How to slow down and create some space

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So many people feel like that they have no time …no time for yoga, no time to meditate, no time for any hobbies, no time for self-care. Their stress levels are critical but they can’t see a way off the treadmill. Often the only time they actually stop and pause is when they are ill.

The cult of busy

Our modern lives drive us to live in ‘doing mode’, rather than ‘being mode’. We have endless to-do lists, and are contactable 24 hours a day, thanks to modern technology. Doing nothing is frowned on as being ‘lazy’ or a waste of time. There is even evidence to suggest that the more busy someone is, the higher others perceive their status, turning ‘busy’ into a status symbol.

However, whilst being busy is applauded, admitting to stress can be hard, especially to employers. We are expected to do more and more and just cope.

“Those who are wise won’t be busy, and those who are too busy can’t be wise.”
― Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living

How can we create more space in our already busy lives?

If this is you, you’re on that treadmill of busyness and want to get off – think about why you are so busy. Is it because you feel lonely / isolated / bored if every moment isn’t filled with something? Is it because you feel guilty if you are not doing something ‘useful’ or even if you take time out for yourself?

“When we make the transition from crazy-busy to rest, we have to find out what comforts us, what really refuels us, and do that. We deserve to not just put work away and be in service of someone else. What’s really meaningful for us? What do we want to be doing?”

-Brene Brown

Start being less busy by saying no to things – things you don’t have to do, things you don’t really want to do but do anyway out of a sense of obligation. Before you fill that time with new stuff, take some time to figure out what you really want or need to be doing. What will nourish you rather than leave you feeling depleted? Is it simply spending more time with your family, getting out in nature more often, or having a long soak in the bath for an hour after work?

Taking a few minutes to just focus on the breath at the start and end of each day can help to ground you, and help you to feel less scattered when there are lots of competing demands. Bring some mindfulness into your everyday life by really being present. Instead of checking Facebook on your phone when you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, you could try feeling the ground beneath your feet, the sensations of the cup in your hand, the noise of the kettle as it meets your ears. Being more present, instead of spending the whole time worrying about the future, or the past, can help create more space in your day. Once you start believing that self-care is important, and a priority, you can start allowing more of it into your life.

And maybe experiment with doing nothing – turn off the phone, put your book away and just sit. See what happens, even if you can only manage a minute. You will see that you are never really ‘doing nothing’, there is always something going on – the breath, the thoughts. Try it and see!

“For fast acting relief, try slowing down.”
― Lily Tomlin

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