MINDSET MATTERS: Breaking Busy ~ The Art of Stress Management Through Slowing Down

MINDSET MATTERS: Breaking Busy ~ The Art of Stress Management Through Slowing Down

 

I don’t care how busy I am I will always make time for what’s important to me.

~ Kevin Hart

 

My Dear Friends,

I am writing this blog as a letter to you ~ a love letter, if you will allow me to say that ~ because I want you to read it as if I am speaking to you as someone who cares deeply about you.  Because I do! Even if we’ve never met. Because you are a human being, I care deeply about you!  I am worried that you are so busy you are not enjoying life!

I am increasingly having the feeling that society is suffering from an epidemic of being busy!

Now, don’t get me wrong, in general I don’t have a problem with people being busy. But, I’m seeing that Americans in particular are taking the idea of busy to new levels.  As an American, I would like to proudly say that we are a high-achieving people. The problem is that our high-achieving nature is making us ill!

Okay – I know I lost some of you there… but, stick with me.  I’m NOT saying that having high standards of achievement is making us ill. What I AM saying is that breakneck pace at which we go after those high standards of achievement is making us ill.

Additionally, many of my friends and neighbors are achieving high standards of being busy just for the sake of being busy. On this score I want to share three crucial points of wisdom:

  • BUSY is not necessarily PRODUCTIVE!
  • Taking time for SELF-CARE is NOT lazy!
  • Being too busy = STRESS = ILLNESS

I chose the Kevin Hart quote at the top of this post because in it he talks about making time for what is important.  My question for you, my dear, sweet friend, is:

“Are you important?”

 Are you important enough to yourself that you will take time out of your busy schedule for self-nurture???

 

WHO COMES FIRST?

          I wrote an earlier blog for moms Want To Be a Supermom? Take Good Care of Yourself! about how to use the airline analogy of putting the oxygen mask on yourself first. The airlines want you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first (in case of emergency) so that you don’t pass out before you can put the oxygen on your children and others who need help. Likewise, if a mom allows herself some self-care, it helps her to be a better mom because she’s not exhausted and stressed-out.

Honestly, this analogy is important for anyone who has a care-taking role for others. Whether you are a teacher, a nurse, a manager, a parent, an adult child who  cares for an elderly parent, etc. etc. you NEED to take care of yourself first!

That does not mean that you are going to the spa or the golf-course every weekend in lieu of taking your kids to baseball or gymnastics.  It means that you CAN take an amount of time that you specify (and perhaps work out with your spouse or partner if need be) for self-care on a daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly basis.

Give yourself a little care first and you will be able to give others a lot of care on a regular basis!

 Here’s an exercise for you to try out. Make a list of things you can do for your self-care:

I’ll get you started with ideas

  • Go to yoga and/ or take a walk or leisurely bike ride 1x to 3x per week.
  • Play golf or tennis or engage in another activity with friends 1x per week.
  • Have a “date night” with your spouse 1x week.
  • Have a night out with friends 1x to 2x per month.
  • ___________________________________________________________
  • ___________________________________________________________
  • ___________________________________________________________

Keep the list going!

 

TAKE A DAILY TIME INVENTORY

Another good way to figure out how to break busy is to take a look at how you spend your time. One of the very first sessions I do with my Peaceful Living Wellness coaching clients is to have them write out a detailed list of what they do with their time. I have them complete one list for weekdays and one for weekends.  It helps us figure out how they are spending their time AND if the way they are spending their time is serving them.

Here are some things that I found when I did this exercise myself:

  • I was spending so much time volunteering for my kids’ schools and organizations that it was almost a full-time job! Volunteering is a wonderful thing & it absolutely feeds my soul to help others in that way. But, volunteering so much that I was not taking care of myself or my business was causing a problem!
  • I was spending a lot of time vegging out in front of the television in the morning and in the evening. Vegging out in front of the TV is something that can actually be good for you in small doses. 30 minutes to an hour to give your brain a break is really okay. But, how I was watching the morning news and starting my day with negativity and noise was not a good choice. And for those of you who veg out for several hours in front of the TV every night, it’s really not serving you as well as reading or listening to something enriching, meditating, doing yoga, cuddling with &/ or reading to your kiddos, etc. will.
  • I was allowing myself to fall down the rabbit hole of SOCIAL MEDIA for too many hours. Even though my social media use was often sporadic ~ 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there ~ when I completed my detailed inventory it ended up being a lot of hours over the course of the day and the week! Again, social media is something that can serve us well. For business-owners it’s a must. For others, the social connection is very uplifting. But, when your time spent on social media adds up, when it gives you FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), when it makes you feel bad about yourself because you are comparing your life to the lives of others, or when it is exposing you to the negativity of others, it is NOT serving you well.

