Are you busy? Like, really really busy? Are you too busy to read this article? Pick up the dry-cleaning? Make a healthy dinner?
What about feeling grounded and calm? Are you too busy for that? Are you too busy to put yourself first for once, and to set clear, healthy boundaries? Are you too busy to replenish your energy stores and improve your mood? Too busy to feel inspired, connected and expansive? Are you too busy to say no, so you’re always saying yes even though it leaves you feeling resentful and stressed out?
Busyness might be ubiquitous but that doesn’t mean it’s cool. Sorry to burst that bubble, but I have a different idea of what’s trendy.
I think trendy is looking after ourselves, deeply and completely. Saying no when we mean no. Setting clear, healthy boundaries (and holding to them). Backing ourselves, slowing down without the guilt, and incorporating little moments of calm into our day.
So here are 6 ways to release yourself from the busyness trap – you can take them or leave them. But if you don’t take them, can you really afford to burn out?
1. Say no when you mean no
Before you say yes to anything else, ask yourself if you really want to say yes. Really? Would it feel good to you? Expansive? Freeing? Or does saying yes feel restrictive and rigid? Do you already feel resentment bubbling up inside you? What would feel good to you?
You can say no in a loving, kind way. And in fact, saying no is often being loving and kind to yourself, and it’s as important as saying yes. Balance the scales a little more in your favour by saying no when you truly, deeply, honourably mean no.
2. Set clear, healthy boundaries (and honour them)
Boundaries define your territory; what you say yes to, what you say no to, and how you allow others to treat you, and getting clear on your boundaries is an important step in getting out of the busyness trap.
But healthy boundaries are more than just saying no when you really, truly mean no. They’re also about holding your own energy and space so that you don’t take on others peoples’ stuff, which we often do if we feel (consciously or not) that they aren’t capable of looking after themselves or of doing the job right.
You can decide how others treat you by how you show up, by how you set boundaries, and by how you honour them. Initially it can feel a little scary to do this, but you’ll soon see, feel and know the difference this makes. Start today.
3. Back yourself
If you had a date planned with a friend, would you cancel them with five minutes to go? Probably not. Likewise, if you were walking into your yoga studio for a little bit of ‘me’ time and a colleague called you up to go through tomorrow’s presentation, would you turn and walk away from your yoga mat? Or would you back yourself and politely say, “Thanks so much for the call. I’m just walking into an appointment; I’ll call you back later”?
Much like you show up your family, friends and colleagues, it’s time you begin showing up for yourself too. Use this free self-care planner I created to help you make space for yourself in your busy calendar.
4. Slow down without the guilt
If I asked you to create time in your busy calendar to not make plans, to rest in whichever way felt good to you, and to restore your energy, how would you feel? Guilty for taking some time out of your busy day? Guilty for filling your well before you give more back to others? You need to put yourself first and give yourself time to rest if you want to show up in the world. The world doesn’t need the burnt-out, exhausted version of you. The world needs you, at your best, and you can’t be your best if you’re always putting everyone else’s’ needs ahead of your own.
You must create white space in your calendar and mind. You must give yourself permission to slow down and rest up. And you must allow yourself to do this, guilt-free. Not only do you ‘deserve’ it, but you’re worthy of it.
5. Incorporate little moments of calm into your day
This sounds easy and honestly, it can be. How can you incorporate a few moments of calm into your day? I do this by simply sitting down away from my computer for several moments between clients, by switching off my emails for an hour or so (nothing like reducing the ‘pings’ in your life to induce a calmer state) or by walking around the block to get some sunshine and fresh air between writing articles.
It doesn’t need to be expensive or time-costly, it just needs to be something you do frequently in your day that disconnects you from the busy and connects you to the calm that is somewhere inside you. I know it’s in there, you just need to create space for it.
6. Look after yourself, deeply and completely with herbal medicine
Apart from eating well in a way that nourishes your body and your soul, and making time for rest, exercise, sunshine, fresh air, and good times with your family and friends, you can turn to beautiful herbal medicines to restore your body’s natural energy.
Some of my favourite herbs include Rhodiola, Licorice and Rehmannia, Withania, Siberian ginseng and Korean ginseng. These herbs will improve your body’s ability to adapt to a wide range of stressors and begin to help your body heal and find equilibrium again.
If you’re feeling a little frazzle and anxious, herbs like Passionflower, Valerian, Lemon Balm, and Chamomile are beautiful, and if you’re feeling down, St John’s Wort (don’t take if you’re on medication), Lavender, Oats and Rhodiola are wonderful. If you don’t know a good naturopath or herbalist, pop in to your local health food store and ask them how best to take these herbs (usually in liquid, tablet or capsule form). Teas also work beautifully however for therapeutic doses, I always recommend liquid herbs.
Getting out of the busyness trap is up to one person… you. Will full permission, zero guilt, firm healthy boundaries and a whole lot of compassion, it’s completely possible.
Featured image provided by Cassie Mendoza-Jones
Cassie founded Elevate Vitality in 2011, which is both a naturopathic and kinesiology clinic and an online space that offers women a vast range of online courses, guides and blog posts that help them achieve health and happiness in their lives. She’s made it her mission to help women find clarity, connection and a sense of ease and freedom in their lives, by guiding them to feel worthy and confident in their skin, and to let go of their limiting beliefs, fears and worries about never being good enough. For more information on Cassie, visit: www.elevatevitality.com.au.