Are you somebody who always finds themselves running from A to B while on your phone to C and trying desperately not to forget to do D and E? Are you one of those people who’ve heard of this life balancing act and will certainly go see it the next time the circus is in town? Are you, in other words, too busy?
In that case – and I don’t want to sound like your mom – but you should probably find ways to relax. After all, life should be about being effective rather than being busy, and quite often to truly get things done means taking the occasional step back from the edge.
And besides, life generally doesn’t actually seem to get any less busy as it goes on. Instead more obligations just keep piling on. And do you really want to saddle your later self with all those extra obligations as well as regular trips to the doctor and a complicated medical regime?
But fear not, there are plenty of activities that will help you take a step back without stepping all over your schedule. Here are some ideas:
The great thing about meditation is that it doesn’t have to take hours. In fact, if you’ve never done it before, it will be impressive if you can sit still for more than five minutes. And yet, even just a few minutes can make a huge difference.
So just download one of the many meditation apps and before you head out of the door in the morning (that really is the best time to do it) give yourself a moment to be by yourself. Taking a few minutes to do this can focus you for hours and add years to your life.
It sounds so 1950s doesn’t it? And yet, if you can make it a regular habit then you’ll find this to be one of the moments in your day that you’ll look forward to the most. Obviously, the best time together would be dinner, but if that’s impossible at least make it a habit for everybody to sit down at the breakfast table together so that you can share your ideas for the day. And while you’re there, make it a rule that nobody (including you) accesses any gadgets.
No gadget time
In fact, install a time in the day where nobody gets to use any gadgets – no phones, no ipads, no laptops. Just time together. The best time to do this is just before bed, as it’s been shown that the glow of screens influences sleep (yes, that’s right, those devices might just be the reason why you’re struggling to get enough shuteye). Besides, this is best spent on you and your loved ones anyway. And the best way to do that is not to let the outside world intrude.
Plan your vacations
Planning how you’re going to spend your downtime is almost as enjoyable as actually having your downtime. So don’t just allow your weekends to roll up on you unprepared, instead spend some time deciding what you’re going to do and who you’re going to do it with. That way you’ll get to enjoy them twice over!
Of course, don’t then plan them completely full. That will be counterproductive. You’ll stress yourself out running around in your head and in your off time. Set realistic plans about what you’re going to do. Even better, get the rest of the family involved and plan your weekends together!
Getting regular exposure to greenery can have tremendous health benefits. So make time to find whatever trees and shrubbery your area offers. This can mean going for hikes and walks in the weekend, but it can even mean taking your lunch-time sandwich and going to sit in the park to eat it. Heck, if you can’t work out a problem, go for a walk down a pretty street with the trees overhead. It will make you feel better and might just help you solve your problems and get back in the groove at work.
What? Sleep! Are you insane! Who has time to sleep? Well, the smart person does. Getting enough sleep earns itself back many times over. Not only are you sharper at work and make less mistakes (to say nothing of how much less likely you’ll be to snap at people) but you’ll live longer besides. And if that aint good time management, I don’t know what is!
How much sleep should you be aiming at getting? About 8 to 9 hours, actually. Think you can get by on less? You’re probably wrong. Only 5% of the population can get by on 6 hours of less. The rest just fool themselves into thinking they can. But they can’t. And they’re damaging their brain in the process.
Oh yes, and when scientist did research into what makes us happier in life it wasn’t family, money or success at their careers that came out on top. It was a good night’s sleep. So there’s that.
The circus is in town and it just schooled you about how to perform that balancing act. You are not your job, so don’t let your work rule your life. Instead, find time to create balance. In the long run it will leave both you and those around you better off, physically and mentally. So take two of these and call us in the morning.