What I found for myself, and what my clients find, after doing this exercise, is that there is a lot of time we all waste on things that are not helping to make us happier healthier people!

Use this exercise to help you figure out what you are doing that is NOT contributing to your feeling relaxed and happy.

 

TRY TO DO THIS! NOT THAT!

  • Spend 10 – 15 minutes meditating by cutting 10 – 15 minutes off your social media time.
  • Spend an hour-and-half weekly going to yoga by carpooling for your kids’ soccer, gymnastics, etc. etc.
  • Spend an hour reading (or listening to a good book) by cutting out an hour of TV time.
  • Spend an hour taking a warm, relaxing bath at night by asking your partner to do the dishes and/ or put the kids to bed. Trade off nights with this if need be.

You get the picture! Fill in your own ideas. Once you get going I bet you will find that there are a ton of DO THIS ideas on your list!

 

Go to it Peaceful Living Warriors! Find your inner peace and healthy life by BREAKING BUSY!  I know you can do it! And if you need support in your quest to Break Busy, reach out to me! We can schedule a breakthrough coaching session in which I can support and motivate you! I’m here for you friend.

Love & Light,

Jen

Want more easy, helpful tips on how to break busy? Check out my blog “Are You Addicted to Being Busy?”

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You “Can’t” Slow Down? Or, You “Won’t” Slow Down?

You “Can’t” Slow Down? Or, You “Won’t” Slow Down?

 

“We are human beings, not human doings.” ~ Deepak Chopra

My friends it’s time for another love letter.  I write these letters to you out of love and care for your health. And when I talk about health and stress together I am always talking about both Emotional AND Physical health!

It is actually a dear friend of mine who prompted this letter. I won’t throw her under the bus by calling her out by name, but here’s how our conversation went:

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Sometimes You Just Need To Make A U-Turn!

Sometimes You Just Need To Make A U-Turn!

My alarm did not go off this morning, so I woke-up late.  Because it was pouring rain my teenage son asked me to take him to school instead of riding the bus.  My daughter forgot her flute and asked me to drop it by the school for her… This was just the beginning of my morning.   (more…)

Mindset Matters: Stop making excuses, get your stress under control and start living your happy, peaceful life

Mindset Matters: Stop making excuses, get your stress under control and start living your happy, peaceful life

It’s a very rainy Monday here in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina.  And honestly, having an upbeat mindset can be a challenge for me on these gray days!  Being from San Diego, California I am definitely a sunshine person.  Yet, I have learned to make a peaceful living day even if it’s gray.  I’m cuddled up in my bed, the fireplace is on, I have my fuzzy socks on and my kitty is dozing at my feet.  So I say, “let it rain because I feel warm and snuggy & peaceful!”

 

But, what about those days that are emotionally gray?  Are you rushing through life feeling like you are in a gray haze sometimes?  Can you find a way to feel peace and joy on those emotionally gray days? I know, sometimes that gray haze of stress just weighs us down.  Some days it’s all we can do to make it through each day.  I’ve been there! I know what it’s like to spend most of my moments wishing that each part of my day would just hurry up and happen so that I can get home and into bed.

 

THE GOOD NEWS

 

The good news is, you do not have to live that way!  You can get your stress under control and start living each moment as if you don’t want that moment to pass because you are enjoying it so much!

 

You CAN live a happy, peaceful life!

 

Again, I know because I have been there.  Here is the formula I use:

HAPPY DAYS = I embrace them with gratitude!

GRAY DAYS = I stay in each moment and detach from the overall feeling of the day.

And you can do this too!

You can live a peaceful, joy-filled life, in spite of the gray days!

 

BUT, YOU HAVE TO STOP MAKING EXCUSES!

