HOW TO FIND CALM WHEN LIFE GETS BUSY
Life can get busy and we sometimes struggle to keep pace. If this has happened to you and you want to slow down, here are 10 simple tips on how to find calm when life gets busy.
WHEN LIFE GETS BUSY
How are you? Did you answer ‘busy’!?
I’m sure many of us feel like that from time to time. If you feel that life has picked up speed and you need to find ways to slow down and carve out time for you, then I hope this article helps.
I love to write about productivity, getting more organised and clearing the clutter from your schedule (like you would declutter your home).
Good time management is one of the key components of simple living and creating an intentional life – one that’s on your terms and not defined by your To Do list or anyone else.
However, I’m also realistic and life gets busy sometimes.
There doesn’t always seem much scope to do less, slow down or take your foot off the pedal. If this feels familiar, then keep reading for some little tips to help you find calm when life gets busy.
WHY CALM IS IMPORTANT
Personally, I like to find calm when life is too busy. Calm relaxes and rejuvenates me. It encourages thoughts and ideas to come to me, gives me silence for inspiration, quietens my mind from the busy-ness of the day and refreshes me so that I’m ready for whatever comes my way next.
Calm makes me happier and healthier in mind and body and I’m definitely nicer to be around and a better parent, wife and friend!
I also feel calm when I’m more organised and on top of things. I feel less stressed, more in control and more at ease when my To Do list is ticked off (usually by having less on it!) and I haven’t wasted my time on things that don’t require it.
“There is more to life than increasing its speed.“ (Mahatma Gandhi)
Calm is a state of mind where I’ve got peace in my schedule, body and mind. When life gets busy, I think it’s especially important to find your own little moments of calm and peace!
Further reading: Essential mindsets to help you get more out of life
HOW TO FIND CALM WHEN LIFE IS TOO BUSY
Here are 10 little tips to help you find calm when life gets busy. Try them for yourself and see what works for you.
1. Explore nature
Nature is beautiful and inspiring. Take yourself for a walk, listen to the birds, look out for wildlife, get the blood pumping around your body and enjoy the the feeling of movement and freedom. Breathe in the air and blow out the stress!
2. Turn off the screens
Get away from the TV, computer, your phone. Turn off the pings and alerts. You don’t need the bright lights, movement or noise to invade your space and clutter up your senses.
If you struggle with too much screen use try these ideas:
- Tell loved ones they need to phone you to contact you: Pop your phone on a shelf, out of sight and out of mind, and leave it there for 30 minutes (or however long you feel is right for you). Don’t be tempted to check it until that time is up.
- Have a place in your home where you leave your phone: Make sure you can hear it if you need to, but don’t carry it around with you so you’ll be tempted to check it often. Come away from the screen and be present in your life.
3. Meditate or journal
Find a quiet place to get comfortable and meditate, even just for a few minutes. Push out thoughts of what you’ve forgotten to do that day, or what you’re meant to be cooking for dinner. Focus on being present in the moment, centre your mind and give yourself a break, just for a moment.
Journal your thoughts and see what comes up. Let the ideas flow and take shape on paper. Check out these journal prompts for self-care to get you started.
You could create a quiet meditation corner in your home as a go-to place where you can find calm. Alternatively, have all the things you need in a box or somewhere handy that you can get to easily when you’re ready. Maybe a cushion or a candle, your journal and favourite pen? What else might you like to help you meditate or journal?
4. Brain dump
Clear your mind of busy thoughts, worries, tasks to do and things to remember. Grab a notebook and write everything down that’s weighing on your mind.
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows. It empties today of its strength.” (Corrie Ten Boom)
From here you can organise those thoughts and take action where necessary but at least they won’t be circling round your brain. Check out this post for more help on how to brain dump!
5. Sit still
There is amazing power in silence. Find a quiet place to sit still and listen to what comes to mind. Sometimes our own thoughts don’t get heard over the noise of the day. Whilst you’re enjoying the stillness, think about what you’re grateful for in your life.
“There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.” (Ralph H. Blum)
So often, when we’re caught up in the hustle bustle, we forget all the things we’re lucky to have in our lives and we don’t notice or enjoy the little things.
