and take a step back. Instead of focusing on things that haven’t happened yet, remind yourself to be present in whatever you are doing. Then remind yourself of all the things you have to be thankful for.
Adopting an attitude of thankfulness will spill over into a more positive attitude overall. You’ll soon realize that you have all the time and energy you need to get everything done that is a priority. And if there’s something that never gets priority, then it might be time to evaluate what parts of your to-do list no longer serve you or that you can delegate to someone else. You might have the energy to maintain a busy schedule, but it doesn’t mean you’re superhuman. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Adults often think playing is only for kids. If you have young children, it’s easy to get down and play with them because you know playing is important for their growth. However, once the kids get older, I think this is an aspect of life adults tend to believe is no longer important. Or at least we no longer consider it a priority. It’s hard to set aside work to play; we’re adults, we don’t do that sort of thing. But play and laughter are such essential parts of life that I think it’s worth making it a habit to ensure we are getting enough play in our lives, especially when we have a tight schedule to maintain.
By going and playing–whether you’re getting down and playing with little ones or going and swinging by yourself or any other fun thing you can think of–we recall the wonder of being a child. That wonder is still there in us, and if we let it out, it can help boost our creativity. For bloggers, this is huge. Creativity helps us to write content, create products, and solve problems, things that are all vital to our business. Sometimes we don’t need to work harder; we just need to go outside and play like a kid.
A healthy body and relaxed mind will help you maintain your busy schedule without feeling overwhelmed. Use these tactics to allow yourself some time to relax, play, and keep yourself well. Give yourself the care you need because you are important!
Do you have any strategies you use to make your busy life manageable? Tell me about them in the comments!