 

Here are some of the top excuses I hear:

 

  • My job is so stressful that I can’t do anything about my stress.
  • My spouse/ partner makes me so unhappy I can’t do anything about my stress.
  • My kids’ schedule is so busy that I can’t do anything about my stress.
  • I am so busy that I can’t do anything about my stress.
  • I have health problems, and I don’t feel good, so I can’t do anything about my stress.

 

Here is what one of my favorite authors, Jack Canfield, has to say about those types of excuses:

  • You are 100% responsible for your life!
  • You can decide to make an excuse and live with your stress and unhappiness.
  • Or, you can adjust your response to life’s events and take responsibility for a different outcome.
  • Event + Response = OUTCOME

 

You are 100% responsible for your life! ~ Jack Canfield

 

On first read, this can sound very harsh. But, I promise you it’s not.  I’m not saying that very hard, challenging things don’t have an effect on us as human beings. I’m not saying that your job isn’t stressful, that your relationship isn’t hurting or that your kids’ schedules are not overwhelming. What I am saying is that through taking responsibility for yourself – how you think, how you care for yourself, what choices you make, HOW YOU RESPOND to life’s challenging events – you absolutely can have a peaceful, joy-filled life, irrespective of your circumstances!

At this point you may be asking: But, how do I do that Jen?

You need to figure that out for yourself, or even better, with a coach, friend or therapist!  It’s about YOU taking responsibility for YOU!  But, here are a few examples to go along with the “excuses” I mentioned above:

Excuse 1: “My job is so stressful…”

  • First, make a list of the things you like about your job.
    • Write out and say why you are grateful for these things.
  • Second, make a list of the things that are stressful about your job.
    • Problem-solve to find ways to alleviate the stress. Bring in a trusted friend, family member, coach or therapist to help you with this if you need.
  • If you just cannot find a way to solve the problems look for another job or way of making money – i.e. entrepreneurship, an online business, even driving for Uber.

 

Excuse 2: “My spouse/ partner makes me so unhappy…”

  • First, realize that you cannot control another person. You can only control yourself.
  • Second, work on yourself and your own happiness. You may be pleasantly surprised that when you change your way of being, your spouse starts to change as well.
  • Third, seek counseling!
  • Fourth, figure out what each of you needs in the relationship and then start filling those needs for your partner. Again, you may be surprised at how your partner will respond by filling your needs.
  • And while doing all of these things, communicate mindfully! Mindful communication makes all the difference.

 

Excuse 3: “My kids’ schedule is so busy…”

  • This one is easy! Give both yourself and your kids a break and unscheduled them!
    • Only allow them one sport or activity at a time.
    • If the travel team is eating your time, have your kids play club sports instead. They will survive!
  • If you are one of those parents who just won’t lessen your kids’ sports and activities, then at the very least, find a carpool.

 

Excuse 4: “I am so busy…”

 

Excuse 5: “I have health problems…”

  • This is definitely one of the more difficult situations. Poor health and chronic pain are very hard to live with. But, it can be done.
  • Know that you will need to live differently than you have in the past.
  • Take exceptionally good care of yourself, both physically and emotionally.
  • Ask for and be open to receiving help.
  • Be mindfully accepting of your new normal.
  • Find gratitude in the little things

 

THE BAD NEWS

The bad news is that if you don’t get your stress under control you are at risk of many stress-related diseases: heart disease; stroke; diabetes ; certain cancers;  thyroid conditions ; the list goes on and on!

BACK TO THE GOOD NEWS

You can take small steps to lower the level of chronic stress in your life.

You do not have to live with chronic stress or the dis-ease it brings.

Changing your mindset and giving up your excuses is the first step!

Stick with me! I have lots of tips, techniques, motivation, inspiration & encouragement for you!

Would you like some of that?

Love & Light Y’all!

Jen

Dear Chronic Worrier

Dear Chronic Worrier

Dear Chronic Worrier,

 

It’s time for another one of my “love letters” to the world.  I’ve written love letters before about giving up one’s addiction to being busy and making sure you put the oxygen mask on yourself first .  This love letter is written in the same vein.  Just like being busy all of the time has harmful effects on your health, so does chronic worry.  

I have lived my entire life with a woman who is a self-admitted chronic worrier. Hi Mom ☺   I tease her that her love language is worry.

While I can be more lighthearted about it now, that was not really the case when I was growing up. My mom’s worrying about everything takes its toll not only on her, but on those around her as well.

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