6. Declutter your space
It’s quite therapeutic to remove the clutter from an area of our home and create some space on a bare table-top, shelf or corner of the floor. A clearer space is less visually distracting and less clutter has been shown to equal less stress. For more ideas on how to bring a little calm to your outer environment read this post on how to create a calm family home.
Further reading: How to declutter your home and life
7. Get a change of scene
Walk away from your busy life and find a new place to be, even if it’s 10 minutes in a coffee shop or kicking a football around the park with the kids. A change of scene gives you a fresh perspective on life and gets you away from your normal schedule and surroundings. As they say, a change is as good as a break!
8. Read a book
Absorbing yourself in a good book means you’re sitting still, focusing on something other than your To Do list and finding a way to switch off from your day. Not to mention learning a new subject or being transported to fantasy land depending on what your book is about! Keep a list of books you’d like to read handy so you don’t get stuck without a good book.
9. Listen to a podcast
Expand your mind, get inspired and concentrate on what you’re listening to (maybe whilst going for a walk?). Podcasts have a similar effect to the point above but have the added benefit that you can do something else at the same time.
10. Define your priorities
If you’re constantly seeking calm in a busy life, then maybe it’s time to take stock of your diary and the pulls on your time (and energy). Say no to anything that’s not a priority for you right now. Prioritise the things that you HAVE to do so you have more time to do what you NEED to do and most importantly… carve out some more calm in your life..
SIGNS YOU ARE TOO BUSY
When life gets busy we’re often on overdrive and running on adrenalin during the day. At bedtime our head hits the pillow at night exhausted but we find it difficult to switch off and go to sleep. If we’re really too busy, over the longer-term, this can lead to burn-out and other serious problems.
Yet, there are lots of other little warning signs that can give us a clue when life gets too busy including:
- You find it difficult to concentrate and maintain focus
- You forget things or find it difficult to make a decision
- You wake up tired in the morning
- You don’t take breaks or look after yourself
It might be worth checking-in with yourself to see if you recognise any of them in yourself. Don’t ignore them and carry on. They’re a useful signal that you might need to slow down and do things differently!
Further reading: 18 signs you are too busy and what to do about it
HOW TO BE LESS BUSY
Living a busy life isn’t always permanent. I remember when my kids were very young and I was juggling a growing family with a full-time, demanding job. I was pulled in different directions and time for me (and my energy levels) were squeezed into the odd minute I could snatch in between.
I simplified and decluttered my home and my life but, in all honesty, my life was still busier than I would have liked. I had little kids to run around after, I had bills to pay and a career that I wasn’t ready (at that point anyway) to sacrifice.
Although I was to make some drastic changes later, ditching my day job on a leap of faith to join my husband in our family business, it took a while to make that leap.
Being busy was just what life was like but I did learn how to be busy doing the ‘right’ things. I wasn’t busy, I was productive but just had a lot on. I became better organised, my routines became more streamlined and I protected my precious quiet time.
If you’re life is busy and you’re looking for ways to cope with busy life, here are some helpful points:
1. Be clear on what you’re busy doing
Are you busy because you have lots going on? Are you busy because you don’t like to sit still? Are you busy because you’re disorganised? Are you busy but not sure what you’re busy doing? Do you find it difficult to say no? Do you say yes because you want to feel valued and important? Do you feel you’re expected to be busy? The first step in understanding how to be less busy is to be clear on what’s making you busy in the first place!
2. Learn to say no
Saying no isn’t selfish. It’s about knowing your boundaries, having courage to put yourself first every now and then and honouring your priorities instead of living by everyone else’s priorities.
Further reading: 7 ways to be intentional with your time
3. Review your schedule often
Don’t just stick things in your calendar and do them out of habit. Review your schedule every week and see how it looks and feels. Is there enough free time? Enough blank space. Have you double-booked or not given yourself enough wiggle room? Are there things in your diary that are there because you signed up to them a while ago? Do they still align with your priorities or are you doing them out of habit?
Further reading: How to plan for the week ahead
4. Assess your priorities
In all of these tips there’s a common thread which requires you to know your priorities. These may change over time, which is why it’s good to review your schedule and learn to say no when you need. But, is family important, or your career, or your health? Your time is limited so spend it doing what’s important to you.
Further reading: How to define your priorities and why it’s important