Busy. An adjective used to describe exactly how much one has to do on any given day. Let me tell ya, it’s a lot. I know because I use this word everytime someone asks me how I am doing. I also know for a fact I that I am not the only one that feels this way. All I have to do is look around me and I observe the same dog-tired people, scrambling and busting their butts to get it all done. That is all we are doing these days. Checking it off the list. What is the fun in that? Being busy adds stress and often denies us a little joy. Something we all desperately need to thrive, not just survive. Aren’t you sick of it? Busy doing it all; working, parenting, caregiving, carpooling, cleaning, cooking, homework, attempting to maintain some semblance of order in the home, trying to spend time with our people but often forgoing that opportunity to sleep or catch up on the mile-long to-do list.
As a result, we are eating meals in cars, skipping workouts to get little Suzy to her 80th activity of the week and obsessing over all ‘the stuff’ on our phones leaving us less connected to the world around us. Ultimately denying ourselves moments with people and outside in nature. You won’t be surprised to learn that, as a by-product of this fast-paced, busy life we all lead, the United States is seriously struggling in the health and happiness department. In fact, there are three emerging health problems on the rise at this moment: obesity, the opioid crisis, and depression. It’s an epidemic. I call it the disease of being busy and the folks in places like Denmark are not suffering from this. In fact, quite the opposite. It’s their lifestyle and also the cure.
This disease is not terminal. Treatment: Hygge.
Listen, I am not here to convince you to stop scheduling the kids in activities and I know that most of us must work. That all takes time, and a lot of it. I’m simply suggesting we pump the breaks a bit. Life and all of its responsibilities are never going away and challenges centered around time will continue. However, there are some minor adjustments that can be made that will offer many ways to get you to reconnect to the things that matter and more present. Simple pleasures and slow living are the ideals we are trying to get back to. Even for a moment. Little spurts throughout the day.
The next time you find yourself breaking a sweat over the family calendar or the fact that you haven’t sat still for more than the moment you spent on the toilet, consider some of these suggestions to help you combat the disease we are all fighting.
Just say “no”. You don’t have to say yes to everything. I know! If you want, I can write you a note. But seriously, say no if you aren’t feeling it. Instead, spend the night getting cozy. Haven’t you been meaning to make a fire?
Ditch the device. Even if it’s just for a little bit. Set a time and make a point to have some time away. You will be blown away by how engaged and present you suddenly feel. It’s liberating. You might even surprise yourself and smile at a stranger.
Get out in nature, no matter what season, even if it is only for a few moments. How about the next time you find yourself mindlessly scrolling go outside. Take some deep breaths of fresh air or enjoy a quick walk or the sun on your skin or the snow on your nose. Take special notice of all of the things you see and how they appeal to all of your senses. Nature is so much more invigorating than Facebook!
Eat the damn cake. Yes! We are saying screw the diet, eat the cake! If you are going to take the time to enjoy yourself, eat the damn cake! It is a scientifically proven fact that eating cake adds years to your life. Ok, I made that up, but you get the point.
Stop typing, start writing Why not send a letter. Don’t you miss the old days when you would go to your mailbox and an envelope with your name on it would appear?
Meditate. This doesn’t have to be silence and mantras. What is your form of meditation? It can be running, drawing, reading, praying. Whatever the thing is that quiets your mind and gets you off the hamster wheel for a moment. You will feel instantly better if you implement this practice in your daily life.
Take your coffee to stay. Instead of hitting up the drive-through next time you need a fix, go in. If the option is available, ask for your warm beverage to be served to stay. Sit and sip and take in the sites and sounds of your neighborhood cafe. Who knew coffee could be so good for you?
Read a book – Try it. You might like it.
Make a meal. Share it with your people. It doesn’t have to be hard. it just has to taste good.
As Ferris Bueller so wisely stated, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around, you could miss it.”