Are you one of those people that can’t sit still for too long without feeling uneasy or restless? Are you always paranoid about getting everything done yesterday?
And is the holiday rush only adding to the feeling of “go go go”?
Join the club!
The best analogy to describe this feeling ties in with the overall theme of this blog: The “train of life” should always be moving forward, but it can become a problem if the train is going too fast.
At any given time, I always feel the need to be doing something – whether it’s cleaning, cooking, even just taking a quick walk. I find it difficult to just do nothing for too long. Of course, it’s never a bad thing to want to be productive, but it’s when that feeling turns into a bit of a compulsion that it can pose a problem.
Here are four strategies to help you (and me) lighten up:
1) Don’t be a worrywart, you might hurt yourself
People that worry a lot are the ones that think too much about everything. I used to be one of these, and to some degree still am, but fortunately, through experience, I’ve learned to manage it much better.
Worrying is like a rocking chair; it gives you something to do, but it never gets you anywhere. – Erma Bombeck
As the quote above so eloquently states, you might have all the time in the world to worry about anything and everything, but it won’t get you ahead. Thinking too much only exacerbates excessive worrying and can be quite crippling, leading to heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
I learned this the hard way a couple of years ago when personal hardships got the better of me and it literally affected my physical health. I started getting palpitations and anxiety attacks to the point where I really felt as though something was wrong with me. After a nervous trip to the doctor, I was told that my iron levels were dangerously low and that excessive stress could have contributed to the dramatic drop. Once I started taking supplements, I actually felt my body restoring itself and since then, I’ve taken a whole new approach on better managing emotional stress.
Worrying too much and generally over-thinking will also keep you from staying focused because your head will just get filled with so many thoughts that will all just feel like jello. It can also lead to irregular sleep patterns because you might have trouble falling and/or staying asleep if your mind is constantly ‘on’ and active when it should be resting.
In all fairness, worrying is a completely natural, human response to a potentially troublesome situation. The important thing is to learn to manage the feeling in a way that will help you and not hinder you. Don’t let it eat you up to the point where it affects your daily activities and overall well-being. If there is a real problem, you want to be as focused and alert as you can be so that you can handle the problem with a clear mind and make the best decisions to help solve it.
2) Have a date with yourself
If there is any chance at maintaining your sanity in the midst of your “go-go-go” lifestyle, that you must let your brain shut down every once in a while – it is essential to your overall well-being.
Take your mind on vacation and picture yourself on a beach surrounded by the serenity of the crystal waters and shining sun. The photo above was taken on a trip to Jamaica a few years ago and always gives me a sense of calm and peace when I need it most.
Put the phone away: In making your temporary escape from your busy life, you must also exercise a disconnection from your mobile device (see my previous blog post on this). Yes, I know, the thought of not being connected is scary, but it needs to happen. You need to relish in that brief sense of peace and quiet that is void of message notifications, pings, ringers, and beeps.
Take the time to be active: If you can’t get to the gym, spend 10 minutes on the treadmill at home, or do some stretches or Yoga exercises with the help of informative YouTube videos.
Pamper yourself: Take a warm, relaxing bath, treat yourself to an afternoon at the spa or just get a massage – there’s nothing better than physically feeling all those kinks in your muscles being smoothed out!
Don’t forget to sleep: As pointed out above, when you’re always on the go, you end up inadvertently depriving yourself of sleep, which can lead to bigger health problems. CBC News reported in 2014 that a lack of sleep has been linked to increased heart problems and even obesity. So get that power nap in or that extra hour in the morning when you have the opportunity, it will be exactly what your body needs to keep the momentum going.
When you make the time for yourself, there will be time to accommodate!
3) Get your priorities in order
I’m definitely one of those people that wants to get everything done yesterday, and while I’m generally good at multitasking, it doesn’t always work in my favour and often leaves me even more stressed out trying to get too many things done at once.
Sound familiar? The solution: Prioritize
If you’re the type of person that feels the need to often extend a helping hand to other people, then all the power to you. It’s a great quality to have, as long as there is some sense of balance. If you are finding that you’ve packed way too much into your schedule, then re-evaluate your priorities and start saying NO. Never over-commit yourself. It won’t make you a bad person, it will only make you a human being.
Take a moment to really think about the level of importance for each task that you need to get done and go from there. Write everything down, if that helps. Once you structure all your tasks, you’ll be able to make sense of what truly needs to get done asap and what can wait.
If something can wait, then move it down on your to-do list. Assure yourself that it will get done, it just doesn’t need to be right at that second. This is a constant battle for me so I basically end up giving myself frequent pep talks to get all my priorities straight. It works.
4) Accept that you cannot control everything
This is especially a hard one for me seeing as that I love being in control. Unfortunately, in life, things will happen that are beyond your control and you just need to be okay with that. There are only so many hours in the day to accommodate all of our needs and if something that was planned didn’t quite work out the way we expected, then guess what? It’s okay.
I’ve learned through experience, that things have a funny way of working out in your favour (most of the time), when you aren’t in such a hurry.
So this holiday season and beyond, make a promise to yourself to stop hitting the fast-forward button on your life so often. Learn to live and enjoy your life in the present moment and just let things be.
Be sure to catch my related blog on slowing down here.
Have additional tips on taking it easy? Please share your thoughts!