That we live in a busy world and society is not in doubt. From the moment you jump out of bed to the time you thankfully crawl under your bedsheets to get less-than-adequate sleep, your mind and body are busy. And who can blame you for being busy? Since the day we allowed capitalism and the law of the jungle to be our guiding principles, it is anathema for anybody of working age to be lounging on a sofa when they should be looking for an extra dollar. But is there a price to pay for this level of busyness?
You guessed it; there is, and an expensive one for that matter. If you are thinking that someone else will pay the price for your busy life, please think twice. You are the greatest loser. How can I be the loser when I am hustling to make a living? Because you are forgetting to feed the cow that produces the milk. In essence, in the process of fending for yourself and your family, you are likely to forget to create time for yourself.
I know people have praised you because you are a multi-tasking geek. You can juggle working, parenting, charity work and so on. You have been told countless times how you inspire people by the amount of work you can accomplish in a single day. You are happy because they single you out in your workplace as a person to be emulated for your work; after all, you are the first person in the office and always the last. You have even started indicating in your resume that you are good at multi-tasking.
It is important to remember that the human body is made of flesh and blood. You are not a machine that simply needs to be repaired to work for another day. You cannot be replaced once you are gone. There are no spare brains, hands, teeth, heart, kidney, liver and so on. Irrespective of how much money you make, you will end up paying through constant illness, obesity, loss of friends, accelerated ageing and many other negative effects. It is no longer a luxury to have time to recuperate.
Be honest with yourself. What happens when sleep comes for its debt? I know you are using alarms and all sort of medicine to keep yourself awake, but for how long will you survive on this strategy? When was the last time you spent quality time with your partner, spouse or children? Let’s come close to your heart, do you remember the last time you went out by yourself simply to catch fresh air and relax your mind? I know you don’t. You even think those who get time for themselves are either very rich, lazy or thieves. You justify yourself by saying you are waiting for the day you will have a lot of money for you to have some fun. Guess what? That day is never coming your way any time soon! You have to create it.
What You Need To Do
There is person inside you that longs for fun and rejuvenation. This is the same person you have been overworking. You need to reward him or her by connecting with them every now and then. Let us discuss a number of actions that you can take today to win back your ‘self’ and reward your body for paying your bills for the past many days, months or even years.
What drives you? What exactly is your heart telling you in terms of the things that make you happy? If you were to summarise the values that drive you what would they be? After writing these things down, you will realise that the work you do daily and the people you associate with may not be giving you the opportunity to be yourself. What you need is to break the monotony of work and routine and to find regular time to express your core values. If you like philanthropy or community work, make time for such activities and you will gladden your heart.
Create Time For Family
Except for those unfortunate to have lost all their loved ones and have no family at all, all of us have blood relatives that care about us deeply. You are a son or daughter to a certain ageing man or woman who longs to spend some quality time with you as used to happen when you were young and vulnerable. How about the little sister or brother with whom you executed so much mischief? They may be grown up today but deep inside them is that mischievous child that would want to relive the moment again, albeit through shared stories. I don’t know what the problem is with grandparents; they never seem to believe that you are already a parent yourself! They simply want to treat you the same way they did when you were a toddler. If sharing time with these people will not help you connect with yourself, I bet you have a serious problem.
Revive Friendship Circles
We don’t live in a vacuum and friends are part of the circle that keeps us sane and productive. Being busy has the tendency of driving away the people you love from your life. When you begin concentrating on your work, you may also start to lose your friends, one by one. I know your friends are also busy people and they have little time for the activities that brought you together before. For their sake and yours too, reach out to them and begin to enjoy being together as you used to. As you discuss serious issues, as you gossip and engage in idle chatter, something in you will be ignited to give you a reason to smile again.
Take A Walk Alone
You are used to driving or being driven every day. You don’t even remember when last you walked on the grass or pavements in your neighbourhood. Your heart has longed to go into the woods and imbibe fresh air. Your love the chirping of birds and the noises made by various animals but you have always lacked time. Maybe you grew up in the country and years of living in a concrete jungle are suffocating you. What are you waiting for? Get out and walk into the woods. Go watch swans doing what they know best at the lake. Take time and lie on the grass in the park to get a bout of real natural air instead of the motor vehicle exhaust fumes you have become accustomed to in the city.
Keep A Journal
I am not a good writer, you say. Journal keeping is not an exercise in writing skills. It is a psychological tool to help you reflect on your day. It makes you aware of the ways in which you are neglecting yourself. A journal is an honest look at your day while you reflect on how the day benefitted you. It is also a leisure activity that you have to create time every day. It helps to reconnect with yourself because you have to pose questions and get answers on how well you are treating yourself.
I know there are many more strategies for reconnecting yourself. Whether you want to meditate, lie idly on the sofa, sleep, listen to music, go on holiday, sing or play, the most important thing is that you give time to activities that rejuvenate your body, freshen your mind and give pleasure to your soul.
Your Grace Guru