Wednesday, May 8, 2013

5 Tips to Get Through Super Busy Times

I haven't been posting much lately, I know. Life seemed to bring so much more my way and I had to make a decision about what to do with everything I try to do, so some things went temporarily by the wayside.

This past while has taught me some good lessons, however, that I would like to share with you. Perhaps you, too, will find yourself at a point where there are many demands on your time and energy and you are overwhelmed and my tips will help!

  1. Be wary of your coping mechanism. Electronics were a huge coping mechanism for me:  Playing computer games, watching TV and movies, chatting online... I thought it was a reasonable way to wind down, destress. It could very well be--in moderation. My use of electronics for a while was not in moderation. I found myself obsessively playing certain Facebook games and refreshing online chat sites to see if new messages were there to reply to and watching a lot of TV--which I kind of did before, but I would actually do something else while watching, at least for a part of it. I found myself very sick one day a couple of weeks back, still obsessively playing FB games (while watching TV) because I wasn't really mobile and felt like I couldn't do anything else, and it hit me that these things weren't really helping me relax. What about your coping mechanism? Do you feel more relaxed? Sometimes the coping mechanism is just an avoidance tactic and isn't really helping. The answer? Take charge! I had to set myself a rule of no games until such and such time and with a time limit. It was hard at first, but I really did feel better finding other things to do.
  2. Assess if you've dropped helpful routine things. I had, up until some point during all the life chaos, had a routine of reading religious and/or inspirational things daily. Usually at least a little in the morning and then some later on in the day. It wasn't long, maybe 5-15 minutes each session, but that little routine ended up disappearing as I fell under the weight of, "Oh my gosh, there is so much going on." It wasn't so much I didn't think I had the time, but it somehow just disappeared from my thoughts. When I realized I had stopped, this was the same day I was sick and realized I had been spending way too much time glued to electronics, I turned off the TV, closed the laptop, grabbed my books and read for probably a good hour and some. It was the most re-energizing thing I had done in weeks!

    For you, it might be a simple exercise routine or meditation or writing in your journal. If it's something that brought calm and balance to your life, bring it back in, even minimally. It can do you a world of good.
  3. Think of other things you enjoy that you've pushed aside. Working on my websites is something that I do really enjoy and yet, up until today, I somehow felt I couldn't afford the time. I was thinking about it just this morning about how, with the demands on my time right now and probably for the next month and a half, I don't have the time I used to to blog. A wise voice piped up in my head: "You still have time each day to do something." Downtime at lunch hour. With fewer demands on me this week in the evenings, I surely have even 30 minutes each evening to work on some sort of post. Things like that.

    Before today, my main focus with things I enjoy has been reading and fitting in some card-making. I sometimes only have about 15 minutes but those 15 minutes of enjoyable time go a long way.
  4. Focus on the essentials. It's easy to put a long list of to do's in our minds, but not everything has to absolutely be done. Focus on what really has to be done today. The toilet isn't going to melt if it's not cleaned today, for example. Take care of the scheduled items (appointments and lessons and work hours and such) and things you might need to do for those things and if that's all you do in a day, well, that's great! You've gotten all the essentials done! If you get through that and have more time, then you can tackle the other things and know that it's all bonus stuff. DON'T do as I did for a bit of getting through my "must be done" items and dropping the ball and turning to electronics for the rest of the day! It truly was not relaxing. This may be a personality thing, but I know that when I started doing that something extra that I had clearly chosen to do (rather than feeling "Oh, there's so much I have to do!"), even just one thing, rather than "relaxing", the stress eased up. I was no longer hiding from it all in the electronics: everything that had to be taken care of was and I had even gotten something extra done. It put things in better perspective, I suppose. Part of stress is a lack of a sense of control over circumstances. By taking back that sense of control, the stress has no choice but to go down.
  5. Meditate. Seriously. I pooh-poohed meditation for a long time. Didn't "get it", thought my prayer time was sufficient, heard strange things about it. I had, however, too many sources at once point me to simple meditation and so I started doing that every morning (okay, a couple of mornings missed due to sleeping in and having to get going, but otherwise done). Started with just 7 minutes. One weekend morning with quiet in the house and I was awake long before everybody else would be, I ended up meditating for something like 45 minutes. I don't usually have that kind of time, but even just 5 minutes, sitting in quiet on the closed toilet seat while others are up if need be, makes a difference.

    My meditation is nothing fancy: I count backwards from 20, relaxing my body with every count. The simplest meditation is to just focus on your breathing after that and let the thoughts go when/if they pop up and you recognize that they are there. I added in a Christian element (bringing my thoughts to "Be still and know that I AM" after I've finished counting down, then focusing on my breathing and bringing my thoughts back to that quote when I find they wander) which helps me even more. That's it. It's not some "wacko" practice or an attempt to get in touch with the supernatural, just a quieting of the mind and body for a time. It really makes a difference.
 Of course, there are probably many other things that help people during super busy times and may depend on each person. Exercise and eating well are often recommended, yet I find them the hardest things to stick with when I'm super busy (probably because of the mentality of I "should" exercise--a lack of sense of control again!). Whatever it is, when you catch yourself being overwhelmed, start doing something a little different--it really can change everything!


  1. I find that the Internet seems to stress me out more than relaxing me, which is why you see me take breaks from time to time. I chill out with a good workout, yoga, crafting, etc.

  2. Oops! I got through commenting on all the posts I had missed and forgot about one thing. Happy belated Mother's Day!