As a society we are programmed to believe that being busy means you are being productive and worthwhile. Over the years and throughout the technological age we have become busier, and rather than technology lessening our load it’s adding to it, causing all sorts of anxiety and stress. The global pandemic has meant that a lot of people have started working from home and are continuing to do so, life has changed immeasurably in so many ways but one thing it has highlighted to many people is the importance of our work/life balance and having enough down time. This is a huge change in mindset, it allows people more time as they are no longer commuting but after talking to lots of my friends they are seem to be working harder and longer hours instead. So change that mindset!
Begin to schedule downtime during your day, just as you mark a meeting in your diary, block time out every day for rest. I am talking about resting your mind, we do reasonably well resting our bodies (although many people would say they don’t get enough sleep!) but we rarely rest our minds. Even when we think we are resting we are often watching TV, spending time on devices or even thinking about what we have to do next or something that happened earlier that day or chatting with friends and family, but when was the last time you gave your brain a break?
Schedule 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the afternoon, use this time to pause and reset. There are various exercises you can do to stop your mind from going into overdrive, but the simplest to remember is by simply harnessing the power of your breath. If you begin by taking a couple of deep breaths then focus on your natural breath coming in and going out of your nose. Watch your breath in this way and notice the coolness of your breath as you inhale and the warmth of your breath as you exhale. Once you have settled into this pattern, every time your mind gets pulled away from your breath with a thought or a distraction, simply notice the thought and allow it to pass by as you focus your attention back to noticing your breath. Even if you do this for 5 minutes twice a day and only manage 20 seconds focusing on your breath without a thought appearing that is enough time to rest your mind. You can build the time up as you practice more.
Always remember noticing that you are having a thought in the first place is the first step towards mindfulness
Ask yourself how is it that you do so much? Does it come from a constant fear that you are doing enough? You are enough!