• Beth

Breaking the Busy Habit

Have you ever considered that being busy is a habit? Let that one sink in for a moment or two.

For so many of us the habit is there as a protection device. A comfort blanket so that we don't have to deal with the noise that's in our mind. Just like having a glass of wine after a long day (if you drink) or a cup of coffee in the morning, it's simply something that we reach for so that we don't have to sit with ourselves.

But I wonder what would happen if we slowed it down and sat with our feelings? Possibly uncomfortable but probably worth it.

I remember when I first stopped drinking alcohol, those stressful days were the worst. I had to sit with the feelings that I was hoping to numb. So flipping uncomfortable and I can tell you now many a tear was shed.

Breaking up with busyness is a similar affair. We often say that we haven't got time to think but if we take note of our actions, have we gone straight onto social media as soon as we woke up? Have you pushed through your lunchbreak (which for many of us is an unpaid hour!) and worked the whole day straight? Have you sat in front of the telly and not even paid attention to what's going on and then moaned that your weekend has disappeared?

None of these things are bad in themselves, but when they're not done with intention that's when we find there's a problem. When they're done on autopilot, it's easy for them to become a habit and when they become a habit that's when we find ourselves moaning about how busy we are.

We don't have to live in this busyness though. It takes a mindset shift and some conscious effort but it is possible to move away from the busy habit.

Let's explore the mindset shift first. A great way to do this is by journaling on the question "What does busy mean for me?" so many of us have busyness tied up with success but being busy doesn't automatically mean success is on it's way.

Once you've journaled on that, try asking the question "What busy activities make me feel good & which make me feel dreadful?" Take a look at the answer to that one. Are there any things in the 'feel dreadful' category that you don't have to do? For example, I used to think I needed to keep up with the news. I thought it was my civil duty to be aware of everything that was going on. The thing is I ended up scrolling news sites for hours, not doing things that I actually enjoyed & feeling hugely anxious. Now I either ask Al (he teaches politics) for the latest updates and I also check on Simple Politics for the headlines. Turns out I didn't drop any IQ points by not reading the news.

If you can drop one or two of the 'feel dreadful' column then go for it! Revel in the fact that you're making space for yourself. Ad for heaven's sake please don't try to shove in an activity that you feel you should be doing!

For the ones that you can't drop (I also wish the house would clean itself!), how can you make them more enjoyable? Could you listen to music and have a dance whilst you're cleaning? Could you listen to some mind food whilst you're exercising? Have a good think about how you could make those 'have tos' a more intentional experience.

For the bits that make you feel good, how could you be more intentional with these? How could you be present whilst you're doing them? How can you create joy with them?

"Joy in the ironing?" I hear you cry, what if you listened to a book? Watched your favourite tv program? Would that make those 'have to' tasks a more enjoyable experience?

I'd love to hear how you get on with this one my loves, pop a comment to inspire others or send me an email alagomlifeuk@gmail.com to let me know how you go.

With love,

Beth x

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