The Busy Epidemic + A quick exercise to break the cycle.

I have a confession to make: I used to feel like a wasn’t good enough.

Not because I didn’t have a certain job, or owned houses and cars, etc. But because I wasn’t as busy as everyone else in my community. Oh, I started out busy. There was a time when I was personal training clients 3-4 hours a day, teaching 2-3 fitness classes, being a dedicated yogi practicing 3-5 classes a week, and also training for mountain bike stage races which entailed being on my bike 20+ hours a week. AND then I decided to start a granola company. GOGO Granola consumed every second of my “free time.” Baking from 7pm-1am and then bagging, labeling, and mailing granola during every spare second of every day of every week. The decision to support my husband during his father’s battle with the late stages of cancer took us to Australia and away from this “crazy busy” lifestyle. When we returned to the states, I did not feel drawn to continue building my granola “empire”. I resumed my personal training and teaching schedule, but a funny thing happened. I started telling myself that I was LAZY when I would sit and read a book, or watch TV at night. I had become so used to multi-tasking and filling my days with doing doing doing that any down-time left me feeling guilt and even shame.

I watched my clients and friends going non-stop, staying busy – “doing it all.” Working 8+ hour days, shuttling kids from one activity to another and volunteering in the classrooms and at church functions, cooking dinners every night, and still finding time to hit the gym – They were my heroes. So of course I was lazy in comparison… Or at least that was the the story I told myself. While it looked like my peers were thriving with their busy schedules, after closer inspection (and chats while they were driving their kids from lacrosse to gymnastics and then off to a client meeting) my heroes were actually “at the end of their ropes” and barely keeping it together. Clearly a big lesson here is: Stop comparing yourself to others.

People fall into 3 categories – Some of us really do love being busy and wear it like a badge of honor. And others need to keep busy so there is no time to deal with big-scary, often painful issues. But the majority of people I talk to are just caught up in the hustle of work-life and family-life; trying to keep their heads above water, and are purely existing instead of creating – Instead of truly LIVING.

I believe a work/life “balance” does exist, but it looks different to everyone (another reason to stop comparing.) That picture of balance is ever-evolving and changes daily with varying degrees of success. That is A-OK as long as you can clearly define what success is to you!

We can get so caught up with doing that we forget that being, feeling, and experiencing are really what life is about. Here is a super quick exercise to feel successful every day.

Get clear on your definition of success – What does your successful day look like?
Think in terms of laying a foundation for success. What are the building blocks that help you perform your best physically, mentally and emotionally during a typical day?

Example, I need to:
Get 8 hours of sleep. Yes, I can survive with 6, but if I am being completely honest, I feel like crap. I do think getting sleep can absolutely change your life, but don’t just take my word for it, read what Arianna Huffington says about it in the Sleep Revolution

Exercise 1 hour. Sometimes I get a lot more (or a little less) but if I do not move everyday, it 100% effects my mood.

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Get outside. From a very young age I knew that I could not be cramped indoors. If I am not teaching outside, I make a point of getting outdoors and breathing fresh air for at least 20-30 minutes. This is where having dogs is great! Even if I am not able to exercise outside during the day, I love taking my girls for their evening walks. I use this time as a moving meditation and try to focus on my breath – breathing slowly in and out through my nose.

 

 

Creativity breaks. I will admit that this is IMG_6289a new one for me. I recently began drawing again. It started with an adult *coloring book… Yeah, you heard me right. (Check out the beautiful books by Johanna Basford.) I found that as I colored, I focused on my breath and tuned everything else out. Sounds a little like meditating right? It was for me, and that segued into drawing.

*I can hear some of you right now saying, “Color? I barely have time to make my kid’s lunches in the morning.” This is just what works for me. You might have very different success-building blocks up your sleeve 🙂

 

*There are plenty of other things that I will do during my week but these are the foundation or building blocks for my “successful day.”

 

 

 

So what are your successful day “must do’s”?
Do you make them a priority?
If not, why and what can you give up so that you can truly be living your best life?

Is it doing 3 sun-salutations before sunrise? Drinking 3 liters of water? Gardening or meditating for 20 minutes a day? Get it out of your head – write it down!

So now that you have pinpointed exactly what you need to do to kick ass everyday, you must DO them! 

Knowing your daily priorities will set you up for success – so the next time you get asked to volunteer at another church potluck or community fundraiser, as wonderful as these events may be, you can make a conscious decision.
Ask yourself:
Will losing 2 hours of sleep, or feeling anxious and frazzled, or missing the 30 minutes reading to your kids, be adding to the quality of your life?

The Busy Epidemic does not have to be a death sentence. Remember that BUSY does not equal SUCCESSFUL. I need to remember that busy does not equate to “good enough.” Each of us is responsible for creating our own reality.

CHOOSE activities that ENERGIZE and CHARGE YOU UP, then see how your life truly begins to reflect your definition of SUCCESS!